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You are here Home > Beauty and Grooming > Articles
  IDENTIFYING YOUR SKIN TYPE - by Editor

Are you aware of your skin type? Here are some simple experiments which you can do at home to identify your skin type.


Buying toiletries and cosmetics today can be a bewildering experience. The bug of super-specialization has bitten even the world of beauty. Everything from moisturizer to soap to face wash to sunscreen to cleansers and toners is classified according to the type of skin you have. When you buy beauty products, you have to know whether you are a dry, normal, oily or combination skin, just like you have to know whether you are a small, medium or large when you buy clothes.

In the looking glass

Normal mirrors and soft lighting can be quite deceptive. The first step in pinning down your skin type is to get hold of a magnifying mirror to see what's really happening with your skin. Now brace yourself, because in most cases, this is not a pretty sight. A magnifying mirror highlights every blackhead, whitehead, pimple, crater and wrinkle. But if it's any consolation, most people's skins don't pass the magnifying mirror test with flying colours.

Tissue test

The next thing to do is to check on the glandular activity of your skin. As complicated as that sounds, it's actually a simple procedure that just requires a paper tissue. Press the paper tissue to your nose and forehead for a few seconds. Do not rub it over the surface of your skin. Then remove the tissue and examine it.

If your glands are working overtime, the tissue will have greasy marks on it. If the tissue is spotless, don't get too excited. It's not a good sign. It means that your skin lacks lubrication. If the tissue is hardly soiled, you are one of the lucky ones with perfect skin.

The pH factor

This may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but the pH factor is actually a measure of the acidity of your skin. pH is a measure of hydrogen particles, which, in excess, cause 'alkalinity' and if deficient cause 'acidity'. If the pH factor has a value of 7, it is neutral and represents perfect balance. When the figure is above 7, it is alkaline and when it is below 7, it is acidic.

To determine the acidity or alkalinity of your skin, you have to apply litmus paper to the surface of your skin. First clean your face thoroughly. Then wait for an hour before you apply the litmus paper so that the test result is not affected by the remnants of soap or cosmetics. Keep the paper against your skin for one minute and then remove it.

If the paper remains blue, your skin lacks acidity and will be prone to infections. If the paper is a rosy-lilac, your skin is sufficiently acidic. But if the litmus turns a pinky-red, your skin is too acidic as a result of which is delicate, sensitive and likely to show the effects of age prematurely.

Skin can be broadly classified into 5 categories:

  • Normal
  • Dry
  • Extra dry
  • Oily
  • Clogged
Normal skin: It's ironic, but normal skin is a rarity. It's the kind of skin you have as a baby and which rarely survives the ravages of puberty and pollution into adulthood. This type of skin leaves only faint traces on the tissue and turns litmus paper pink. When you squeeze it, the skin is smooth and you don't see any pores.

Dry skin: This type of skin leaves no traces on the tissue paper and turns the litmus paper red. It is a delicate kind of skin that wrinkles and burns easily under the rays of the sun.

Extra dry skin: The skin is drab and dull and has a flabby texture. It wrinkles prematurely and its acidity varies from day to day.

Oily skin: A shiny nose is typical of oily skin. It is not prone to developing wrinkles and has enlarged pores. It leaves very visible traces on the tissue paper and usually lacks acidity.

Clogged skin: The skin is rough, thick, flecked with blackheads and whiteheads. It tends to be high on alkalinity and leaves no traces on the tissue paper.

You will notice that different areas of your skin exhibit different characteristics. For instance, your cheeks may be really dry, but your nose is always shiny and your forehead is a field of blackheads. In that case, you will have to care for each area of your skin as is required.

