Spa Science's Guide to Skin Types

Spa Science's Guide to Skin Types


Plus generous linking so that you can have as many resources as you need for your particular skin needs!

Some famous dude once said, “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

That dude was, in fact, none other than THE Aristotle. He was brilliant, and if anyone knew a thing or two about self-reflection, it was him. However, when you look at the verbiage from a literal standpoint, everything he said still rings true from a skincare standpoint. It all starts with you, but if you don’t know HOW to look at yourself in the mirror then you really haven’t laid any of the groundwork necessary to understand yourself, or in this case, your skin. 

Self-knowledge is the first and most vital ingredient needed to be able to gain an understanding and awareness of yourself. So, once again, taken from a literal standpoint, one can then infer that understanding your skin type is a crucial first step in discovering the most effective way to care for your skin. 

We pretty much all know that no matter your skin type, everyone benefits from using products like cleansers and moisturizers, etc. However, WHICH ones you SHOULD be using will always be dependent on the type of skin you have.

Are you still with me? If so, great! Moving on!

For the most part, we know everyone’s skin is unique. Yet, despite our “dermal-differences”, we all still tend to fall into one of five primary skin type classifications.

Oily, Normal, Combination, Dry, and Sensitive.

I think we can safely say that that understanding your skin type may be the key to helping you find the right solutions to help achieve your skincare goals. If you’re not sure how to determine your skin type, don’t panic. Take a few deep breaths (kidding), read on, and hopefully the information we’ve provided you with will help guide you toward your own individual skin type.

Spa Science's Guide to Skin Types 

Oily skin refers to skin that has excess oil, most commonly throughout the t-zone of the face (forehead, nose, and chin). Oily skin tends to look shiny, feel greasy, and is often prone to blemishes and breakouts. 

Normal skin is well-balanced - not too dry or too oily. Those with normal skin are not typically prone to breakouts or flakiness and tend to have a balanced t-zone. 

Combination skin has areas that are both dry and oily. For example, skin is typically shiny on the forehead, nose and chin, while appearing dry or normal on the cheeks. 

Dry skin is generally rough, scaly, flaky, itchy or irritated with an overall dehydrated look and feel. 

Sensitive skin varies widely from person to person but is often characterized by
visible redness and dryness. Sensitive skin may not always show visible signs and may simply have feelings of discomfort.

Trying to identify which one you are can seem confusing, but, again, we’re here to help! So without further ado, here are two strategies to help you determine your skin type at home. 

1. The Bare-Face Method 

An easy way to determine your skin type is to carefully study your bare skin. You can start by washing your face with a mild foaming cleanser. Then, gently pat your face dry with a soft towel and refrain from applying any skincare products. After 25-30 minutes, observe your skin. What does it look like? Does it appear shiny on your cheeks and t-zone? You might have oily skin. Or does your skin feel tight and have flaky areas? Your skin is likely dry. If you see an unbalanced mix of oiliness and dryness, you most likely have combination skin

2. The Blotting Sheet Method 

Another way to determine your skin type at home is to press a clean blotting sheet on various spots of your face. Then, hold the sheet up to a light to see how much oil was absorbed. Your skin type will generally be dependent on how much oil is visible, meaning the more oil on the paper, the more likely you have oily skin. If there is little to no oil visible, you most likely have dry skin. If the blotting sheet reveals minimal oil from your forehead and nose, your skin is probably normal or combination.  

How to Care for Your Skin Type 

Spa Science's skin care devices are scientifically designed to cleanse, restore and strengthen the skin barrier for healthier, younger-looking skin. Inspired, professional-grade results at your fingertips, for a fraction of the cost, in the convenience of your own home. Our targeted treatments are powerful yet safe, which act to correct and treat your specific skin needs and concerns.


Since dry skin produces less sebum than normal or oily skin, the key to caring for it is to keep the skin barrier properly hydrated. The more moisture the skin holds, the healthier the skin’s appearance is. Without sufficient moisture, skin can be vulnerable to a weakened skin barrier, resulting in dry areas and ultimately speeding up the skin aging process. Those with dry skin should look for formulas that hydrate, nurture, and moisturize, and are free from alcohol, fragrances, dyes, or chemicals. 

