Perfect skin health and a perfect skincare routine are the state-of-the-art nowadays – and have always been. No matter where you are in the world. Every culture in every corner of the world has its very own tips & tricks and secrets about how to make your skin glow. I always find it very intriguing to watch those “cultural skincare hacks”, because it’s very fascinating what kind of different approach people all over the world have to the whole topic. And some ideas and treatments are rather crazy and therefore a lot of fun!
But since this isn’t a beauty blog, I won’t be getting into too much detail about this or make a “best of crazy ideas” kind of collection – if you’re interested feel free to start researching a little, it shouldn’t take you too long to stumble across said videos!
What I would like to talk about a little more instead, are the basic principles of skin structure and cell turnover – ultimately influencing your complexion, skin quality, “glow” and overall look. Because nowadays, we’re hearing so much about what your skin needs and what treatments you should be booking – nobody has time or money for all of that! Additionally, sometimes thinking about the actual purpose and use of a product or treatment before just jumping right onto the bandwagon, can go a long way! It can save your money, time and sometimes skin disasters.
First of all, the following applies to women and men. The skin is a little different and of course there are other hormonal factors coming into play depending on your sex. But the overall principles are the same. So, here are a few fun facts and conclusions:
- Your skin’s thickness and quality vary a lot between different parts of your bodies. So, don’t make the most basic mistake of treating them all the same. I would recommend using common sense here – be gentler with your skin where it feels more delicate.
- Your skin consists of three basic layers (from the outside to the inside): The epidermis for protection (cells renewal from the bottom part to the surface – the outside layer is made of dead skin cells, very compact) and cells for the sense of touch, the dermis for hydration and nutrient supply to the epidermis (made of mostly collagen type I and elastin for elasticity) and finally the subcutis which is mainly fat cells for isolation and cushioning. Side note: Too much peeling and scrubbing off of dead skin cells will weaken your skin’s natural barrier – moderation is key!
- There are dozens of types of collagen – and all of them have their own characteristics and features. It’s one of the most common proteins in the human body and can be found everywhere from skin to bones to muscles to the placenta and so on. For all the cracks among you: The structure is a triple helix and the distinctive amino acids are glycine and proline (and a lot of hydroxy groups → water). Vitamin C is a key factor for collagen synthesis. Conclusion: When looking for a collagen supplement (which you most certainly don’t need if you’re a young adult) make sure to read the label and inform yourself properly. Instead, I would focus much more on getting that vitamin C in!
- Due to the skin’s structure and function as a barrier, only very little and mostly fat-soluble substances can penetrate the skin. Consider that when blowing out money on that very expensive cream the next time. Conclusion: Opt for a inside-to-outside approach instead. That means good nutrition and lots of water!
- Hormones influence your skin quite a bit (as most women here probably already know – so, let this be one for the gents). Not only on a daily but also a monthly basis and it changes with age. This is one of the factors that’s very hard to influence – but generally living a healthy life and be smart about your food (little sugar, dairy and alcohol, lots of veggies with dark leaves) will go a long way.
And last but not least: Stress can wreak havoc on your skin. It can cause serious skin irritations and worsen already existing ones. I know it’s not always possible to be completely relaxed and rainbows and all – but just try to see it as one more argument for aiming for a less stressed lifestyle. It’s so worth it overall.
So, these are the few basics I really want you to know. And I hope it’ll not only benefit your understanding for your skin but also help you make smarter choices in terms of skincare in the future. If you’d like to know more about this topic, let me know! Also let me know whether there’s a specific aspect you’d like further explanation of!