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Name: am_vyas
City:   mumbai
Comments:   what is litmus paper and where can one find it
Name: Deepa
City:   louisville
Comments:   Hi, I have freckles on my face.can you please suggest a remeady for it.
Name: Jo
City:   portland, or
Comments:   Freckles are beautiful! You should be proud of them instead of trying to hide them! When you get older and they fade you will miss their presence! I never believed my mother when she told me this and when she told me that they will fade away. I did not see how such bright freckles could fade... but, alas, I am twenty eight and they have faded... and I miss them! Whether you call them beauty marks or angel kisses they are beautiful and not that many people are graced with them... especially after their early twenties! Be proud of what God gave you!
Name: Shobha
City:   Austin
Comments:   I would really like to know where can I find litmus paper.
Name: Samantha
City:   Caribbean - Fed. St Kitts Nev
Comments:   After reading this piece I still amd not sure whether my skin is oily or clogged. Please give me a finer distinction and possible treatment for both skin types.
Name: jayme
City:   milwaukee
Comments:   how do you treat clogged skin
Name: akshata
City:   bangalore
Comments:   you can find litmus at any chemist shops.Thre are two kinds..red and blue..for those following the above article, blue is advised.we use litmus strips in chemistry practical classes to test the acidity or alkaine nature of substances..acids turn blue litmus red..alkalies turn led litmus blue.
Name: Messadonna
City:   Singapore
Comments:   LITMUS PAPER!!! oh god if i knew i could have used litmus paper to check what what type of skin i have got, i would have taken that whole bunch of litmus paper that the teachers keep in the Chemistry lab in school... Who would have thought all those litmus papers would be this handy
Name: Lalitha Rajasekaran
City:   Chennai
Comments:   how do u treat oily skin
Name: Nisha
City:   US
Comments:   what is litmus paper and where can one find it
Name: meag
City:   Newcastle
Comments:   My face is always itchi and spoty I tried many creams none of them works. What shall I do
Name: anupmenon
City:   mumbai
Comments:   my face is oily.i wash it after every 3-4hrs with medimix soap.i have pimples on my face but has reduced to a great extent from last 3 yrs.now only a few(5-6) come once a week.i apply ERITOP cream(earlier TRetition-25).thats all ido for my skin.is there any thing else i can do for my skin.i dont apply any cosmetics. i also have holes(craters) formed becuase of squeesing of pimples(which i used to do earlier).can i anyhow get rid of them please help.my age is 20.
Name: siva
City:   hyderabad
Comments:   hi my skin is dry especially in winter my skin looks like a snake skin please,give remeady for it
Name: deepak
City:   mumbai
Comments:   hi, i hav many blackheads and bcause of open pores i also hav hairs on my face,pls help me.
Name: wesley
City:   lagos
Comments:   plz kidly help recomend a medicine for my face i got pinples and black spot for a long time so is becoming to much so i have to cure it hope 2 hear from u soon wesley
Name: saber
City:   hyderabad
Comments:   i have pimple's problem from last 10 years they keep coming and going very often pls tell me some solution iam 30 years old
Name: Poonam
City:   Delhi
Comments:   how do u treat oily skin pls give me some adivse thanks
Name: arshia
City:   Manchester
Comments:   I have black spots n hyperpimentation of face problem,as my rest of the body is fair.please advice me.Thank u
Name: Dannny
City:   phoenix
Comments:   im not sure on my skin type.. when iwash my face it gets really tight and dryed out. It is also flakey. But during the day it will turn very oily and greasy, but still have flakes. I also have acne. I dont know what to use becaue i have two types of skin. PLEASE HELP
Name: mariam
City:   london
Comments:   im not sure on my skin type,normally during de day time my frace turns very oily even if i dont apply a face cream on it but when i wash my face its gets gets really tight and dryed out.dont actually know what to use.please help me
Name: rekha
City:   Bangalore
Comments:   my face is when i wash it is so dry, if i apply any cream it becomes so oily and pimples start to come. so please help me by giving some home made tips for this
Name: lauren
City:   memphis
Comments:   i have scares on my face from pimples and i have white heades that wont go away. can u please tell me wat i can do to get ride of this.
Name: kelly
City:   notts
Comments:   if uv got 2 skin types oily andddd dry then get this fing dat i use.its a stick wiv a day and nite end.at nite u apply the nite end wich treats oily skin and in the morning use the day end.it works wonders and its fab 4 combination skins.its called tea tree and u can get it from superdrug or boots but i dnt no bout newher in india.sorry bt i hope it helps
