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Dr. Leslie Baumann: The Skin Type Solution Book Review

I get more than a little mystified when I wander through the skin care aisle, be it at the drugstore or Sephora. I know I struggle with acne, but other than that, I’m usually at a loss to diagnose my skin woes and correctly prescribe the right product. I’m not alone. Some studies estimate that up to 80 percent of women incorrectly identify their skin type. Enter Dr. Leslie Baumann, and her book, The Skin Type Solution, written in 2006. Baumann’s book includes a carefully crafted and measured questionnaire that breaks all skin down into sixteen specific types based on whether it is oily or dry, sensitive or resistant, pigmented or non, and wrinkled or tight.

Baumann then spends a chapter on each combination, detailing the best methods and products to remedy its problems. I’m an Oily-Sensitive-Non-Pigmented-Wrinkled Of course, it’s more complicated than that. For instance, Baumann recognizes four distinct subtypes of sensitive skin. To help factor all this in, she recently launched a website version of her quiz. Anyone can go to www.skintypesolutions.com, register, and take the quiz online. The computer program that administers the quiz will narrow down what subtype you fall into without burdening you with complex terminology. You still reap the benefit of the nitty-gritty science, though, when the program recommends products specifically for you – if your sensitivity comes from acne instead of allergies, the recommendations will reflect that. The site also has myriad forums for users with the same skin type to swap tips and advice.

While you visit Baumann’s site, you might notice that she has no advertisers. None. As Dr. Baumann says, “You don’t pay to play here.” Likewise, every single product recommended by the site has been vetted by Baumann and her team of researchers; every product listed is there because it works, not because of an endorsement deal.

Baumann has made this service free to the public for a good cause: She wants to collect world-wide data on skin types to further her genetic research. Ideally, everyone in the world would take this quiz to give her as much information as possible. I really can’t think of a downside to using this site. It takes no more than fifteen minutes, and at the end of the quiz, both you and Dr. Baumann will have a little more of the knowledge you need.

Katharine McKenzie

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