Skin and care

Our last lecture in the "Skin health" series for this year was on the topic of "Skin and care". Dermatologist Dr. Lea-Sophie Stahl showed how we can care for our skin with its different needs.

Basically, the foundation of skin care is based on cleansing and caring for the skin. Over the course of the day, a film of sebum, sweat, skin flakes and also deposits of dirt, germs and substances from the environment forms on the skin. The skin must be regularly cleansed of this and then cared for so that it can continue to protect our body.

When searching for suitable products, you will find an unmanageably large range for different skin types with different requirements and ingredients.
What do I choose?

The skin has different needs at different ages.
Baby skin, for example, is much thinner than adult skin.
Babies sweat much less and the activity of the sebaceous glands is lower. However, the skin surface is much larger in comparison to adult skin, which means that active ingredients in creams are absorbed much better. In addition, babies are still developing their skin's protective barrier and react more strongly to environmental influences than adults (e.g. with neonatal acne or angular dermatitis). Baby skin must not be creamed with products containing urea, for example.  

Caring for adolescent skin regularly pushes those affected to their limits. Due to hormonal changes in the adolescent body, the skin "blossoms" with blemishes and even acne, particularly on the face, back and décolleté. Inadequate care here can lead to scarring. A balanced cleansing and care regimen is advisable here, and steam baths and careful sunbathing can also help in mild cases.
Dermatologists have good products with medicinal active ingredients such as retinoids or benzoyl peroxide for acne.

Adult skin has different care requirements. Skin begins to age from the age of 30. Skin tone decreases, elastic fibers are broken down and the water and oil content of the skin decreases. Mimic wrinkles form, the skin's elasticity decreases and the skin appears "tired". The aim of skin care here is "slow aging", rehydration, UV protection and minimization of pigmentation disorders.

In addition to skin age, skin type is also important when choosing skincare products.
A basic distinction is made between dry skin, combination skin and oily skin - mixed types are possible.
With dry skin, the skin barrier is disturbed, the skin flakes, tightens and feels rough. Regular moisturizing is important here - preferably with products containing urea.
Combination skin shows a more oily area on the forehead, nose and chin, while the cheeks tend to be normal to dry. Here, skin care is a balancing act and should be adapted to the season. In winter, use oily creams for the cheeks, in summer moisturizers.
Oily skin has increased sebaceous gland activity and is prone to blemishes, but is generally more robust. Care with a higher water content is indicated here.

We differentiate between different product types for basic care:
The lotion has a higher water content (70 % water, 30 % fat), the texture is light and spreads well.
The cream has a higher fat content and is therefore richer, but still spreads well.
The ointment has a higher fat content and is more difficult to spread.
A gel contains at least 90 1TP3 of water, is easy to spread and absorbs quickly.

As a general rule, the drier the skin, the more oil should be in the basic skin care product to prevent dryness and flaking. The oilier the skin, the more moisture should be applied to counteract inflammation, redness or itching. 
Hands and feet can tolerate a firmer texture due to the thicker skin.

If I know my skin type, my skin age and the individual requirements of my skin, how do I proceed?
The basic routine includes: Cleaning - regreasing/moisturizing - protection.
Facial skin should be cleansed in the morning and evening, preferably using products with active cleansing substances. The subsequent care gives the skin back the oil and moisture that washing takes away. This interaction cleanses the skin and maintains the skin flora. Routine is important here - like brushing your teeth, skin cleansing and care should be planned into your daily routine - preferably with music and the feeling of doing something good for yourself and your skin.
The routine is important because we pursue several goals with skin care: we maintain skin protection or even regenerate the skin, we counteract environmental stress and give the skin more moisture - especially in autumn and winter. All in all, we maintain our skin health with good cleansing and care.

Depending on the skin type, an optional peeling can be used (approx. once a week) to remove skin flakes and sebum more thoroughly. Afterwards, however, the skin is particularly sensitive and should be well protected - including with sunscreen.
Medically prescribed creams, e.g. against acne, can also be applied after cleansing. The subsequent care cream serves to moisturize the skin.
Finally, a sun protection factor should be applied, especially to the face.
At any time of year, the face is exposed to the sun without protection, and sensitive skin needs sun protection, ideally integrated into individual skincare products.
The most reliable sun protection is clothing, and the intense sun at midday should be avoided. Sunscreen should have a high sun protection factor and be applied generously and daily.

A few tips on body care: daily showering is not a problem if a moisturizing/rehydrating body lotion is used. Bathing softens the skin barrier and should not be practiced more than 1 - 2 times a week for healthy skin, and only for a maximum of 10 minutes in water that is not too hot. An oil bath (Cleopatra bath) is ideal because it already has a moisturizing effect. Shower and bath products should not contain any fragrances, but should preferably contain urea or ceramide - these are the skin's own substances that it absorbs very quickly. After showering or bathing, dab the skin lightly - do not rub - and apply a skin care lotion immediately.

Skin care during pregnancy may contain urea, sunscreen and glycerine. Retonoids, BHA (beta-hydroxy acid = salicylic acid) or arbutin, on the other hand, must be clarified by a doctor.

Skin care depends on skin type, skin age, individual illnesses and the climate.
And: expensive doesn't have to be better - drugstore products adapted to individual skin needs are a very good alternative.
A daily skincare routine is important to protect or regenerate the skin barrier.
And daily sun protection is important, even in times of low sunshine.
Then our skin will be fine. ❤️

Many thanks to the dermatologist Dr. Lea-Sophie Stahl for the valuable information and thanks to all participants for their interest.

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