Does Skin Type Tell You Enough To Understand What Your Skin Really Needs?

What are skin types? 

Skin types have long been used to identify the condition and genetics of your skin, typically consisting of normal, dry, oily and combination skin. Skin types categorise your skin into one ‘type’ to make it simpler for products to be sold universally to customers, without the need for a consultant on hand to observe and examine the skin in person. 

Lady showing her skin

Throughout the skincare industry these four main descriptions of skin are used the world over, to try and help people navigate, we'll explain each one, so you can start to understand some of the descriptive concerns that are associated with these longstanding 'types':

What is normal?, by normal this description is referring to to well-balanced skin, that is able to produce enough sebum to hydrate and retain moisture to maintain healthy skin.

Conventionally characterised by the tightness, roughness or flakiness of skin. Dry skin is caused by the lack of lipids that skin requires to retain moisture. Different degrees of dry skin exist from dry which may be dull skin with a few patches of rough skin to extremely dry skin where the skin may be cracked and scaling.


Oily skin has been used to describe skin that has an overproduction of sebum resulting in shinier skin and enlarged visible pores.


Combination skin may be normal or dry in some areas, and oily in others, for example an oily T-zone is a common characteristic of combination of skin.

Is it as simple as four types to cover every person?

The short answer is, no.  These basic skin type categories don’t take into consideration the complexity of our skin. Have you ever felt like your skin is oily but dehydrated at the same time? Or your skin has fluctuated between normal to oily to dry all within the space of a few weeks?! Categorising your skin by set labels ignores how reactive your skin is to your own unique DNA, your environment, hormones, diet, stress and lifestyle which makes your skin unique to you!

Restricting your skincare routine to suit just one skin type can ignore your individual skin needs that may not be a typical characteristic of your perceived skin type. You may even have the same skin type as someone else, but your skin may react completely differently to the products.

Skin concerns

At Wǒ we are embracing everyone’s unique skin by embracing skin concerns rather than skin types, so you can start to understand what it really needs. Your skin is a living organ, in fact, the largest in your body and so it is connected to your lifestyle. This doesn’t mean you have no control over your skin, it means skin needs differ from person to person based on an accumulation of factors.

There are 8 main cosmetic skin concerns, by cosmetic we mean non medical related e.g Eczema. These are:

  • Oily/shiny
  • Dry/dull
  • Blemish prone
  • Open pores
  • Pigmented
  • Fine lines/wrinkles
  • Dark circles
  • Sensitive

Wo 8 skin concerns icons


Being able to describe your skin concerns will help to identify more accurately what the solution needs to be, as it could be that other factors in addition to skincare could be the solution. This is why Wǒ designed a smart skin diagnostic to consider all factors such as ethnicity, environment and lifestyle choices and to provide tailored products based on your individual skin needs, we want to give you a holistic view of your skin.

Our skin diagnostic is there to assist your understanding of your own skin, and to recommend products best suited to your skin needs with ultimate flexibility. It can be hard at times to cut through all the noise and understand what product is best for you.

It is important to note that as your lifestyle and environment changes, so does your skin, building your knowledge of it means you have the confidence to listen to your intuition and care for it in a holistic way.

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