Skin Care

Our skin is constantly exposed to many harmful environmental factors. The most important of these is UV light, which even in small doses and under an overcast sky can cause damage to the DNA, the genetic substance of the skin cells. Other environmental influences are pollution in the form of particles of “suspended dust”, e.g. industrial smoke emissions. However, this kind of soiling has been reduced in the last few decades through better emission filters. But also the pollution of the air with many kinds of carbons, especially from the exhaust gases of diesel-engined vehicles, places a heavy stress on the skin.

In view of the environmental pollution, it is advisable to clean the skin thoroughly twice a day. However, many skin cleansing products can also harm the acid protection barrier of the skin. The acid protection barrier is a complicated balance of fatty acids on the surface of the skin which protect it from environmental influences. The fatty acids are also what gives the skin its pH value. The skin should therefore always be cleaned with pH-neutral cleansing lotion or pH-neutral soap. An alternative, especially for dry and sensitive skin, are cleansing milk and syndets. This thorough cleaning of the skin can be supplemented by face lotions, preferably without alcohol. A good face lotion helps to renormalise the pH value of the skin, which tends to be changed by contact with alkaline tap water, and usually also contains skin-calming additives. In individual cases, especially for people with greasy skin, face lotions containing alcohol may also be useful.

After gentle cleansing of the skin, it is advisable to treat the skin in the morning and evening with appropriate skin care products. Which type of skin-care product should be used depends on the individual skin type, but also on lifestyle. We distinguish three main types of skin: On the one hand, there is the greasy, seborrhoic skin, which also often inclines to skin impurities or acne. On the other, there is the dry, slightly scaly skin, which often tends to wrinkle at an early age. And in between, there is the ideal type of skin type, which has neither impurities nor dryness. Unfortunately, this third type is very rare. Many people also have mixed types of skin, with a tendency to greasiness and impurities in the area of the forehead, nose and chin (the so-called T zone), combined with dry skin on the sides of the cheeks.

Day and night skin care tips for people with greasy skin

After cleansing the skin thoroughly with pH-neutral syndets and application – in the case of people with a very greasy skin – of an alcoholic face lotion, a light oil-in-water emulsion can be used for day and night care. For people with a tendency to blackheads/whiteheads and pimples, the oil content should be as low as possible and be mainly intended as a moisturiser, to reduce skin tension after cleansing.

In the summer months, even in our latitudes, people with skin types I to III should regularly apply sunscreens. Sunlight can not only cause skin cancer, but is also responsible for 90 % of the skin ageing that we find cosmetically disagreeable. Early, regular use of sunscreens in the summer months can prevent or significantly slow down much of the skin’s ageing. (See “Skin and sun”). The sun protection factors should be between 15 and 20. Products with a broad-band filter should be preferred, as they also reflect the UVA light which is primarily responsible for skin ageing.

As night-time skin care, people with greasy skin can use products with fruit acids in low concentrations. The fruit acids cause the removal of slight hornification disturbances, which promote the formation of blackheads/whiteheads; they also help to slow down the onset of age-related wrinkling.

Skin care products with fruit acids make the skin appear fresher and better supplied with blood as they remove the superficial skin scales.

Skin care tips for people with mixed-type skin

Also in this case, a pH-neutral syndet should be used for cleansing. This can then be followed by an alcohol-free face lotion to normalise the pH value. Normalisation of the pH value is important because an acidic pH value prevents the formation of skin impurities in the T zone. For daytime care, as for people with greasy skin, water-in-oil emulsions are recommended, possibly with a slightly higher oil content. In the summer months, emulsions are also advisable with sunscreen factors of 15 to 20. Also for night-time care, light oil-in-water emulsions should be used. At the first signs of skin ageing, fruit acids in a cream base can be applied. If these cause skin irritation in the form of redness and scaling on dry areas of the cheeks, retinaldehyde, a derivative of vitamin A acid, can be used instead. Like vitamin A acid and fruit acids, retinaldehyde promotes the formation of collagen, i.e. connective tissue, in the dermis and also improves water retention in the connective tissue of the dermis. This helps reduce the formation of fine wrinkles.

Skin care tips for people with dry skin

For people with dry skin, it is frequently sufficient to cleanse the skin simply with water or a cleansing lotion. Cleansing lotions are milk-like products that return grease to the skin. As dirt particles are soluble in grease, these lotions produce a good cleaning effect without drying out the skin. For further cleansing and to stabilise the pH value, an alcohol-free face lotion can then be used. For morning care, products of the water-in-oil type are recommended. As dry skin lacks certain fatty acids, certain additives, e.g. the seed oil of the evening primrose, are advisable.

A new approach to the regeneration of dry, sensitive skin is offered by a cream type with a so-called derma-membrane structure (DMS). This cream, produced using high-tech methods, is structurally different from traditional O/W and W/O emulsions, and is designed to emulate the natural lipid barrier of the skin. With phospholipids, ceramides, squalan, phytosteroles and triglycerides, it contains only skin-related lipids of vegetable origin, which because of the skin-like lamellar structure are transported into the deeper layers of the epidermis. Another advantage of DMS cream is that no artificial emulsifiers are used. The emulsifiers in conventional skin care creams (O/W or W/O type) can accumulate in the skin and, on washing, cause the skin’s own lipids to be washed out. The use of paraffin and silicon is also deliberately avoided in DMS cream . These substances can block the pores and, when used regularly, prevent the regeneration of the natural lipid barrier of the skin because of the occlusive (sealing) effect they produce.

Comparison of different structures under the electron microscope:

O/W creamLipid barrier of the skinDMS cream
O/W creamLipid barrier of the skinDMS cream