Skin Type Solution by Dr. Leslie Baumann

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Ever wondered why some products touted as the holy grail won’t work on your skin? Well, it’s quite likely that you have an entirely different skin type that has different challenges and needs. The Skin Type Solution by Dr. Leslie Baumann is one of the first skincare books that I ever purchased. The first edition was in 2006. I still have my old copy of the book. With my recent skin changes (from oily to dry), I decided to reread the book (the product recommendations are rather outdated but the information about the ingredients are still spot on). Dr. Bauman analyzes skin based off of four categories: Dry vs. Oily, Resistant vs. Sensitive, Wrinkled vs. Tight.

It’s important to know your skin type before trying products with ingredients that may not even work for you. There are so many wonderful beauty bloggers out there that will claim one product to be the Holy Grail product for them. Maybe you try it out and find it didn’t work at all for you because it caused a reaction or did nothing for your skin type.


Dry Skin: “The barrier’s main components are ceramics, fatty acids, and cholesterol, all different kinds of lipids. These must be present in the right proportion to keep the skin watertight. An impaired barrier will tend toward both dryness and sensitivity. Dryness results when skin moisture evaporates. Sensitivity results when a deficient barrier permits the entry of outside irritants.”

Oily Skin: “The skin has many oil (sebaceous) glands, which secret oil that contains wax esters, triglycerides, and squalene. These fats (or lipids) form a film that helps keep moisture in the skin. While increased sebum production results in oily skin, the opposite is not always the case, as dry skin can also arise from an impaired skin barrier. Oil production can be affected by diet, stress and hormones — as well as genetics.”


Resistant Skin: “Resistant skin has a solid skin barrier that shields the skin cells, keeping allergens and irritating substances from the deeper skin layers. Unless sunburned, your skin rarely stings, reddens, or develops acne, allowing resistant types to use most products without reacting. However, the irony is that many products may not be potent enough to penetrate the “thick” barrier and deliver results.”

Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin, which is reported by over 40% of people, has a weaker barrier, making it vulnerable to many kinds of skin reactions. While many products target sensitive skin, there are four very different subtypes of sensitive skin, so your treatments and products must address your unique subtype.

  • Acne Subtype: Develops acne, blackheads, or whiteheads
  • Rosacea Subtype: Develops recurring flushing, facial redness, and hot sensation.
  • Stinging Subtype: Develops stinging or burning of skin.
  • Allergic Subtype: Develops redness, itching, and flaking of skin.


Pigmented Skin: Characterized by  dark spots such as melasma (also known as the “mask of pregnancy” that most often occurs in women who are pregnant or on estrogen therapy), solar lentigos (or sun spots — the brown spots on skin that occurs from sun exposure), freckles (not sun spots but is believed to be caused by the MC1R gene which is closely associated with red hair and fair skin).

It’s important to note that just because you have darker skin, that doesn’t mean you fall into the “pigmented” skin type. Having even skin tone and no spots is what will put you into the non-pigmented skin type.


Self-explanatory section here but there are two different ways one can age.

Intrinsic Aging: Individual genetic programming, which unfolds over time. It’s inevitable and beyond your control.

Extrinsic Aging: External factors such as smoking, pollution, poor nutrition, and sun exposure that can be changed.

Would you like to take a quiz? Here it is: Skin Type Quiz (Have a paper and pen ready because you’ll need to keep track of your answers and score this yourself!)

My Korean mother has the ORNT Skin Type (Oily, Resistant, Non-Pigmented and Tight) which is also known as the “Goddess Skin Type.” ORNTs have skin that is described by Dr. Baumann as being flawless, even toned, radiant and ageless.


I, unfortunately, did not inherit my mom’s skin type. I’m her exact opposite. I have the DSPW skin type which is a nightmare. Dr. Baumann calls it the “Desperate Skin Type.” An excerpt from the book says, “A DSPW Skin Type gives you no slack. Your skin is dry, flakey, parched, and crying out for moisturizers. Yet you react with pimples or stinging, burning and itching to so many ingredients that few products can help. Synthetic ingredients in skin care (such as fragrances, detergents, and preservatives) can trigger a reaction. Natural ingredients (such as essential oils, coconut oil, or cocoa butter) can also trigger a reaction.” Yay me.


Dr. Baumann’s book is still very pertinent today. Before the influx of Asian beauty (AB) products, she listed many of the ingredients found in AB products before it was even a trend. When I scan through AB products, I quickly search for the ingredients that I know will work for my skin type and avoid those that are likely to be problematic.

What ingredients have you found that work for your skin? What do you need to avoid? What is your skin type?

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