top of page

How to tell if you have Dry or Oily Skin?

Achieving well-hydrated and balanced skin is the gold standard for a healthy complexion. However, deciding if your skin is on the drier or oilier side is hard to differentiate.

The Dermatologic Clinics Journal of 2008 highlights that skin that falls within the middle of the oily-dry spectrum is often considered ideal. While both ends of the spectrum have their own concerns, dry skin, also known as xerosis, tends to be more problematic. So, how can you discern whether you have dry or oily skin? Let's delve into the science behind these conditions and explore the key indicators that can help you identify your skin type.

Understanding Dry Skin: The Science Behind Xerosis

The stratum corneum (SC), the outermost layer of the skin, plays a pivotal role in maintaining skin hydration. This layer is composed of ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol, which work together to protect and seal the skin, preventing water loss. When these constituents are imbalanced, it can lead to compromised skin barrier function, resulting in dryness.

In xerosis, the SC loses its ability to retain water due to improper lipid balance. This leads to increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL), essentially causing the skin to lose more water than it should. Consequently, the skin's surface becomes rough and visibly dry.

Crucial Factors Contributing to Dry Skin

  1. Lipid Balance: The balance of ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol in the stratum corneum is vital for maintaining skin hydration.

  2. Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF): NMF, a compound found in the SC, helps retain water within skin cells. Low NMF levels are associated with dry skin.

  3. Aquaporin-3 (AQP3): A protein responsible for transporting water and solutes across cell membranes, AQP3 plays a role in skin hydration by facilitating the movement of water between skin layers.

  4. External Factors: Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, detergents, and prolonged water immersion can disrupt the lipid bilayer of the SC, contributing to dryness.

  5. pH Balance: Changes in skin pH can affect the cohesion and shedding of skin cells, leading to dryness.

Unveiling Oily Skin: Navigating the Sebum Spectrum

On the opposite end of the spectrum lies oily skin, characterized by excess sebum production. Sebum is an oily secretion produced by the sebaceous glands that helps protect the skin and maintain its suppleness. However, when sebum production goes into overdrive, it can lead to oily skin and potentially contribute to acne.

While low sebum levels are not directly linked to the development of xerosis, sebum-derived fats may help create a lipid film on the skin's surface, preventing excessive water loss. A recent study highlighted that even in individuals with limited sebum production, restoring glycerol levels can alleviate dryness.

Deciphering Your Skin Type: Key Signs

  1. Dry Skin: Look for dull, rough, and grayish-white skin texture. Increased ridges and a lack of suppleness are indicators of dry skin. Flaking and tightness after cleansing are also common.

  2. Oily Skin: Oily skin is characterized by a shiny appearance, especially in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Enlarged pores, acne breakouts, and makeup not lasting as long are typical signs.

Identifying whether you have dry or oily skin involves recognizing key indicators and understanding the underlying physiological processes. Our skincare line has skincare that can tackle both dry and oily skin as we are formulated with allergen friendly and sensitive skin friendly ingredients. Try the LEMYKA Ultra Gentle Face Cleanser for a gentle foaming cleanser that will not strip the skin of all of its healthy nutrients and oil.


bottom of page