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Skin: Everything you want to know

A crucial step in our skincare routine. But why?

Everything you always wanted to know about your skin but were too afraid to ask. Like, is there a difference between facial and body skin?

Estrogen decreases collagen synthesis but supports the presence of hyaluronic acid in the skin. This is why women have thinner, more delicate skin, but a softer plumper texture.

The skin found at the face region is thinner than the rest of the body. This is why lotions for the face are applied differently to those for other body parts. It is however important to note that the eyelids require a different eye cream unique from the rest of the face due to the thin nature of the eyelids. On the other hand, the skin found on the bottom of the foot is normally thick due to the body weight it carries around.

There are also some differences between the hair follicles. The hair follicles found on the face are normally of very high density although they appear to be thin or fine. As for the rest of other body parts, the hair density varies from part to part; the hair on the back of the body and feet have relatively less density of hair as compared to the head is extremely dense. Extreme blockage of the hair follicles of the face is what contributes to development of acne.

The oil glands present in the face are responsible for lubricating the face and they have anti-bacterial functions that protect the face from bacterial infection. It is the presence of these oil glands that makes the face oilier than the rest of the body. This also explains why it is not advisable to wash your face too often and lotions designed for the body are too oily compared to the face.

Are there differences between male and female skin?

Male hormones (testosterone) cause more active sebaceous glands, this explains why men tend to have oilier skin. Testosterone also increases collagen production and is also the reason that males have thicker skin than women. Estrogen decreases collagen synthesis but supports the presence of hyaluronic acid in the skin. This is why women have thinner, more delicate skin, but a softer plumper texture.

The collagen content of male skin reduces at a constant rate. Female skin is affected later in life, especially after the menopause. Female skin then thins more dramatically. The effects however are more pronounced in the male skin starting at an earlier age especially in male that are exposed to UV radiation in the outdoors.

What role do hormones play in skin aging?

Hormones are supposed to send the right signals to your skin. When they fluctuate or rapidly decline, your skin is affected. The hormone changes can make you appear older.

Some hormonal changes that could happen:

-Decrease of Estrogen:

The biggest cause of sagging skin and loss of hydration among women is declining estrogen. There are several types of estrogen, but in general, they encourage cells called fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin.

With a sudden drop in estrogen, the skin appears thin, shallow, and saggy. Most notably, fine lines will turn into deep wrinkles. The areas around the eyes and lips will droop slightly and lose firmness. Your skin will also not look as vibrant because less blood flow enters the skin.

-Increase of Testosterone:

Your body keeps a delicate balance between estrogen and testosterone.

Testosterone stimulates the sebum (oil) producing glands, which are important in protecting your skin with natural oils.

Sometimes hormone changes will lead to a sudden increase in testosterone. If the balance of estrogen and testosterone is unregulated, it leads to adult acne. If your skin is too oily, you might be dealing with a rise in testosterone.

-Decrease of Thyroid hormone:

When there is less circulating thyroid hormone, the skin will become chronically dry and brittle. It may also feel cold to the touch and appear pale.

Why does older skin have age spots?

Photo damage and UV-generated reactive oxygen species (ROS) events lead to most of the typical tissue structure changes and symptoms of chronic photo damage of the skin. Wrinkling and pigmentary changes are directly associated with premature photo-aging.

From the age of 30 onward the skin is also less able to regenerate from sun exposure, and age spots starts to appear, particularly in those who have been exposed to the sun throughout their lives.

What can be done to help the appearance of aging skin?

Sun protection forms the foundation of every anti-aging skin-care plan. The sun’s rays make our skin age more quickly. We have so much evidence that the sun prematurely ages our skin.

- Avoid indoor tanning. Tanning beds and sun lamps expose you to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. These rays accelerate skin aging.

-Apply moisturizer every day. As we age, skin becomes drier. Fine lines and wrinkles appear. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. For best results, use a facial moisturizer, body moisturizer, and lip balm.

- Wash your face with warm water and a mild cleanser rather than soap, two times a day.

- Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke contains toxins that can lead to smoker’s face. Signs of smoker’s face include dull and dry complexion, loss of skin’s firmness, premature lines and wrinkles, and leathery skin.

- Eat healthy foods. A healthy diet promotes healthy skin. Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

- Get enough sleep. It’s called beauty rest for a reason. Sleep gives your body time to refresh and renew itself.

- Include anti-aging skin care products in your daily routine

- Include laser therapies, Botox and fillers to improve the appearance of aging skin.

What can be done to improve the barrier function of aging skin?

A healthy and functioning skin barrier is important protector against dehydration, penetration of various microorganisms, allergens, irritants, reactive oxygen species and radiation. The skin barrier may be specifically adjusted to allow penetration. For this reason daily skin care may increase skin regeneration, elasticity, smoothness, and as a result temporarily change the skin condition.

Another integral approach preventing wrinkle formation is the regular use of sunscreens.

What are the benefits of using topical antioxidants and anti-aging products?

The antioxidants, such as vitamins, polyphenols and flavonoids, reduce collagen deprivation.

The anti-aging products, such as retinols, peptides and growth factors (GF), have direct effects on collagen metabolism and influence collagen production.

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