Sensitive Skin Type

Sensitive skin will react if the wrong skincare products are used. This occurs because sensitive skin is skin that easily develops inflammation.  If you have sensitive skin, you know how upsetting it is to have a skin reaction to a new product.  It is very important that you use the correct sensitive skin products in a skin care routine for sensitive skin because your skin is at high risk to become irritated and inflamed. .

Sensitive Skin = Reactive Skin = Skin That Easily Develops Inflammation

There are many causes of skin inflammation, but the result is always the same- dilated blood vessels that make skin pink/red and activation of one or more different types of inflammatory pathways. Inflamed skin is unhealthy skin because skin inflammation leads to inflammation in the body.  We know this because the markers for inflammation (called cytokines) can be found in the blood when the skin is inflamed. Inflammatory cytokines in the blood can contribute to the development of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Your body will be healthier overall if you can eliminate as many causes of skin inflammation as possible.  Using the correct sensitive skin products for your Baumann Skin Type® will help reduce inflammation- not only in your skin- but in your body as well.

What Type of Sensitive Skin Do I Have?

Before we can tell you the best skincare for sensitive skin, our doctors first have to know what type of sensitive skin you have.  The skin type quiz is like a sensitive skin quiz in that it identifies not only what type of sensitive skin you have but also uncovers other barriers to skin health that you may have. Take the skin type quiz here.

The goal of any sensitive skincare products or skincare routine for sensitive skin is to reduce inflammation and change skin from a Sensitive Baumann Skin Type® to a Resistant Baumann Skin Type®.  The only way to calm sensitive skin is to use sensitive skin products designed to treat the type of sensitive skin you have.  There are 4 main types of sensitive skin: 

  • Acne Type Sensitive Skin  (Pimples)

  • Rosacea Type  Sensitive Skin  (Facial redness )

  • Burning and Stinging Sensitive Skin  

  • Allergic Skin

It is possible to have more than one type of sensitive skin.  The best skincare products for your sensitive skin depends upon which type of sensitive skin you have. Using the best skin care routine for your subtype of sensitive skin is important to prevent reactions to skincare products.  

Baumann Skin Types with Sensitive Skin

There are 8 Sensitive Baumann Skin Types - Which one are you? The sensitive skin products that are best for you depend upon which Baumann Sensitive Skin Type that you have.  We can divide sensitive skin into two main categories:

Oily Sensitive Skin


The oily sensitive skin types OSPT and OSNT usually suffer from acne, but less commonly have rosacea, stinging and skin allergies.  OSPW and OSNW usually suffer from rosacea but may have some acne, stinging and allergies.  All oily sensitive skin types will do well with anti-inflammatory ingredients.  Some of our favorite soothing skincare ingredients for oily sensitive skin are salicylic acid, argan oil, green tea, Centerlla Asiatica Extract, chamomile, aloe, allantoin and panthenol.

Dry Sensitive Skin


Dry sensitive skin is trickier to treat than oily sensitive skin. This is because dry skin is much more susceptible to inflammation due to the disrupted skin barrier.  The goal of a skincare routine for dry sensitive skin is to hydrate the skin and repair the skin barrier while calming the skin with soothing skincare ingredients. There are 4 dry sensitive skin types in the Baumann Skin Typing System.  Notice that they are all designated by a pink or red color to illustrate the fact that the wrong skincare products will cause the skin to react and turn red.  Dry sensitive skin types are at a high risk of reacting to a new skincare product and may wake up with pimples, an itchy rash or a red face after trying a new product.  Oily sensitive skin types can react to skincare products also- but the oil on the skin tends to give the skin some protection against allergic reactions and rashes. 

What is the Best Skincare for Sensitive Skin?

 There are so many different types of oily sensitive skin and dry sensitive skin that it is impossible to give general advice on the best skincare for sensitive skin.  Your best bet is to take the quiz and we will know exactly which Baumann Skin Type you are and which type or types of sensitive skin you have.  The best skin care routine advice for sensitive skin requires some input on your part before we can design a customized skincare routine to calm and soothe your skin. However, there are two general questions that we get asked often about sensitive skin care products.

What is the Best Retinol for Sensitive Skin?

The best retinol for sensitive skin depends mostly on which type of sensitive skin you have and if your skin is oily or dry. Oily sensitive skin types will have a much easier time beginning a retinol than dry sensitive skin types. The only sensitive skin type that should start right away on retinol is an oily acne-sensitive skin type.  Dry types need the correct cleansers and moisturizers to repair the skin barrier to be able to tolerate a retinoid.  The rosacea-sensitive skin types, especially the dry ones, may not be able to handle a retinoid and need an antiaging retinoid alternative. Take the quiz and follow the sensitive skincare routine advice that si customized for your skin type to know what retinol to use for your sensitive skin.  In general, start on the lowest strength every 3rd night and slowly increase to every night.  Once you are tolerating the low-strength retinoid every night for 2-4 weeks, you can switch to a mid-strength retinoid.  How quickly you can increase the retinol strength depends upon your skin type and if you are using the best skin care products for your sensitive skin type.

What is the Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin?

Again, which sunscreen is best for sensitive skin depends upon your Baumann Skin Type.  In general, acne-prone skin should only use non-comedogenic sunscreens.  Some sunscreen ingredients that cause acne are isopropyl myristate, silicones, coconut oil, avobenzone, oxybenzone and methoxycinnamate. Rosacea-prone and prone sensitive skin should avoid chemical sunscreens that can cause irritation and inflammation.  Avobenzone is an example of a chemical sunscreen that stings sensitive skin. (It can also sting your eyes). Mineral (also called physical) sunscreens are best for rosacea-prone and stinging skin. 

Understanding sensitive skin and getting a customized skincare routine for sensitive skin depends upon your commitment to help us better understand your skin.

Updated: 06/17/2022

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