Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Understanding Skin Types

Understanding Skin Types

Understanding Skin Types

Many factors affect the type of skin each person has. Understanding your skin type can help you make wiser skincare choices. In this post we break down the six basic skin types and their characteristics.

Each person's skin is unique. In the same way that each person chooses a shampoo that is suitable for their hair type, a person’s skincare routine depends on their skin type. The first step towards developing a healthy skincare routine that protects the skin and delays the signs of aging, is identifying your skin type. This is because each skin type responds and reacts differently to skincare products, environmental triggers, even dietary choices.

A skincare routine that does not match one’s skin type can, in many cases, lead to various skin problems or conditions, both short-term and long-term. To help you better understand the distinct types of skin, we have collected information about each one and what its main characteristics are.

The six basic skin types

  • Normal
  • Dry
  • Oily
  • Combination
  • Sensitive
  • Hyperpigmented

Skin types are mainly determined by genes, ethnicity, age and environment. While each of us is born with a specific skin type that can change over time or that might develop a problem, the overall condition of our skin is largely affected by several internal and external factors. These include, but are not limited to, climate, weather and pollution, medical conditions and medication, stress, diet, and ingredients found in household and skincare products. Especially when it comes to skincare products, one size does not fit all, and this is important to remember. Understanding what skin type you have can help you care for it better by making informed choices about what kind of products to use or avoid.

Skin type also influences things like how sensitive your skin is, how much sebum it produces, how much water it retains, and how susceptible it might be to skin conditions such as acne or eczema. Below are the six basic types of skin, along with their basic characteristics.

Normal skin

Normal skin refers to well-balanced skin, scientifically known as eudermic. People with normal skin have a clean complexion and are not prone to sensitivity. Normal skin does not produce excess sebum, so it is not too oily, nor does it lose too much water, so it is not too dry.

Normal skin characteristics

  • A soft and smooth texture
  • An even colour without blemishes
  • Fine pores that are not enlarged or overly visible
  • Good blood circulation
  • Endures most elements and irritants

Just because people with normal skin typically do not experience any skin-related problems, that doesn’t mean they should not follow a skincare regime that boosts and protects their skin. Furthermore, as people who have normal skin age, they might experience dryness – this is part of the natural aging process for all skin types.

Regular cleansing and moisturizing can help prevent potential issues and promote optimal skin health, highlighting natural beauty. ChitoCare beauty skincare products contain marine chitosan that offers optimal moisture control for soft and smooth skin. They are perfectly suited for normal skin and include products for both the face and body

Dry skin

Dry skin, scientifically known as xerosis, is the type of skin that produces less sebum than normal skin. Sebum is an oily, waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. Sebum is what helps to keep your skin moisturized, coating it in a protective layer. Skin that doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of sebum experiences dryness, as it lacks the necessary moisturizing lipids that retain water in the skin barrier. The skin barrier is what helps shield the skin from extrinsic environmental factors, such as pollution, humidity and dirt.

Dry skin characteristics

  • A rough texture
  • A feeling of inelasticity or tightness
  • Flaky or scaly patches
  • Dull or inconsistent complexion
  • Redness, irritation or sensitivity
  • Itching, chapping or cracking
  • Barely visible pores and enhanced fine lines
  • Moisturizers and lotions are absorbed relatively quickly

Some areas of the body are more prone to dry skin, including hands, legs, arms, elbows, knees and feet. People with dry skin should avoid products that can strip the skin of its natural oils and should focus on products that help to hydrate and moisturize the skin.

ChitoCare beauty Body Lotion and Hand Cream are ideal for dry skin. Containing bioactive marine chitosan, they nourish the skin by forming a protective film and locking in moisture. ChitoCare beauty Anti-Aging Repair Serum provides powerful skin repair and comforting hydration to the sensitive skin of the face, thanks to marine chitosan and hyaluronic acid that act as natural antioxidants with moisturizing properties

Dry skin type can often be confused with skin dehydration, which is a skin condition. People with a dry skin type were born that way and experience dry skin across their whole body, including arms, legs, scalp, hands, back and face. Dry skin lacks oils, while dehydrated skin lacks water.

Important note: For some people, dry skin can be the result of a skin condition known as eczema. Eczema is a chronic skin condition that produces itchy, dry, inflamed or irritated skin, and requires special treatment. If you think you might have eczema, you should contact your dermatologist. You can read more about eczema in our related post, including tips on caring for eczema-prone skin and a basic skincare routine for people living with eczema.

Oily skin

Oily skin refers to the type of skin that produces more sebum that normal skin. It is caused by overactive sebaceous glands and is scientifically known as seborrhea. This means that the skin produces excess sebum, often resulting in clogged pores that can increase acne breakouts or blemishes. Because of this, people with oily skin often think they should not moisturize, but this is a popular myth, as all skin types need moisturizing. People with oily skin tend to have thicker skin than usual and, because skin oils help to preserve the skin, they often have fewer wrinkles than people with other skin types.

Oily skin characteristics

  • A shiny, greasy or glossy appearance
  • Visible or enlarged pores
  • A humid or porous texture
  • A thicker, paler look
  • A tendency towards breakouts, especially in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin)

As with all skin types, oily skin is influenced by genetics. However, other factors can also contribute to excess sebum production, such as hormonal changes (especially during puberty, pregnancy or menopause), certain types of medication, stress or comedogenic cosmetics.