Name: spotty
City:   corfu
Comments:   how do i get rid of black headshelp im in big trouble cuz my face luks lke a pizza and iv got ma skool disco comin up!!help
Name: Billy
City:   Dub
Comments:   what is the best product for my face, i suffer with spots, blackheads and red blemishes and currently use a vichy product and altho it worked to begin with it seems to have gone back to what it was at first, some days i could have clear skin and then have a serious breakout of loads spots which last for days. im tryin to find out wot products i should be using but have no idea where to start looking please help
Name: sim
City:   mumbai
Comments:   where can i find litmus paper i live in santacruz (mumbai).
Name: Cindy
City:   Troy, MI
Comments:   Hi my name is cindy and i just saw this website; i wanted to tell you about how i'm suffering with this dry skin i have, that makes my hands wrinkly and very hard and i'm only 16, so i was wondering if theirs something you can help me with to make it less wrinkly and less dry.
Name: lolo
City:   Rancho cucamonga
Comments:   Could you get whiter skin if your tan and your real skin color is white And how long would it take
Name: elaine geraghty
City:   dublin/ireland
Comments:   Hi i'm really hoping you can help me.I had some acne when i was younger and as a result i have large pores which really make me paronide,is there anything at all i can do to get rid of them,i'll go to any extreme to look beautiful
Name: sonali
City:   bangalore
Comments:   i have scars on my face due to pimples and few pimples here and there which appeared very recently and i have a oily face plz do suggest some natural remedy plzzzzzzzzz
Name: jayasri
City:   mayiladuthurai-komal
Comments:   hai, can u tell about sensitive skin i cant use any perfume and beauty creams! please help me!!!
Name: benish
City:   karachi
Comments:   my skin is very oily cuz of this i got pimples on my face which leave their scars
Name: Jillian
City:   columbia
Comments:   I use to have beautiful skin when i was younger now it's not looking it's best, this is mainly because i had acne and now it gone but now i have scars. Please email me asap to get rid of the scars!!
Name: saira
City:   london
Comments:   hi i m not sure on my skin bec in day time it seems to oily n greasy but when i wash my face it comes to dry n lit bit tight got two types of skin n got dark circle n blackhead i m so worried abt this so plz help me out n tell me the simple n easy wayn my age is 26
Name: Payal
City:   california
Comments:   hey saira sounds too me like you have oily skin and for all you people with oily skin that need help heres what to do for a cleansing facial...first wash your skin with a foaming but soap free cleanser gently rubbing the whole face in circular motions this will break down oil...then boil some water to steam your face lower your face over the boiled water at least 10 inches away and let it steam your face for at least 10 minutes this will open up pores...next take a blackhead extractor and apply pressure around the sides of the blackheads when finished apply tea tree oil then apply a clay face mask this will deeply cleanse your skin...thats all and i hope this works for you guys
Name: Hennah
City:   USA
Comments:   i have pimples on my firehead - does that mean i got an oily t-zone
Name: payal
City:   california
Comments:   for hennah...if u have pimples on your forehead nose and chin then that means you have an oily t-zone
Name: Claire
City:   Liverpool
Comments:   Hiya, for everyone who is asking how to get rid of blackheads and spots do what i do... i have a face sauna that i use 1 - 3 times a week.. if you havent got one of these all you have to do is fill a bowl with boiling water and put ur face over the bowl with a towel over your head to trap the steam.. all your pores open and are cleansed, afterwards use a small amount of tea tree oil on a cotton ball to wipe over face. also exfoliate weekly, you can by antibacterial ones, avon do a fantastic one.. it works for me!
Name: aaron
City:   cairns
Comments:   Hi i have oily skin but i dont ever get many pimples but my nose has many black heads n in my T section amy age is 23 how can i get rid off them ..
Name: s.umakanth
City:   secunderabad
Comments:   hello, my skin is oily.what measures are to be taken to reduce or to prevent my skin from becoming oily.what is the use of astringent and ph value soap or face wash for oily skin and what are the best soaps or facewash and astringent to be used which are available in the market please name them. thank u.
Name: vidya
City:   coimbatore
Comments:   i would like to know why one gets black marks
Name: vrinda
City:   delhi
