All about the Baumann Skin Type® Quiz

For the past decade or so, skin typing has focused on normal, dry, oily and sensitive. The problem with these classifications is that they provide very little information about the skin and consumers are generally incorrect when assessing their own. So I set out to create an entirely new skin-typing system, which was the basis of my New York Times-bestselling book, The Skin Type Solution (2005) and a PBS Special of the same name in 2010..

The 16 Baumann Skin Types® described in the book have been adopted  by doctors to use in their offices using a methodology exclusive to the Skin Type Solutions Franchise System.  This system is present in over 70 dermatologist’s offices and allows physicians to accurately diagnose a patient’s skin type and prescribe a customized skincare regimen for their patient.

How skin type is determined

The Baumann Skin Type is determined by a scientifically validated questionnaire known as the Baumann Skin Type Indicator (BSTI). It is recommended that the BSTI be repeated annually, since the Baumann Skin Type can change with age, pregnancy, menopause, climate conditions, diet and lifestyle.

The parameters

The Baumann Skin Type system identifies 4 key skin attributes:

  • Dry (D)/Oily (O)
  • Sensitive (S)/Resistant (R)
  • Pigmented (P)/Non-pigmented (N)
  • Wrinkle-prone (W)/Tight (T)

The result of these distinctions is 16 distinct skin types. For example, one Baumann Skin Type is ORPW (Oily, Resistant, Pigmented, Wrinkle-Prone) while another is DSPT (Dry, Sensitive, Pigmented, Tight). More than just combinations of skin attributes, each Baumann Skin Type experiences different dermatologic problems, which dictate the appropriate preventative measures and treatment options.

Dry (D) vs. Oily (O)

One factor that determines whether skin is Dry or Oily is the amount of sebum produced by the skin. Sebum creates a fat-based film on the skin, which has an important effect on skin hydration. The state of the skin’s stratum corneum plays a role in determining whether one is Dry or Oily as well, since this barrier layer also helps hold moisture in the skin.

Dry skin is characterized by decreased sebum production, rough texture, poor light reflection and tightness, especially after cleansing. Oily skin is characterized by an adequate or increased sebum (oil) production, and less need for a moisturizer.

Sensitive (S) vs. Resistant (R)

The skin’s propensity for inflammation is a major determining factor for Sensitive or Resistant skin. Sensitive skin often reacts to skincare products with redness, burning or acne, while Resistant skin rarely experiences negative side effects. The strong stratum corneum associated with Resistant skin can make the skin resistant to the beneficial effects of skincare ingredients due to less absorption.  For this reason, resistant skin types need stronger products.

There are 4 unique subtypes of sensitive skin, and they are all different. However, all Sensitive subtypes have inflammation in common.

  • Acne subtype: Develops acne, whiteheads or blackheads
  • Rosacea subtype: Experiences recurring flushing, redness and a hot sensation
  • Stinging subtype: Develops stinging or burning of the skin
  • Allergic subtype: Develops rashes after contact with allergens and irritants

Pigmented (P) vs. Non-pigmented (N)

This skin attribute is measured by the skin’s tendency to develop unwanted pigment resulting in an uneven skin tone.. This can be sun-induced, as in melasma or solar lentigos (sun spots)or due to injury in the form of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Most pigment changes can be prevented and corrected through the use of proper skincare ingredients. T

Wrinkle-prone (W) vs. Tight (T)

More than other Baumann Skin Type parameters, age, ethnicity and lifestyle habits have a major influence on whether one’s skin is Wrinkle-prone or Tight. There is still a genetic component to this parameter, but external factors that contribute to an aged appearance are completely controllable. Sun exposure is the primary cause of skin aging, due its destructive effect on essential skin proteins like collagen and elastin.

Combinations of skin types

Although each Baumann Skin Type parameter is associated with particular skin conditions and challenges, the specific combinations also experience particular tendencies. For example, DRPW types often have a history of sun exposure manifested by wrinkles and solar lentigos; DSNT, DSPT, DSPW and DSNW are more prone to eczema; OSNT and OSPT types are more likely to suffer from acne; and OSNW and DSNW types more commonly experience rosacea.

Properly identifying a patient’s skin type is key for positive skincare outcomes. This approach also saves a patient time and money by ensuring that they are using the best active ingredients and formulations for their unique skin.  Do you want to know which skin type you are? To find a doctor in your area that offers the Skin Type Solutions System click here.


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

August 19, 2016 Acne, Eczema/Dry Skin, Rosacea, Skin Type