Comedogenic products are products that clog the pores, blocking sebum outflow and leading to the formation of whiteheads, blackheads or other types of acne. People with oily skin should wash their face daily with a gentle cleanser, exfoliate frequently, and opt for non-comedogenic skincare products and cosmetics to avoid clogging pores.

ChitoCare beauty Body Scrub contains bamboo and walnut particles that gently exfoliate the skin, while marine chitosan covers the skin in a protective film. The scrub can also be used on the face once or twice a week to clear away dead cells and promote the skin's natural renewal process. 

Combination skin

Combination skin combines features of both oily and dry skin and is the most common skin type. Combination skin often consists of an oily T-zone area (forehead, nose, chin), with normal or dry areas around the cheeks, mouth and eyes. People with combination skin will usually experience more of one than the other; for example, overall dry skin with some oily areas, or overall oily skin with some dryness.

Combination skin characteristics

  • Oily areas around the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin)
  • A tendency towards acne in the T-zone area
  • Enlarged pores around the T-zone area
  • Normal or dry areas around the mouth, cheeks and eyes

As people with combination skin must deal with both oily and dry areas, they must often use multiple or specialized products that can tend to both these skin characteristics. A toner can help balance the skin, providing it with a more even tone, while foaming cleansers, lightweight moisturizers and hydrating serums work best for combination skin.

ChitoCare beauty Face Cream with SPF15 is ideal for such skin and a great way to protect the skin against UV and blue light damages. In addition, ChitoCare beauty Anti-Aging Repair Serum contains natural marine chitosan, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, offering the skin a shot of deep hydration. 

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin often has a weakened barrier function. When the skin’s barrier function does not work properly, it can be prone to external aggressors or trans-epidermal water loss. This can open up the skin to irritants, infections and sensitivity. As facial skin is more exposed to the elements, such as UV light, pollution and chemicals, it is often the first part of the body to manifest these symptoms. People from more northern parts of the world often experience more sensitivity as they have fairer skin. ChitoCare medical Healing Spray soothes symptoms associated with soreness, redness and sunburn and can be used to protect the skin against inflammation and irritation.  

Sensitive skin characteristics

  • A stinging or burning sensation with certain soaps, cleansers or cosmetics
  • Feelings of discomfort, tightness or itching
  • Redness, flaking, rashes, swelling or roughness

There are factors that can trigger skin sensitivity and make it worse. These triggers can include:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Low hydration
  • Skin conditions such as eczema
  • Certain allergens like pollen or hay fever
  • Excessive cold or hot temperatures, and dry air

Sensitive skin requires more attention to remain healthy, so people with sensitive skin must follow a stricter skincare regime that is specific to their needs. ChitoCare beauty body and face products are suitable for sensitive skin as they contain marine chitosan, a bioactive polymer that keeps moisture in and microbes out, protecting the skin and encouraging skin renewal.

ChitoCare beauty Anti-Aging Repair Serum is specifically recommended as a daily basic layer as it provides powerful skin repair and comforting hydration to sensitive skin. 

Hyperpigmented skin

Hyperpigmented skin refers to skin that produces more melanin than normal skin. The result is skin discolouration or an uneven skin colour, often manifesting in darker patches or spots. These spots are commonly referred to as sunspots or age spots. They typically manifest in people over the age of 40 and are due to sun exposure – hence their name. They can vary in size, shape and colour. They usually appear in areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, including the face, neck, hands, arms and shoulders.

Hyperpigmented skin characteristics

  • Flat, darker patches of skin that can vary in size
  • Skin patches or spots that are brown, black, grey, red or pink
  • Inflammation due to sun exposure

Aside for sun exposure, other factors that can tigger increased melanin production and hyperpigmentation, including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Pregnancy
  • Skin injuries or traumas
  • Inflammation

People with hyperpigmented skin should always use sunscreen with a high SPF to protect their skin from further sun damage. For skin that has already been exposed to the sun, ChitoCare medical Healing Spray can be used to relieve sunburn, redness, inflammation and itching as it promotes natural skin healing.

ChitoCare beauty Anti-Aging Repair Serum can be used to deliver an intense shot of hydration, offer the skin soothing refreshment and reduce the signs of aging. 

Important note: In total, there are three types of hyperpigmentation in the skin: sunspots, melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. While sunspots are often a natural occurrence, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation often appears after skin injuries or acne breakouts, leaving behind skin discolouration that can range from pink, red or purple, to brown, grey or black. Melasma is a skin condition that requires special treatment. Although melasma is also often triggered by sun exposure, heat and hormonal changes, and it can be managed and treated, it is a lifelong skin condition and therefore never completely eradicated.


* If you are unsure of what skin type you have, or whether you have a skin condition, consult with your dermatologist, so they can properly diagnose you and offer treatment solutions. Always perform a patch test before using new products and check the ingredients list to avoid any unwanted reactions. 


ChitoCare beauty is the first skincare brand to incorporate marine chitosan into its products. Scientifically proven properties of chitosan include film-forming, moisture control and powerful skin repair.


Skin health, routines, Tips & more

Read more

Primex Head of R&D, Dr. Hélène Liette Lauzon, and CEO Sigríður Vigfúsdóttir, photographed by Audunn Níelsson

IWD: Celebrating Women in Science

As a women-led biotechnology company, we share some stories of remarkable women in the fields of STEM.

Read more
Essential Skincare Tips for All Skin Types
Skin types

Essential Skincare Tips for All Skin Types

Even though skin types do differ, and a special regime is required for each, some skincare habits are beneficial for all. 

Read more