When I returned from a trip to Portugal, my skin was in catastrophic condition. I had problems with an outbreak of acne that, after proper care at home, partially subsided. Still, I had a lot of small closed comedones all over my cheeks and sides of my chin, and the texture of the skin was not exactly at its peak. For this reason, I decided to go for a deep-skincare treatment in a salon, which I have visited many times and always left satisfied. However, this time I left the salon with a burn on my cheek.

How did the skincare look?

This time, a new beautician took over my skincare. Already when cleansing makeup of my skin, she was rough. We proceeded with 10% BHA acid exfoliation, which was left on the face for about 10 min in order to open the pores. At the same time, beta hydroxy acids penetrate deeper into the skin and inside the pimples and open them. As always next step was the opening of pores with hot steam. In this way, the skin is softened, the pores are opened to make the pressing process easier.

We continued with squeezing pimples. I had the most problems in the area of ​​cheeks and chin. I’ve already had severe acne outbreaks in the same area of ​​my face, but the process has never hurt me as much as it did now. If you find the pain unrealistic or intolerable, something is wrong and you should tell your beautician to stop. It is also important not to visit a cosmetologist when you have acne, as acne should not be squeezed! Only closed comedones and blackheads can be squeezed, but not acne! If the beautician goes into acne compression, it is a sign that she is not aware of this fact and can cause serious problems.

A burn on the face due to improper use of a device that is supposed to actually benefit the skin?

The last step in the care process was high frequency therapy. High frequency therapy is used mainly because it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory effect to narrow the pores and speed up the healing process of the skin. Gauze is applied to the face and the device should not have direct skin contact. According to beauticians, the device should be kept moving at all times. You should not feel the treatment with this device, so if you are hurting or scaffolding, ask to stop the procedure. The problem with the procedure that the beautician performed on me was that the device was in contact with the gauze and, consequently, with the skin, and the fact that it was in one place for too long, causing the burn.

Did I know immediately that my beautician had damaged my skin?

When I left the salon, my skin looked normal, just like after every deep care. Minimal redness was present on the face. At the time, I thought that maybe I was just sensitive. Well, that’s what I thought until I got home after an hour and saw my skin in the mirror. Erythema was present on both left and right cheek, and they were very painful. They were so very painful that for two days I couldn’t sleep on either side of my face. After a few days, everything turned into a big burn in the middle of the cheek.

Fortunately, thanks to my education, I quickly found myself knowing how to remedy the problem, so that a few days after home care, the final version of the injury – a burn – appeared to me. The damaged area was very sensitive and did not tolerate the application of any products.

Visible eczema 3 hours after skin care in the salon on the left cheek

Significantly less visible eczema 3 hours after care on the right face

How did I repair my skin injury?

Of course, it is not necessary that damage to your skin can only be done by visiting the salon. Even home-based ‘butchering’ of pimples can quickly lead to eczema. Also, excessive use of acidic or regular scrubs can lead to burns or eczema. So that the chances of skin damage also exist at home. Firstly, it is important to eliminate inflammation and erythema / eczema, and then work on how to deal with the scar that results from this type of injury.

The scab was formed 4 days after home remediation began.

I cleansed the wound properly

The most important thing is proper skin cleansing to remove impurities from the wound. I cleaned my skin every night with a gentle water-based cleanser and rinsed it with lukewarm water as the skin did not tolerate hot water. When washing your face, only gently tap the affected areas with a towel, never drag the towel over your skin.

Disinfection of an open wound is a must!

If the wound is open, you must take extra care to properly disinfect the wound and to heal it up to the stage, when the scab is produced. Of course, we should be aware that disinfecting does not mean applying alcohol, because it can only make the skin more irritated.

I resorted to Betadine dermal solution for disinfection. It is an iodized povidone, which is also recommended after various skin surgeries. Betadine contains a complex of iodine and povidone. Povidone enables iodine transfer and water solubility. After contact with skin or mucous membranes, iodine is slowly released from the complex, which is an effective non-selective substance that destroys microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and primers) on the skin and mucous membranes or prevents their reproduction. I applied the Betadine in the morning and evening on a cotton pad and tapped the wound and allowed it to dry.

Skin healing

The next step in healing was soothing the inflammation. At the time the wound was opened and did not tolerate any cosmetic products. Anything I applied gave me an burning feeling on the wound. The only product that didn’t irritate skin was Paula’s Choice Calm Repairing Serum, which contains a combination of ceramides, amino acids and herbal extracts to soothe inflammation in the skin.

The last stage in skincare was the application of Bepanthen ointment. Bepanthen ointment promotes healing of wounds. It contains the active substance dexpanthenol (a precursor to vitamin B5) in the ointment base. After application, dexpanthenol transitions rapidly into the skin. In skin cells, it is converted to pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), which significantly affects the formation and renewal of skin epithelium, accelerates wound healing and suppresses inflammation. Bepanthen ointment is extremely oily and therefore prevents contact of the treated surface with water after application.

