Skin Type vs. Skin Condition: What’s the Difference?

Knowing this is the key to flawless skin
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated Jun, 2022
Skin Type vs. Skin Condition

You’ve known about skin types since you’ve picked up your first issue of Seventeenso you know it’s important. Deciding whether your complexion is normal, oily, dry, combination, or sensitive can help you make the most of your daily skincare routine for healthy, glowing skin. But what’s the difference between skin type vs. skin condition?

Different terms in skincare can be confusing, leading you to choose products that may not be ideal for your particular complexion. When it comes to the difference between skin type and skin condition, understanding the difference is essential to take the best care of your skin, especially as you age!

Everyone has a skin type, but not everyone has a particular skin condition. So precisely, what are the differences between these two?

Skin Types: Your Day-to-Day Skin

YOUR skin type can fluctuate. But in general, this is the type of skin you were born with and will have for life. Your genetics, as well as your environmental factors, can influence your skin type. And, having the proper skincare routine to support and nourish your skin type is crucial.

The five skin types are:

• Normal Skin

Type 2 Fitzpatrick skin type

People with normal skin types are lucky as their skin is never overly dry and oily. Meaning they have a smooth and beautiful complexion without much effort.

• Dry Skin

spring skincare for dry skin

People with dry skin often experience tightness, wrinkles, fine lines, and flakiness and may have a dull complexion that needs some extra TLC!

• Oily Skin

oily skin type

For those with oily skin types, the skin produces excess sebum, your skin’s natural moisturizer. You may have a shiny complexion and be more prone to breakouts.

• Combination Skin

acids for combination skin type

Those with combination skin usually have some combination of dry and oily. Typically, the nose, forehead, and chin will be oily while other areas can be prone to dryness.

• Sensitive Skin

Sensitive Skin

These reactive skin types are affected by harsh skincare products and temperature changes. They’re also more prone to conditions such as rosacea. People having the sensitive type of skin need to be extra careful about the products they use to support a healthy complexion!

Generally, people will only have one skin type. For combination types, their skin may be more oily in the summer and drier in the winter. So, there is some overlap here. Others, such as normal skin types, may experience dryness or sensitivity due to hormonal changes (thanks, menopause!). And, dry skin types are more likely to have sensitive skin as well.

While certain skin types have defined challenges—breakouts for oily skin, tightness and premature wrinkles for dry skin, the reactivity for sensitive skin—these problems don’t count as your skin type. They’re simply common concerns people with these skin types have.

For skin type vs. skin condition, the best way to understand the difference is this: you can generally change or improve skin conditions, but you can’t change your skin type!

Skin Condition: Acute Issues With the Skin

We can describe skin conditions as more pressing issues with your skin that generally change over time. Some conditions clear up while others can worsen with age (don’t worry, you can reverse the damage in most cases!).

Not everyone will have skin conditions, although the following are some of the most common:

• Acne


One of the common skin conditions include acne. Frequent breakouts could be due to hormones (such as during pregnancy), food intolerances, and genetics.

• Sun Damage

Sun Damage

One of the top issues of skin damage is caused by the sun. It can result in skin conditions such as skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and mature skin.

• Dehydration


Being dehydrated, especially chronically, can cause transepidermal water loss, which means your skin’s natural barrier cannot do its job. Without this natural barrier, your skin will be more prone to sun damage, wrinkles, and a dull complexion.

• Aging Or Mature Skin

Aging Or Mature Skin

Aging skin is influenced by sun exposure, air pollution, cigarette smoke, nutrition, and even wrong cosmetic products.

• Rosacea


Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder typically involving the nose, forehead, and chin that is characterized especially by redness, flushing, telangiectasia, inflamed lesions, and burning sensation, and sometimes by eye dryness and irritation and thickening of tissues especially of the nose.

• Psoriasis


Characterized as an autoimmune disorder, psoriasis is a condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin texture that can burn and itch.

YOUR skin type co-exists with these conditions. Acne and oily skin, dry and mature skin, sun damage and normal skin, psoriasis, and sensitive skin. The list goes on! So, you can see, when it comes to skin type vs. skin condition, both play a role in your skincare routine.

Does Your Skincare Routine Address Both Skin Type vs. Skin Condition?

You may be able to improve some skin conditions with the right products, (think hyperpigmentation or mature skin), others, such as acne or psoriasis. These skin conditions are best treated by your dermatologist to ensure you’re making all the right choices and caring for your body.

YOUR daily skincare routine likely supports your skin type, but is it doing everything it can for your skin condition (if you have one)? Depending on your skin condition, you can adjust your skincare routine to support both your skin type and skin condition. Examples include:

  • With sun damage and hyperpigmentation, vitamin C can support healing and reduce the appearance of sunspots. Excellent addition to your skincare routine is Vitamin C, and it can help prevent future sun damage. Try a potent vitamin C serum in the morning, which is considered safe for most skin types.
  • For oily skin and acne, the products you use will help reduce excess oil without stripping skin to keep acne at bay. By not being too harsh with your skincare but not using heavy creams either, you can improve both oily skin and acne for a better complexion!
  • If YOU experience the signs of aging or dehydrated skin, choosing skincare products with hyaluronic acid can help. A natural substance produced by your body is Hyaluronic acid. It is excellent for restoring moisture & hydration to dry skin types.

And, of course, if you’re suffering from a condition such as dermatitis or psoriasis, follow your derm’s instructions for treating your particular condition!

Find Your Skin Type Now With This Free Assessment!

When it comes to skin type vs. skin condition, knowing both can help you nourish your skin and avoid frustrating mistakes that can impact your chances for a HEALTHY complexion. Not everyone will have a skin condition, but everyone has a skin type! Do YOU know yours? Find out now with this free assessment!


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