The Different Skin-types
Four main skin-types can be distinguished and can also be referred to as skin conditions, depending on the context.
1. Normal Skin
Normal skin conditions are known as eudermie. Normal skin generally has small pores, good blood-circulation, a rosy tint to it and is of an even transparency. It is neither too oily nor too dry and rarely causes problems. Endogeneous and exogeneous factors can, however, have a considerably negative impact on this skin-type.
2. Dry Skin
Dry skin can be identified by flaky, often itchy areas which can cause the skin’s surface to feel tight. The skin looks generally rough and patchy and, in exceptional cases shows signs of premature aging.
3. Oily Skin
This skin-type displays enlarged pores, often containing blackheads. The skin has a shiny appearance, is uneven in transparency and often looks pale and yellowish.
4. Combination Skin
Where the forehead, chin and nose are often oily in appearance, the cheeks, appear normal to dry.
Dry and Sensitive Skin
A typical indication of dry skin is a reduced moisture content. If the moisture content of the outermost skin layer sinks to under 8-10 percent, the skin becomes hard and cracked. With the facial skin being so exposed to the elements, it tends to lose more moisture than other areas.
The outermost layer takes its moisture from water in lower layers of skin and through normal transpiration. If the skin is lacking in natural moisturizer or is exposed to extreme weather conditions, it loses a disproportional amount of moisture. This results in the skin becoming dry and tight and it often hardly responds to rich creams.
Once the body’s own moisture is no longer sufficient to lubricate the skin effectively, the skin loses its silkiness and with it, its protective quality and becomes dry and cracked. The barrier function can no longer fulfil its task properly and the skin is therefore exposed to external exogeneous influences and suffers an even greater loss of moisture.
In treating dry skin, it is important to not only to moisturise, but also to add natural moisture retaining elements such as amino acids, for example. These hygroscopic substances (i.e. substances able to draw moisture from the air) can supply appropriate doses of moisture to the skin over the long term.
Oil-free Sensitive Skin
Not to be confused with skin requiring a moisture supplement, the oil-free skin exhibits a need for an increase in lipids. Particularly during the cleansing process, the skin is overloaded with cleansing substances and soaps, and suffers the loss of valuable lipids. The epidermal lipids are essential to the barrier function of the skin as they hold the outermost skin cells together.
Loss of lipids leads to a dry, rough and flaky skin. Oil-free facial skin tends to display an undesired, premature build-up of wrinkles, lines and macular pigmentation. Furthermore, the skin loses its silkiness and the barrier function is weakened. Both factors together allow for the penetration of harmful substances. An increased loss of moisture can also be seen. Oil-free skin can be treated with individual, skin-specific lipid-types. Ceramides, cholesterol, free, unsaturated fatty acids and amino acids such as l-glutamin and l-carnitine also play an important role here.
Dry skin is a wide-spread phenomenon and a large and, in fact, increasing share of the population (approx. 15-20%) suffers from it. It occurs particularly in children under 10 years and older people over 60. Between the ages of 10 and 60 years, the percentage of women with dry skin is distinctly higher than in men.
There are different causes and levels of severity of dry skin, ranging from mild through to pathological cases. It is not always possible to make a strong differentiation. However, it is generally possible to distinguish between problematic and extremely dry skin. In both cases, the problem originates from a lack of natural moisture retaining elements, in particular urea and amino acids.
Problematic Dry Skin
Characteristics of problematic dry skin include mild flakiness, a rough appearance and a feeling of tightness sometimes accompanied by itchiness. One main cause of problematic dryness is the diminished capacity of the skin to retain moisture, due to a reduced available concentration of natural moisture retainers such as epidermal lipids and amino acids.
With the reduction in amino acids, particularly of arginine and glutamine, urea is formed as part of the keratinisation of cells. Problems in the keratinisation process can lead to a lack of these amino acids, particularly arginine, which, by default results in a distinctly reduced concentration of urea, meaning the natural moisture-retaining function is weakened. In comparative studies, around a 50 percent lower concentration of urea was found in problematic skin than in healthy skin. Such a lack of natural moisture-retaining elements (particularly amino acids) leads to an increased lack of moisture in the skin.
By using a treatment containing amino acids, the balance of the natural moisture-retaining element urea can be effectively restored. The skin can thus increase its capacity to draw and retain moisture and the skin’s condition is improved or can even be normalised.
Extremely Dry Skin
Cases of extremely dry skin occur mainly in old age or, primarily, through the intensive drying out of the hands, manifesting itself in a rough, cracked, hardened, flaky and often itchy appearance.
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