The skin plays an essential role not only in protecting the body against external factors but also in the aesthetic and emotional definition of a person. The skin is like a mirror that shows the health and vitality of the body, it breathes, reflects emotions, secretes sebum, secretes toxins from the body and reacts according to the person's condition. The skin is a shield that protects the body from external aggressions - pollution, UV rays, cold, wind, smoke, chemicals and manifests itself according to internal changes - hormones, fatigue, pregnancy, avitaminosis, malnutrition, various hormonal, emotional, food related imbalances. We can consider the skin as a screen, an instrument of communication and persuasion, a means of expression.
Skin type can vary over time depending on age, diet, the condition and functioning of the hormonal system, genetic predisposition, but also reflects the person's lifestyle. The history of a person's behavior over time puts its mark on the appearance and condition of the skin and especially on the face.
The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin, and acts as a barrier against the aggression of environmental factors. This layer is composed mainly of keratinocytes, their interior is a protein called keratin. Once in the stratum corneum, keratinocytes detach from the surface of the skin, a process called exfoliation. The epidermis also contains melanocytes, that give color and are responsible for tanning, and cells of the immune system. The outer part of the epidermis is the stratum corneum of flattened keratinocytes known as corneas. This layer, which plays a key role in protecting and keeping the skin hydrated, is constantly renewed by exfoliation.
The dermis is located just below the epidermis and is made up of connective tissue. It acts as a support layer for the epidermis. There are several types of connective tissue in the body, each with a specific function, such as collagen that gives the skin strength, glycosaminoglycans that retain water in the skin and elastin fibers that underlie the elastic properties of the skin. The dermis contains many blood vessels that provide food for the epidermis. It also contains sweat glands at the base of the hair that are responsible for sweating, and sebaceous glands responsible for sebum secretion.
The hypodermis or the subcutaneous adipose tissue is the deepest layer of the skin. This layer is rich in fats (adipocytes) and blood vessels. Its role is as a thermal insulator, protects the body from temperature fluctuations and keeps the skin stretched.
Determined by genetic inheritance, skin color is due to melanin, a pigment produced by melanocytes. Depending on the size and distribution of melanosomes and depending on the amount and nature of pigments in melanosomes, the skin will be lighter or darker in color and will have various shades of pink, yellow, cream or olive.
Melanin production increases during sun exposure, the color of the skin and especially the uncovered parts, therefore depend on the season and lifestyle (time spent outdoors).
In general, the skin has a pH between 4 and 7. The pH of the skin varies slightly depending on the area, the acidity is more pronounced in the armpits and intimate mucous membranes, and differs slightly depending on age. The pH of normal skin is slightly acidic.
Hygiene and care products, cosmetics, have a significant role in influencing the pH of the skin, so it is important to consistently resort to the application of appropriate compositions.
Before applying any kind of cosmetic product, in order for it to be suitable, it is necessary to determine the type of skin and the current condition of the skin. The complete examination of the skin from a cosmetic point of view can be done at a specialist and involves - in addition to the findings that can be made at home - procedures beyond self-diagnosis, such as examination with magnifying glasses, lamps and special equipment; of course, an experienced specialist is needed for the correct interpretation of the data. In general, the skin type of the face is the same as that of the body.
In appearance, the skin may be dull or shiny, smooth or scaly, with dilated or barely visible pores. The examination can best be done with a magnifying mirror. The rendering of wrinkles will be analyzed, whether they are superficial, expressive or deep; if they are age-appropriate or early, if they are natural for age, if they are due to loss of elasticity or are a result of dehydration and/or malnutrition. The coloration may be normal and uniform or may be irregular, with spots; it is influenced by the thickness of the stratum corneum, insufficient/excess blood irrigation, pigmentation (spots, melasma, hyperpigmentation, inflammation). It is important to observe aesthetic imperfections: freckles, rosacea, scars, vascular or hormonal imperfections. The degree of biological wear of the skin will be analyzed, whether or not the condition and appearance of the skin is in accordance with the age.
Examination by palpation
On superficial palpation , the epidermis and dermis are examined, feeling the granulation, elasticity and resistance. It will be noted if it has a fine grain and is smooth, velvety or if it has an irregular grain or if it is rough. With a light pressure with the pulp of the middle finger in various areas, it can be seen whether the skin is elastic, firm or flabby. Deep palpation shows the degree of hydration of the skin, the tonicity and thickness of the adipose tissue, the adhesion to the deep layers, the activity of the sebaceous glands, etc. Hydration: hold the skin under the lower eyelid and form a vertical crease; if the water is insufficient then the crease persists for a while. Thickness: grasp a crease with your index finger and thumb next to your chin and roll. Tonicity and adhesion: grab with the pulp of the five fingers a crease in the area near the chin, but also in various other areas, and lengthen; grab a crease of the skin between the index and middle finger, lengthen and release; the skin is caught between the thumb and the forefinger or it is struck slightly upwards with the back of the phalanges, observing a tone with firm skin or a diminished tone with flabby skin.
Determining the skin type
A few days before, even a week before this procedure, solutions that dry the skin, strong astringents, stripping hygiene products and chemical peels should not be applied. In the morning, the face should be cleaned and washed with lukewarm water and a gentle gel or cleanser (preferably free of glycerin or other moisturizers) and then rinsed thoroughly. 3-4 hours after cleansing, the skin regains its standard characteristics. Apply a cigarette paper to the skin in different areas of the cheek. Then hold the sheet to the light. If the area is oily, the paper will be stained. If the area has normal skin then the paper adheres easily to the skin but does not stain. If the skin is dry then the sheet does not adhere or stain. This operation can also be done with a thin paper towel, which is applied to the entire face, pressed lightly and then analyzed. With this procedure it will be possible to determine if the skin is oily (the whole face leaves marks on the napkin), if it is mixed (some areas stain the napkin) or if it is normal or dry (does not leave marks on the napkin). If it is dry, the skin may feel tight or may even show scaling in some areas.
Determining the degree of acidity of the skin
The degree of acidity can only be determined electrometrically, with the help of a special device. In the evening, the skin will be cleansed and washed with a gentle cleansing gel. The examination is done in the morning, on an empty stomach. A normal complexion should be slightly acidic, with an average pH value between 5.5-6. Oily skin is alkaline, has a value of over 6, and dry skin has a pH of less than 5.5.
Wood lamp exam
The Wood lamp is a lamp equipped with a device that emits UV radiation. The procedure aims at skin transparency (fluorescence). Normal skin has a purplish fluorescence. Hydrated skin has an intense fluorescence. Dehydrated skin has poor fluorescence. Skin with a developed stratum corneum has whitish fluorescence. Low keratinized skin has dark fluorescence.
Any skin type (normal, mixed, oily, dry) can be sensitive/reactive, may have acne tendencies (specific oily skin problem) or be dehydrated. Some problems occur cumulatively, for example a mixed skin that is sensitive and with acne tendencies at the same time. Establishing a care routine is a more difficult process in these situations.
Any skin type can suffer from diseases such as rosacea, seborrhea, dermatitis, fungal infections, various infections or inflammations. If you have a skin condition, the diagnosis must be made by a specialist and the causes must be identified to determine the appropriate internal and external treatment, before applying inappropriate cosmetic preparations, which can do more harm than good.
The skin type can change over time and depends on a number of internal and external factors. The care must be adapted to the current type and condition of the skin, adaptation may be needed depending on the season.
In principle, the skin, regardless of the type, needs the same basic ingredients, the care routine is a similar scheme, what differs essentially is the concentration of ingredients, the consistency of the cosmetic compositions.