At Sweet Cecily’s, Dorrie, Beth and Sophie, all have very different skin types. At a young age, it was clear to me (Sophie) with the eczema on my arms and face that I had dry skin. However, I remember it being really daunting to know, as all my friends were getting into skincare and beauty, and I felt as though I didn’t have a clue, even after scrolling through the hundreds of pages.

So, to help your experience be a little less tragic than mine, I will be telling you how to identify the different characteristics in the 5 different skin types.

Do I have sensitive skin?

Sensitivity is essentially defined by skin that tends to be easily irritated and more reactive. A few signs of having sensitive skin may be that it feels uncomfortable, it is sensitive to touch, it’s tight, dried out or bumpy. Your skin may also come out in red patches that may not fade, and these patches may become itchy and almost like a rash. Using products that contain harsh ingredients such as strong fragrances may trigger your skin resulting in these rash-like patches. You can have sensitive skin from when you’re born, which is why you hear of nappy rash being so common in babies, however, some people find that their skin can get gradually less sensitive or more manageable as they mature.

What Sophie says about her Sensitive skin:

Photo of SophieEver since I was younger, I was always the kid with bright red lips and arms from where I had scratched layers of my skin off. My mam used to smother me in cream, and I hated it because it just made me itchier. Looking back, it felt like we tried with every cream, and as I got older I kind of grew out of it, but also not really. These days I tend to get more dry than sensitive skin, however over the last 2 days my skin has become sensitive, which is the reason for the red rashes on my cheeks and around my lips. If we had taken these photos 2 weeks ago, I would probably be typing this in the ‘Dry Skin’ section as I usually have more flakiness. I’ve also been very lucky with the fact that I rarely had/get any spots. The only thing I’ve been using on my face (as of October time) is our Soothing Skin Cream, which helps sooth my irritated skin when it’s sensitive and clears up my dry patches within days when I have them too. It’s a cream that’s stayed consistent with my skin, compared to some I have tried where after a few weeks I start to react. I think it’s important that if you have dry or sensitive skin that you just have to find the right product for you.

Do I have dry skin?

Dry skin is easy to mix up with sensitive skin, however the main difference being flaking or cracking of the skin. If you have dry skin, typically, your skin will look duller and may become rough, flaky, or even scaly. It can often feel tight, and you may be able to see visible lines of dryness. You may experience dry skin for a number of different reasons. 1) Environment – If your skin is exposed to cold weather, harsh wind, low humidity or even an air-conditioned room. 2) Genetics – ask your parents what their skin is like, sometimes it’s just that simple. 3) Ageing – getting older may affect your skin’s ability to produce sebum. 4) Hormones – you may just be experiencing an imbalance of hormones.

Do I have combination skin?

This one is the most common. Combination skin is characterised by an oily T-zone (the forehead, nose, and chin) and either dry and/or full areas, or just ‘normal’ looking skin on the rest of your face. Compared to ‘normal’ skin, you can typically see more pores on and around the nose in comparison to the rest of your face, you may also find that you see more blackheads and spots in this area. On the other hand, if you look closely at this area – as well as your cheeks – you may also find that you also have some dryness and flakiness.

What Dorrie says about her Combination skin:

Photo of DorrieGrowing up, I had absolutely no idea what my skin type was. I had a vague thought that it might be oily so I thought that meant I shouldn’t really put any moisturiser on! I used to get quite a few spots, too, which I would valiantly try to cover up with a pot of old Maybelline dream matte mouse (cringe). In hindsight this obviously was not helping my skin and was clogging my pores even further, but I was young and lacked the self-confidence required to embrace my bare face, imperfections, and all! In my twenties I went for my first facial where I was told my skin was dry/combination. The lovely beauty therapist let me know that lack of moisture in my skin was causing excess production of sebum making certain areas of my face oily. Since then, I’ve tried to continue using a basic moisturiser at least every day (I will freely admit I am rubbish at sticking to a skincare routine, even though I manage a skincare brand!!) and my skin has really thanked me for it. I still get breakouts, patches of dry skin and an oily t-zone. My pores are still fairly visible as you can see from the photo but since reaching my 30s, I am far less concerned about the appearance aspect of my skin and more bothered about how it feels.”

Do I have oily skin?

Oily skin is generally differentiated by the appearance of shininess, and the feeling of grease, usually again, throughout the T-zone. If you have oily skin, you may also develop more acne blemishes, as well as being more prone to acne breakouts and finally, the look of enlarged pores. Like dry skin, there can be a range of factors for having oily skin such as: hot and humid weather, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, puberty, or menopause.

What Beth says about her Oily skin:

As you can see from the photo, my skin type is Oily. My forehead, cheeks and nose all shine due to excessive oil production. Since the age of 13, I applied makeup to my face pretty much every day. This was in an attempt to blend in at school and college. Fast forward to my time at university, my poor face was hounded with layers of makeup every time I went out. During this time, I suffered with dry skin around my nose, and I think this is partly to do with me having a seriously poor skincare routine. My idea of a face cleanse would be to just use a makeup wipe, harshly dragging it all around my face. I also only liked to apply moisturizer on the odd occasion… Applying so much makeup to my skin caused me to have a high amount of blackheads on my nose and even around my lip line. 

For almost two years now I have opted to sport the more natural look, this has caused me to see a difference in the type of skin that I have. Since switching to minimal makeup, I experience the odd breakout on my chin. However, I feel that my skin has a natural glow, perhaps this is due to my skin being able to breath and produce a good level of oil.”

Do I have normal skin?

Having ‘normal’ skin is neither dry nor oily, your sebum (an oily substance produced by your body) levels are normal. However, having normal skin doesn’t necessarily mean perfect skin, it simply means you may occasionally get very minor dryness, or oiliness, but it seems to pass quickly, rather than becoming a long-term issue or nuisance for you. So, maybe it’s like you experience a little bit of everything, but without it being a second thought and easily manageable. You’ll mostly find that the surface of your skin appears healthy, your pores aren’t very noticeable, and you aren’t constantly battling blemishes.

So what skin type do I have?