5 Signs Your Skincare is Too Harsh for Your Skin Type

Finding the right skincare products for your skin type is an essential part of achieving the results you want. But if you’re not getting your products directly from your dermatologist, you could be unknowingly using ingredients that are too harsh for your skin. This can lead to a host of unwanted side effects, not to mention preventing you from achieving the smooth, clear skin you’re looking for. Even if you’re using products labeled for the right skin concern, your skincare routine could be doing more harm than good if it’s not a good match for your specific skin type.

If you notice any of these five telltale signs of skin irritation when using a particular product, discontinue using it and talk to your dermatologist about a gentler alternative.

1. You’re Breaking Out

Breakouts happen when your skin produces excess oil that gets trapped inside the pores with dirt, makeup, dead skin cells and bacteria. A specific bacteria called P. acnes is responsible for the inflammation and redness characteristic of acne (American Academy of Dermatology).

If you’re using ingredients that are too harsh for your skin, this can trigger an increase in oil production to counteract the drying or irritating effects. As a result, you may begin to notice more breakouts than usual.

2. You’re Getting a Rash

Any time you notice a rash, itchiness or hives, it’s likely something you’re using on your skin is causing irritation or an allergic reaction (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology). People with very sensitive skin often have trouble with added fragrances and dyes in laundry detergents and personal care products, so eliminating these items is a good start. For severe or persistent rashes, be sure to talk with your dermatologist about possible causes and solutions.

3. Your Skin Feels Tight

Some skin types do really well with a toner or foaming cleanser, as these products can help to keep excess oil in check. Dry skin types, however, don’t typically respond well to these types of products because they contain drying ingredients that strip away the skin’s natural oils. Dry skin suffers from a lack of lipids (oils) on the skin. If your skin feels overly tight, dry, itchy or stings or burns, double-check your skincare products for ingredients such as detergents or alcohol that could be over-drying your skin. For dry skin types, foaming cleansers will likely result in either a tight or dry look and feel.

4. Your Skin Looks or Feels Greasy

If your skin isn’t usually oily and you start to notice shine or a greasy look, you’re probably using the wrong products. If your skin makes an adequate amount of sebum, then you should not use a heavy moisturizer.  Using a heavy moisturizer with oils and other occlusive ingredients can lead to a greasy feeling that isn’t characteristic of your skin type.

Oily skin types should not use products that deposit lipids on the skin. These are found in oils, waxes and butters. Foaming cleansers that contain detergents that remove lipids from the skin’s surface are more appropriate for oily types than creamy cleansers are. This is because oily types produce lipids in sebum so adding external lipids makes skin too greasy and can lead to clogged pores, unwanted shine and streaking of makeup foundation.

5. Your Skin Condition Is Getting Worse, Not Better

The ultimate goal of following a daily skincare routine is to help maintain healthy skin and/or improve its appearance. If you’re noticing that some aspect of your skin health is getting worse instead of better, you know that there’s an ingredient that’s not working for you.

This is why skincare can get complicated if you don’t know your skin type. My best advice is to find a physician who can assess your Baumann Skin Type and can recommend the perfect products that match your needs.

The Bottom Line

Struggling to find the right skincare products can be overwhelming, especially without professional advice. So many people wind up trying product after product before finally seeing a doctor, and this “trial and error” approach to skincare will only waste your time and money. Your best bet is to find out your skin type and purchase the right products the first time. Your skin will thank you for it!


Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through

December 23, 2016 Skin Type, Skincare