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This book was inspired by a passion for skin care, science, the history of the cosmeceutical industry, and almost two decades of treating patients with cosmeceutical products. Its goal is to help the reader understand the history of cosmeceutical ingredients, the science behind them, as well as the challenges of using them in a skin care regimen, and learn how to choose what type of ingredients are appropriate for various Baumann Skin Types®. This book is meant to dispel myths and misperceptions about what certain ingredients can and cannot do. It provides an unbiased, brand-agnostic approach to the subject. (I work for almost all of the companies and I do not have my own skin care line.) It will explain the various studies on the ingredients and provide detailed references so that the reader can go back and read the original study if they have doubts. It is divided into sections to help the reader classify ingredients in a simple manner; however, some ingredients work for more than one purpose. For this reason, we have provided two “Table of Contents”: One is by type of ingredient such as cleanser, moisturizer, or antiaging agent, and the second is in alphabetical order by ingredient. As I am a dermatologist and not a formulator, this book does not attempt to teach you how to formulate skin care products, but instead helps you know what ingredients should work for various types of skin and why. In other words, we provide the ingredients, but we do not provide the recipe. In order to understand how this book came about and the passion that went into writing it, one must understand the history of my career as a cosmetic dermatologist.

In 1997, when I was asked by William Eaglstein, MD, Chairman of the prestigious Department of Dermatology at the University of Miami, to become the Director of the country’s first Division of Cosmetic Dermatology, I was skeptical at first. At that time, Botox and hyaluronic acid dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm had not yet been approved by the FDA and there was not much scientific research supporting skin care products (with the notable exception of the individual work by Drs. Albert Kligman, Jim Leyden, Sheldon Pinnell, and Eugene Van Scott). Dr. Eaglstein and my other mentor, Dr. Francisco Kerdel, knew of my passion for skin care science and my love of the history of the cosmetic skin care industry. I collected vintage cosmetic advertisements, face powders, soaps, and even an old tin of Burt’s Bees furniture polish. I cherished books written by industry pioneers such as Helena Rubenstein, Elizabeth Arden, Mary Kay, Estée Lauder, and Charles Revson. I was 30 years old, with lots of energy, and was willing to accept the challenge. Drs. Eaglstein and Kerdel explained that they had heard about a new product called “Botox” and thought “it might cause changes in the dermatology industry, and increase interest in in-office cosmetic procedures and skin care.”

To put it into perspective, “skin care lectures” at that time consisted of subjective opinions and little data. Companies just were not spending money and effort on researching their products for efficacy, and few dermatologists sold skin care products. Rodan and Fields had recently launched Proactiv and changed the way people thought about acne treatments and proved that there was money to be made in the acne skin care business. I decided to join those rising to the challenge of raising the bar of cosmetic science and founded the Division of Cosmetic Dermatology. Soon thereafter, our department became the leading center for cosmetic dermatology research, performing the research trials that led to FDA approval of Botox, Dysport, Hylaform, Juvéderm, Sculptra, Voluma, Tri-Luma, and many other products and procedures. I began studying cosmetic skin care products for over 50 companies such as Elizabeth Arden, Unilever (Ponds and Dove), Johnson and Johnson (Neutrogena, Aveeno, Roc), and L’Oréal and served on numerous advisory boards and committees. My vintage compact collection grew as did my experience and knowledge.

In 2001, I began writing a monthly column called “Cosmeceutical Critique” on cosmetic ingredients for Skin and Allergy News, a journal for dermatologists. I still write this column and it can be found online. In 2002, I published the first textbook devoted to cosmetic dermatology, Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice (McGraw-Hill), which has been translated into several languages and is the bestselling cosmetic dermatology book in the world. In 2004–2005, I developed a skin typing system used to divide patients into 16 unique “Baumann Skin Types®” that are used to properly match ingredients and products to skin type. This system resulted in a New York Times bestselling book The Skin Type Solution (Bantam, 2005) and a PBS Special of the same name in 2010. During this time, I ran a busy cosmetic dermatology clinic and saw 6,000 to 7,000 Botox and filler patients a year – all of whom were put on customized skin care regimens using the skin typing system. Doctors around the world began using the Baumann Skin Typing System in their practices and giving us data and feedback. The skin typing system is described in Chapter 1 of this book and in several leading textbooks and multiple publications in the fields of dermatology, plastic surgery, and facial plastic surgery.

In 2009, my team developed, a website that allows people to register to try various skin care products and provide an unbiased opinion. This online survey system, my live clinical research trials, and my busy clinical practice, allowed me to test different ingredients on the various Baumann Skin Types and identify which ingredients worked best in each setting. I was able to test and “type” tens of thousands of skin care products around the world. The “SkinIQ” quiz that was developed in 2003–2005 was tested on hundreds of thousands of people online and in dermatologic practices around the world. In 2009–2010, we found that when the Baumann Skin Typing System was used in dermatology practices to prescribe skin care products, product return rates were significantly lowered and patient outcomes were improved.

By 2012, my Yahoo blog at had over 3 million readers – many of whose comments revealed that there was still much misinformation about skin care science and people just did not know who or what to believe. It seemed that all of the “experts” had something to sell, and even dermatologists were getting confused. I realized that dermatologists did not have the time in their busy schedules to adequately educate their patients on the multiple important details of skin care. That year, we launched STS Franchise System, LLC, a turn-key skin care retail solution for medical practices that identifies and tests products from around the world and matches them to the 16 Baumann Skin Types.

All of these activities and experiences led to the knowledge that there is no unbiased encyclopedic reference of cosmeceutical ingredients that helps aestheticians, skin care specialists, and doctors properly match cosmeceutical ingredients to skin type.

After 14 years of writing my monthly column on cosmeceutical ingredients for dermatologists and researching skin care products for the STS Franchise system, I decided to put all of my ingredient knowledge together in one place. Thanks to my managing editor Edmund Weisberg, we were able to rewrite and update the “Cosmeceutical Critique” columns, add new chapters, and organize them into a manageable structure. This project has been a labor of love and the book is much longer than originally planned because I just could not stop adding ingredients. I had to choose my favorite ingredients because of space constraints, so not all ingredients are included. I hope that whether you are a doctor, aesthetician, nurse, cosmetic scientist, skin care retailer, or a lover of skin care technology and science that this book will help you understand the fascinating science of cosmeceuticals. We have set up a YouTube channel at and will post videos to supplement some of the information in this book and keep you up to date.

My goal with this book is to empower you to understand cosmeceutical science so that you can decipher marketing claims and make better skin care decisions for your patients, your clients, your family, and yourself.

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