Skin care

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Skin care

The aim of skin care is to keep the skin smooth, healthy and youthful so as to ensure that it can fulfil its proper function.

Functions

The skin performs the following important functions:

  • protection from (harmful) external influences such as intrusion of pathogens, micro-organisms and ultraviolet radiation.
  • maintaining the balance between bodily fluids and body temperature.

There is hardly any difference between healthy adults and babies or infants in this respect. For people suffering from skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis the same guidelines are applicable, though minor differences may occur.

Guidelines for skin care

There are three major guidelines in skin care:

  • Avoid sunlight: Ultraviolet sunlight (including sunbed light!) deteriorates the connective tissue. The connective tissue and elastin in the skin become crumbly when the skin is exposed to the sun. At a young age, the connective tissue cells are still able to compensate for the degradation. But in middle age these cells are no longer able to keep up with the degradation induced by ultraviolet light, the skin becomes less firm and wrinkles begin to emerge. In addition to wrinkling the sun also causes pigmentation and skin cancer. Frequent exposure to sunlight at a young age will cause more problems in later years. So avoid exposure to direct sunlight and preferably wear protective clothing to protect the skin. When exposure to the sun is unavoidable, use moisturizers and suntan lotions with a high sun protective factor (SPF).
  • Don’t smoke: Like ultraviolet light smoking has a negative impact on the elastin in the skin. The toxins in tobacco smoke accelerate the degradation of the connective tissue and they reduce the firmness of the skin. Moreover, the circulation of the skin deteriorates by smoking. This is hardly conducive to the quality of the skin. Smoking further often causes an unhealthy complexion and it also increases the risk of skin cancer.
  • Prevent dehydration of your skin: A dehydrated skin causes loss of fluids through the epidermis. Dehydration can occur when using soap. Soap removes the protective fatty layer that is created by the sebaceous glands. Particularly soap in combination with hot water has a strong degreasing effect on the skin. Any dry environment (dry freezing cold outside, central heating indoors) can also further dehydration of the skin. Dehydration causes superficial wrinkling in the face. For people prone to eczema dehydration often increases the risk of eczema, redness and itching. Luckily, the effects of dehydration are largely reversible. Therefor refrain from using too much soap, avoid bubble baths, and use a good skin moisturizer or ointment.

Which moisturizer?

Keep in mind that any moisturizer that prevents dehydration also prevents the formation of fine wrinkles, regardless of additions, composition and price of the product. Expensive products often have a more subtle structure and perfume but they are not necessarily more effective than the lower priced basic moisturizers available at any chemist’s or pharmacy. It is best to choose a moisturizer that appeals to you personally. Compare several samples of various products. These are often distributed by cosmetics firms, also via the internet. If required, a doctor may prescribe creams or ointments to prevent dehydration or to protect the skin.

Skin Form Effect Preparations
Wet skin Zinc oxide in various basic preparations Absorbed into the skin Zinc oxide cream
Water or watery solution Absorbed into the skin Water or saline solution
Cream Neutral Cetomacrogol cream or Lanette cream
Nurturing cream Hydrating Vaseline cetomacrogol cream, Vaseline Lanette cream
Ointment Hydrating Cold cream
Dry skin Greasy ointment Super hydrating Cetomacrogol ointment, Lanette ointment, Vaseline, Vaseline / liquid paraffin

Author

The first version of this article was written by Simone van Hattem.

Keywords

Skin care

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