Daily Archives: November 7, 2011

Book Review: The Skin Type Solution by Dr. Leslie Baumann

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have recently read the above mentioned book.  I needed to educate myself more on skin care and a friend introduced me to Dr. Baumann’s book.

As you may know, I am not new to skincare regiments and lingo.  I’ve been suffering from acne since grade 7, and have gone through my fair share (and then some), of dermatologists, beauty products and even prescription medicines.  But I am always open to learn more about anything, and due to my vanity, I am especially interested in learning about skin care.

Chapter 1: The Skin Type Revolution

Dr. Baumann is a dermatologist, researcher, and associate professor of dermatology.  She explains why one product that “worked wonders” on your friend, sister, co-worker, etc., may not work for you.  It’s because we all may have different skin types, and what works for one skin type may not work for another.

She gives some background on her credentials and explains that people usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • They don’t know their skin type
  • They use the wrong products for their skin type
  • They use the wrong procedures for their skin type
  • They spend much more than they should on products because they don’t know what will or will not work for them.

Chapter 2: Skin Type Categories

In order to determine our skin type, Dr. Baumann presents the 4 categories that Skin Type Solution uses to evaluate one’s skin type, and gives a description of each one.

They are the following:

  • Oily vs dry
  • Sensitive vs resistant
  • Pigmented vs non-pigmented
  • Tight vs wrinkled

Chapter 3: Discover your Skin Type

Take the questionnaire to determine your skin type.

You answer a series of questions, one category at a time based on a point system.  At the end of each section you tally up your scores and kazaam, you’ve got your skin type.

Chapter 4 – 19: Skin care for each of the 16 combinations of skin types

I am oily, sensitive, slightly-pigmented and tight (OSPT) type of skin (corresponds to Chapter 5 & 7).  I am on the cusp of pigmented and non-pigmented, so I will include both here.

In each skin type chapter, she has a brief section describing your skin type and what she would expect you to experience.

About your Skin Type

For my skin type, she recommends dealing with one problem at a time – oil.    This is because by dealing with the oil, would hopefully lead to less acne and therefore, less pigmentation from acne.   Pigmentation can be caused from acne, hormones, and sun exposure.

The bad news is that acne does not end from adolescence and continues (if not treated) into our 20s and 30s.  The good news is that as OSPT approach their 50s and 60s (with good protection of skin), the oil production will slow down and this type usually age better than other types.  “Minimal wrinkles, decreased oiliness and reduced tendency to form dark spots, you enjoy skin that resists aging better than many other types.” (Baumann 82)


Baumann also talk about inflammation in the skin since acne is a form of inflammation.  I learned that heat sources outside of the body can also increase inflammation inside the body – such as prolonged sun exposure, sun burns, hot climates, waxing, saunas, steam rooms, steaming one’s face (i.e., facials), waxing, spicy and hot foods or chemicals peels that are too harsh.  These procedures or environments should be avoided.

Baumann shares different stories of her clients and techniques she used to help them deal with their problem.  Usually, it’s avoiding of the above procedures which lead to inflammation.

Everyday Care for your Skin Type

For my skin type, Baumann recommends:

  • preventing and treating pimples
  • preventing and treating dark spots
  • managing redness

Baumann includes a “daily skin care” routine for both a.m. and p.m. for “Stage 1: Non Prescription Regimen” for:

  • treating acne and dark spots
  • for skin redness and dark spots without acne
  • for skin redness and dark sports with acne

Baumann also includes a “daily skin care” routine for both a.m. and p.m. for “Stage 2: Prescription Regimen” to treat acne.

She includes various lists of products for each recommended cleansers, toners, acne controlling products, spot treatment products, skin-lightening gels, moisturizers, and eye creams.  She also provides recommended producs for sunscreen, foundations and facial powders.  Obviously, one may only use a few items from the list, depending on what you are treating.

Baumann also breaks down her recommended products based on approximate price categories ($, $$, $$$), and she also provides her choice and why.

Baumann also includes a list of skin ingredients to use for the following purposes:

  • to decrease skin inflammation (i.e., aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, tea tree oil, zinc, rose water)
  • to lessen acne (i.e., benzoyl peroxide, retinol, tea tree oil,salicylic acid)
  • to prevent pigmentation (niacinamide)
  • to reduce pigmentation (i.e., cucumber extract, salicylic acid)

Baumann also includes a list of skin ingredients to avoid for the following reasons:

  • if acne prone (i.e., cocoa butter, jojoba oil, peppermint oil)
  • if you have skin allergies (i.e., benzoyl peroxide, parabens, fragrances)
  • lactic acid (if OSNT)

Further help for Oily Skin

Baumann goes further and discusses:

  • using retinoids
  • Intense Pulsed Light & Vascular Lasers
  • Botox
  • life style recommendations

What I found really interesting was eating a diet with a lot of glycemic foods can lead to acne.  “High glycemic foods, such as sweets, soda, certain fruits, refined grain products and cold cereals, cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels.  Blood glucose stimulates the release of insulin and excess insulin production can contribute to acne.” (Baumann 170)  It also lists fermented foods – such as cheese, cured meats or sausages as no-nos.  Le sigh.

Baumann recommends a diet to decrease inflammation should include eggs, fish, cool salads and zinc rich foods (i.e., oysters).


I thought that Baumanns book was very thorough and easy to understand.  She breaks down skin care into something that manageable by the individual so they can be more informed when making decisions in a market that is bombarded with promises of lotions and potions that will solve our skin care problems.

I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of her products are everyday products from my local drugstore and a lot of them are very affordable.  It seems that my dermatologist uses a similar philosophy as her, and as prescribed a very similar routine.

I won’t go into detail of the products that I use in this post.  But I will share it in a separate post.  I hope this review was helpful for the ladies and gents out there.

Have you read Leslie Baumann’s The Skin Type Solution?  Did her recommendations work for you?  If so, please share you tips and your skin type in the comments.



Filed under Book Review, Health