Skin solutions: what type are you?

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This is a little different than most of my book reviews — but I have read a book that has revolutionized my life and changed the way I look at my skin.

If you’re like many gay boys I know (and some lesbians too) your bathroom is a place where skin care products go to die. I have princess products all over my bathroom that didn’t work, broke me out, or made me look like the Lizard Man from Mars. You know what I’m talking about – those overpriced products that those department store girls talked you into or the skin salon sold you after that facial. If you are in that situation or if you just want to find a good skin care regime, “The Skin Type Solution” by Dr. Leslie Baumann is the book for you. I have shared it with all my friends, and now I’m sharing it with all of you!

Dr. Baumann is a cosmetic dermatologist who has spent her life helping people figure out what products to use with their skin type. According to Dr. Baumann, everyone should fall in one of sixteen skin types. That’s right – one of SIXTEEN skin types. After taking a short test at the beginning, you find out whether you’re Oily or Dry (O or D), Sensitive or Resistant (S or R), Non-pigmented or Pigmented (N or P), and Tight or Wrinkled (T or W). Each one of these scores makes up one level of your skin type. For example – I’m an Oily, Sensitive, Non-pigmented, Wrinkled – or an OSNW. The next step is to read the section of the book specific to your skin type. Dr. Baumann details everything that you should do to have beautiful, healthy, and younger looking skin. She will tell you things that you never knew (like my skin type should never use toners as they will only aggravate my skin – who knew?) and will save you money. She offers a list of products that she has researched and that have worked well with your skin type on other patients. She takes a scientific approach to skin care and tells you what ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid.

So after reading my section, I was thrilled to see that the good doctor has a list of products, which range from inexpensive (Eucerin, St. Ives and Neutrogena for example) to moderate or expensive (Estee Lauder, Kiehls and Clarins). According to Dr. Baumann, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have great skin. The best part is that she will tell you what products and skin procedures aren’t appropriate for your skin and are a waste of your money. Dr. Baumann suggests cleansers, toners, moisturizers, sun-block, anti-wrinkle creams, eye creams, facial scrubs, and masks, along with possible cosmetic procedures (including laser treatments, fillers and Botox) which you might consider asking your dermatologist about when your age starts to show up on your face. I went shopping and bought the cheap stuff first. I was thrilled a few weeks later to see that my skin was doing great – while I was using things that didn’t break my bank account! Just to boost your faith in this book, I asked several friends to try the regime too – my friend Collette (a DSNW), Donna (a fellow OSNW), my partner (an ORNW), my mother (a DSNW), and Pam (a DSPW). All of them started with the least expensive products and have had excellent luck with them so far. My friend Collette learned the wonders of Pond’s Cold Cream, Donna learned the wonders of Aveeno Ultra Calming SPF moisturizer and my friend Pam discovered a wonderful anti-wrinkle cream that makes her skin look great.

I can’t sing the praises of this book enough. Since I was saving so much money on basic skin care, I was willing to spend a little extra on some anti-aging serum at the new Sephora store in Green Hills Mall. Jill at Sephora was willing to give me samples of the more expensive things so I could try them out before buying an entire bottle. The ladies at the new Kiehls store (also at Green Hills) are also great about this. (Helpful hint – ask about the return policy if they don’t have a sample available. That way you aren’t stuck with something you can’t use – most places will allow for exchanges or refunds.)

“The Skin Type Solution” is available at local book stores, online and at your local library.

“The Skin Type Solution”
By Leslie S. Baumann
Bantam, 528 pp., $22.00