Comments:   LITMUS PAPER is a filter paper basically used in science labs its little rough n thick paper just like hand made sheet i mean its of white colour
Name: sania
City:   chandigarh
Comments:   i hav a combination type of skin..i had some pimples on my face but now they have cured but hav left some marks...how can i get rid of the marksnd also tell me that whether i can go for regular cleansing or not.
Name: Rekha
City:   bangalore
Comments:   This article is very good. got useful info.I read from one of magazine baking soda is excellent for scrubbing the skin for removing dead cells..Is it trueor having any side effects Plz let me know
Name: bhagya
City:   hyderabad
Comments:   This article having good information about skin. I have clogged skin on Tzone.Plz give solution to get rid of this. If we balance PH using Toner.Is it reduce clogged skin give best Toner name
Name: geetha
City:   kl
Comments:   i have a dry skin,and cause of that i´m suffering with pigmentation problem that cause by exposure to sun. but at the same time, my face turns really oily at day time. why do i have that problem. what should i consider my skin as, oily or dry.
Name: mala maheshwari
City:   delhi
Comments:   my face colour has turned dark due to improper childhood care .... but other parts of the body has good wheatish color ...how can i get back my face color ....
Name: Latha
City:   delhi, india
Comments:   what is litmus paper and where can one find it?
Name: Abdullah
City:   Miami
Comments:   My face colour is a much darker than the rest of my body. What are some home remedies to get back my clear colour and when can i start seeing fast results? and how come is that when i step inthe sun for a few minutes i start getting sunburn? thankyou please help.
Name: Tessia
City:   Port Louis
Comments:   Well i won´t say zat u´ve help me a ot coz my problem is zat i´v some acne blemishes, the T zone is oily and z rest dry. Even my body skin is dry...wat do i do in my case?
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DISCUSSION FORUMS ON
Skin Talk
RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello mshama,
first think you did wrong think that used this betnovate c without doctor consultation, so its not right thing you do, first you should meet now to skin specialist and decide about the appointment to doctor.
...
- harish    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello friend,
you are how much of old, and what your age now, if you still continue with the betovate c cream then you should stop to using this cream now, it will be harmful for you, so stop using this. ...
- kiran    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello mshma,
i think skin pigmentation didnt find any permanent solution till yet, so its not easy to get solution from this pigmentation, this cream has side effects and stop using this. ...
- jhanavi    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello msharma,
you should take consultation from good and best skin specialist, so it will help you to remove your pigmentation and it will helpful to get clear skin, also you look that the cream does not have any side effects too. ...
- tanmay    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello masharma,
its not right if anyone of your friend consult you about your skin and you take his suggestion and implement so its not right, dont do that type behavior with your skin again its not right at all. ...
- arpita    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello msharma,
if you suffer form pigmentation you should apply depiwhite cream on your pigmentation, but first consult from your doctor an then you start to using this cream, its safe ...
- uttara    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello msharma,
i think skin pigmentation is heridatory, and its get you from your generation, if your parents have pigmentation you will also get pigmentation, in pregnancy and due to hormonal changes its occur. ...
- rakshanda    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello msahrma,
pigmentation its common think now a days, and also the ayurvedic medicines also have some side effects first you should check which medicine suits on you and which not, so its depend upon you. ...
- naresh    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello masharma,
the pigmentation dont have any particular and permanent solution, you should find out the solution on that, you can apply the solution which include vitamin c which is helpful for you. ...
- dipti    read >>

RE:pigmentation due to betnovate c
hello msharma,
the pigmentation is not big issue or its not skin related big problem and its not harmful for body, but yes its not look good if its occur on face so thats why we should control on our eating habit. ...
- dharmesh    read >>