The condition of our skin

What determines the skin’s condition?

hands, aging, generationsWe don’t speak about facial landscapes for nothing, particularly when looking at older people in photos with weathered skin. You can tell that the person has laughed and suffered and can recognise if the person has worked a lot. Pale, pasty faces make it known that somebody has continually lived indoors, where hardly any sunlight can penetrate through. A person’s diet is also often reflected in the skin. Not enough drinking water leads to enlarged pores. Alcohol abuse increases vessels and over the long-term causes alcohol-related acne. Fatty foods lead to obesity and flawed skin.  A lack of nutrients and amino acids ages the skin prematurely and makes it saggy. Our skin is a reflection of everything that we do, neglect, eat and drink. It also reflects our stress levels and the way in which we live.

Hormones have an effect on the skin

The extent of the influence the skin has is rarely made known to us. The genes determine the skin type, pigmentation and condition already from inside the womb. Even skin illnesses which later develop could be genetically predisposed, such as neurodermititis. The hormones also influence the firmness of the skin and the metabolism for example. Antibiotics, hormone-like pesticides and fattening agents which are consumed with food can significantly influence their effects. On top of this are the effects of stress hormones and medication such as the contraceptive pill. The end product of all metabolic processes can damage or benefit the skin. To a certain extent the skin also has a disposal function. Oily skin and spots in puberty are due to hormones. As we age, hormonal imbalance causes dry and chapped skin, as well as wrinkles. Beauty products from the cosmetics industry have to be designed in such a way as to combat this.

Irritant substances damage the skin

Mechanical stimulation can also be visible on the skin in the form of pressure marks, abrasions, cuts, scars, blisters or bruises for instance. The effects toxins, pollution or die skin-irritating substances have on the skin are often overlooked and should not be underestimated. Chronic itchy rashes can be caused by dry skin, but also by fragrances and household chemicals. Other substances attack the protective acidic layer or have a negative impact on the acidic-alkali balance.

Even botox and facelifts are in a sense a form of mechanical stimulation which on the one hand can iron out wrinkles, but on the other hand can paralyse nerves, leave behind scars or make the face increasingly stiff as a consequence. It is therefore debatable as to whether this is the best long-term concept for anti-aging. Of the irritants which have an effect on the upper skin layers, a difference is made between strong and weak irritants. In the first group are substances such as acids, alkalis or solvents, as well as flammable materials, where the skin’s reaction would be displayed immediately. If the skin comes into contact with weaker irritants, it can take from a short while up to many years for the skin to react to them. Chemical cleaning products, oils and fats, weaker solvents, but also scented soaps, shampoos, cosmetics or fragrances can cause acute and chronic rashes. If we add allergens to this list, we realise they completely vary in nature. Whether you get chronic urticaria (nettle rash), preliminary stages of skin cancer or a contact allergy depends on many different factors.

It all depends on the climate

Climate, UV rays, relaxationThe fact that the climate, the environment and the level of air pollution have an influence on the skin seems logical. Cold and heat, humidity or dryness, good or contaminated  air or UV rays have an effect on the skin cells and consequently on the formation of wrinkles and the elasticity of the skin. The same applies for our lifestyle and our diet. An unhealthy lifestyle and diet certainly leave their marks on the skin. Adding to this a lack of hygiene and the wrong type of skin care. Last, but not least, we have to say that our emotional state can be seen from the state of our skin. We appear ashen, thin-skinned or flushed. We do just simply have to put up with some of the aforementioned influences. With others though, we can minimise this influence. One of the easiest ways is to benefit the skin is to improve our way of living. We need to consume enough fluids, be aware of the risks of sun exposure and make sure we have the necessary vitamins, minerals and trace elements at our disposal for instance.