Spa Science's Tip for Dry Skin:

Look for products formulated with Squalane, a signature Spa Science's ingredient. Squalane is a highly refined botanical lipid known to help stabilize skin’s barrier and maintain moisture. Using products formulated with Squalene for dry skin can help replenish skin for a soft, smooth, and healthy appearance. 


Oily skin occurs when the in barrier produces an excess of sebum, or oil, which can lead to clogged pores and blemishes. Those with oily skin should look for products that help balance excess oil and are non-comedogenic (i.e., won’t clog pores). We recommend exfoliating 2-3 times a week to help remove dead skin cells from the skin's surface and washing your face twice a day. Be sure to find a gentle foaming face wash because using a daily face wash that is too harsh can irritate your skin and even increase oil production. 

Spa Science's Tip for Oily Skin:

To help detoxify skin and minimize the look of pores, try using a detoxifying Amazonian clay face mask


Combination skin can be a little more challenging to care for since it is made up of multiple skin types. The simplest way to care for combination skin is to look for products formulated for all skin types. Typically, formulas for all skin types help balance skin without over-drying or causing excess oil. Keeping your skin balanced is key for those with combination skin

Spa Science's Tip for Combination Skin: 

Target multiple skin concerns at once by multi-masking two - three times a week. For combination skin, we recommend applying a clay face mask along the T-zone and adding a soothing face mask with a burst of cooling hydration to cheeks! 


Luckily, skin concerns for normal skin types are generally minimal, so routines may be simpler. To help maintain balanced, healthy-looking skin, it is still essential to prep your skin with a gentle cleanser, hydrate with a daily moisturizer, and protect with broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day. You should also help replenish skin at night with a hydrating face oil

Spa Science's Tip for Normal Skin:

It’s key for normal skin types to maintain and balance hydration levels, so make sure a daily facial cream is part of your routine.


Visible signs of redness and the feel of tight and uncomfortable skin — all of which are indicators of a weakened and compromised skin barrier — often characterize sensitive skin. Care for sensitive skin by choosing gentle formulas that can help strengthen the skin barrier and look for treatments that are formulated to help treat visible redness and skin discomfort. 

Spa Science's Tip for Sensitive Skin:

Help with skin discomfort by boosting your skincare routine with a calmative, non-comedogenic face oil.


Once you’ve identified your skin type, you should then start to structure your daily care regimen around it.

Always remember that no matter what your skin type is, a daily skin care routine can help you maintain overall skin health and improve specific concerns like acne, scarring, and dark spots. A daily skin care routine has four basic steps you can do once in the morning and once before you sleep.

  1. Cleansing:

Choose a cleanser that doesn’t leave your skin tight after washing.
Clean your face no more than twice a day, or just once, if you have dry skin and
don’t wear makeup.
Avoid washing for that squeaky-clean feeling because that means your skin’s natural oils are gone.
Cleansers known to work well for all skin types include Cetaphil and Banila Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser.

  1. Serums:

A serum with vitamin C or growth factors or peptides would be better in the morning, under sunscreen. At night, retinol or prescription retinoids work best. Makeup Artist’s Choice has an effective vitamin C and E serum and retinol available.

  1. Moisturizer:

Even oily skin needs moisturizer, but use one that is lightweight,
gel-based, and non-comedogenic, or doesn’t block your pores, like CeraVe’s facial lotion. Dry skin may benefit from more cream-based moisturizers like MISSHA Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream. Most brands will label their products as gel or cream on their packaging.

  1. Sunscreen:

Apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF 15 minutes before heading
outdoors, as it takes a while for sunscreen to activate. Darker skin tones actually
need more sun protection because hyper-pigmentation is harder to correct. Try
EltaMD’s sunscreen, which offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is
recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Choose products that fit your skin type and sensitivity and remember to read the
labels. Some products, such as retinol or prescription retinoids, should only be
applied at night.

For all skin types

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Change pillow cases at least once a week.
  • Wash or wrap up hair before bed.
  • Wear sunscreen every day and apply 15 minutes before going out.

Start with a basic and simple routine to see how your skin reacts. Once you’re
comfortable, you can then add extra products such as exfoliants, masks, and spot treatments to boost your skin’s health.

And don’t forget to patch test new products, especially if you suspect you have
sensitive skin. This can help you identify potential allergic reactions.

Happy skin days everyone! Till next time, have a beautiful day :)  

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