Daily grooming is a matter of course for most people. But how much care does the skin need? There is no magic formula. However, the fact is that contact with water and detergent removes moisture from the skin and weakens its protective acid mantle. Frequent showers and baths can dry out the skin and lose its elasticity.
The ideal skin cleanser
The ideal skin cleansing should be adapted to the skin type, age, skin condition and degree of skin contamination.
If your skin is rather dry, it is advisable to take a short shower once a day and not to want to bathe. Soap or other alkaline cleansing agents should be replaced by mild, moisturizing cleansing lotions and creams called syndets, which are adapted to the pH of the skin and are less likely to attack the protective acid mantle.
Free radicals – skin cell killers
Free radicals – also called oxidants – are parts of molecules (e.g. oxygen) that occur in the body and have become highly reactive due to external influences such as nicotine, air pollutants or heavy metals.
This means that they are constantly looking for other chemical substances with which they can make a connection. They attack collagen, the cell membrane and the lipid layer of the skin.
The body normally protects the cells against these attackers with highly active molecular compounds – called radical scavengers or antioxidants. If these substances are not available in sufficient numbers or if free radicals increase, the cells are destroyed and those that survive cannot regenerate quickly enough and age prematurely. These processes are particularly evident on the skin: accelerated skin ageing, early wrinkles and tired, sagging skin.
Hope from the crucible and the pot
With promises such as “active cell”, “moisturizing”, “nourishing”, “pore refining”, “vitalizing”, the cosmetics industry generates billions of euros in sales every year. But there is no miracle cure that makes you look young forever. However, with a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and targeted and consistent care, the signs of ageing can be delayed.
A day cream is used to protect the skin from dehydration and pollutants. To do this, the cream must provide moisture and fat and support the skin in storing these substances. Since UV radiation is one of the skin’s most aggressive enemies, the day cream must also contain a UV filter with a sun protection factor of at least four.
The night cream has the task of supporting the skin in recovery and regeneration and must therefore contain a lot of nutrients and moisture.
How do skin care products work?
- Many substances in skin care products are known by name, but what is behind the name is often unknown. Here is a list of common active ingredients:
- AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) are natural fruit and lactic acids from grapes, apples, olives, lemons and milk. They can penetrate the skin particularly well and accelerate cell renewal. The skin is fresher and smoother. They can have a beneficial effect on the collagen in the connective tissue. Due to their powerful irritant effects, higher doses of AHA acids can only be used by experienced beauticians.
- Antioxidants are mainly found in moisturizers, make-up and sun creams. These vitamins – beta-carotene, vitamins C and E – are said to neutralize free radical damage that causes sun, pollutants and cigarette smoke.
- Beta-hydroxy acids are closely related to AHAs, the best known of which is salicylic acid. It has a peeling effect and removes blackheads.
- Ceramides are lipids used in skin creams. They are an important building material in the fat of the stratum corneum and form a protective film that makes the skin more resistant.
- Enzymes are mainly found in moisturizers and masks. Enzyme-based exfoliating substances are natural active ingredients that gently and thoroughly remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin without damaging or irritating living cells.
- The hyaluronic acid is an active ingredient that the body makes itself. It can store a lot of moisture. Hyaluronic acid care products are suitable for mature and dry skin.
- Collagen/elastin are important elements of the skin’s support structure, making them elastic and supple. Creams and masks containing collagen can moisturize the skin surface.
- The liposomes are so fine that they can penetrate deeper layers of the skin and carry active ingredients such as collagen.
- Panthenol / Pro-Vitamin B5 is a special form of vitamin B5. It can store moisture. It has a calming effect on skin irritations and sunburn and is therefore included in many skin care products and after-sun lotions.
- Retinol (vitamin A), found in a number of moisturizers, is thought to oxidize to retinoic acid on the skin. This, in turn, is intended to delay or reverse some of the signs of aging by exposure to light.
- The oxygen in skin care products is believed to stimulate cell activity and renewal on the skin’s surface. The best way to get oxygen to your skin is to take a brisk walk.
- Urea – urea – is one of the active ingredients that can bind moisture and promote healing.