The different factors which influence the skin’s condition
(Taking both the endogeneous and exogeneous factors into consideration). Endogeneous factors comprise, for example, the genetic make-up of a particular skin-type or a skin disease which originates from a genetic disposition, such as neurodermititis. In contrast to the premature aging of the skin resulting from exogeneous factors, a biological endogeneous aging of the skin is genetically defined. The following characteristics are indicative of this:
- Decreasing cell regeneration/renewal capacity
- Reduced secretion of transpiration
- Hardening of the connective tissue resulting in reduced water-retention capability
- Degeneration of the elastic fibres
For a person with this type of biological disposition, a stressful (psychological) event or situation might trigger a serious change in the skin condition. The influence of hormones can have a huge physiological impact. Acne suffered during puberty can therefore be associated with hormonal fluctuation.
External, or exogeneous factors are mostly related to the environment. These include:
- The formation of free radicals, particularly through UV rays and tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Sensitivity to aggressive substances such as alkalines
- Air temperature and humidity
Free radicals are formed through intensive exposure to UV rays, various environmental poisons, drugs, tobacco and alcohol, the ozone layer, certain food-stuffs and circulatory disorders resulting from a generally poor diet. They trigger oxidative processes in the body’s tissue, leading to damage within the cells interior and to the cell membrane. In the epidermis, free radicals are mainly formed due to exposure of the skin to UV rays. Years of unprotected exposure can lead to chronic light-damage and with it, premature aging of the skin.
The skin’s natural capacity to neutralise alkaline can also be challenged through constant use of pH neutral or alkaline-based care and cleaning substances. The result is a drying out of the skin and potential vulnerability to skin infection. Young children and older people display a lesser physiological buffering capacity of the skin and should be particularly careful when handling cleaning fluids.
Showering too often and for too long in hot water can also contribute to a loss of the body’s own natural moisture and lipids. The skin dries out and becomes rough. The skin reacts to cold through a narrowing of the main blood vessels to protect the body against losing too much heat. Continuous exposure to the cold reduces the secretion of sebum and hereby causes the skin to dry out.
In the sauna or in an air-conditioned room, the sweat-glands produce more transpiration than normal, which quickly evaporates in the dry air. This too can lead to the skin drying out.
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