Due to the grease of Bepanthen Ointment, I used Skinfairytale AtopicCream or Protectbalm in the morning because it is a lighter formulation which, due to its ingredients, effectively prevents inflammation and protects the wound from external influences.

After a week of proper home care, only a small scar remained.

What to do or not to do with open wounds / burns?

Do not apply any powders or concealers to the skin at the time of such damage, as this will further introduce bacteria and irritate the skin. The wound needs to dry, so it is advisable not to stick patches or bandages over it.

Things to do or not to do with open wounds / burns:

  • Do not touch the wound with your fingers or if you touch it, make sure you have cleaned your hands beforehand
  • When the scab begins to peel, do not forcefully remove it, let it go off on its own
  • Do not apply any actives, especially acids, to accelerate the peeling process, as this only increases inflammation in the skin
  • Apply only the most essential products – that is, a disinfectant and a protection product
  • Do not expose the wound to the sun – I wanted to take advantage of the nice days and go for walks, but the skin on that part of the sun cream did not tolerate, so I applied a patch before the walk

Scar repair is a lengthy process and depends on the depth of skin damage

Once the wound has healed and the scab has peeled off, it is time to repair the scar. Whether it will remain very nasty or a very small scar depends on several factors. The first factor is how deep the injury was, so whether it is only a superficial injury or the injury already extends to the dermis. Another factor is how quickly your skin recovers, which of course depends on the ability of your skin barrier to repair the damage and on the collagen involved in repairing the skin damage. You will most effectively remove the scar with proper home care.

I myself began to repair the scar in a similar way I treated the burn. I still go for proper cleansing, I use anti-inflammatory ingredients, and I also added ingredients that enhance the skin’s barrier function and lighten scars and hyperpigmentation. After improving the condition of the burn, I added a niacinamide serum that enhances barrier function and has a luminous effect and Add Actives C20 Tetraforce Activator, which has a luminous effect and reduces the oxidative stress in the skin caused by the injury.

In the post “How do I know if my skin barrier is damaged” we looked at how the skin barrier looks, how it works and what it means to have a barrier damaged. We also mentioned that the skin itself can repair moderate damage on its own. This time we will look at what repair mechanisms our skin uses, how to repair a damaged skin barrier, what ingredients are most effective and how to use them for optimal effect.

What repair mechanisms does our skin use?

As transepidermal water loss increases, several self-repair mechanisms get triggered within the stratum corneum. The repair mechanisms used by our skin:

  • Immediate release of lipid precursors (lipid preform) into the stratum corneum, which are immediately converted to physiological lipids (such as ceramides), providing approximately 20% restoration of total barrier function.
  • Increasing the synthesis of lipid precursors and converting them into suitable lipids. Lipids are mortar that fill the empty spaces through which water is lost.
  • Increased degradation of filaggrin protein into natural humidifying factor (NMF) components. NMF components, mainly amino acids, maintain a normal level of skin moisture and reduce transepidermal water loss.
  • Increased water loss triggers an inflammatory process in the skin. The inflammatory process promotes increased keratinocyte production. Keratinocyte production increases the thickness of the epidermis and consequently reduces water loss.

So how do you heal a damaged skin barrier?

When restoring the skin barrier, one has to look at one’s own repair mechanisms of the skin, as in this way we get information on what the skin actually needs to recover.

Proper cleansing is the first step in restoring the barrier function

First, it is necessary to properly cleanse the skin with cleansing agents that are adapted for sensitive skin. Cleansing agents should not contain aggressive surfactants such as sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate. Cleansing agents should have their pH adjusted to the skin’s natural pH (between 4.5-6). The skin should not be cleaned too often, as this can further damage the barrier. If you do not use heavy sun creams, double cleansing is not necessary as it can irritate the skin even more.

Increasing skin’s moisture

It is also recommended to use a tonic as it restores the skin’s pH after washing the face with water, while contributing to additional skin moisturizing.

Care must be taken to compensate for the moisture lost through excessive transepidermal water loss. We can look closely at the skin, which itself degrades certain proteins for the production of natural moisturizing factors (NMF). So can we apply serums containing NMF components. However, to know which product to choose, we first need to look at the composition of the NMF.

NMF consists primarily of amino acids, which make up as much as 40% of the total NMF. This is followed by lactate, pyrrolidone acid, sugars, peptides, urea and so on. Glycerol and hyaluronic acid account for the smallest proportion, ie about 0.5%. Therefore, the claim that moisturizing with hyaluronic acid is most effective is not completely true. The best way to increase moisture is to use serums that contain amino acids.

Soothing inflammation

Barrier damage is usually also accompanied by an inflammatory process. Inflammation in the skin can also lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. During a damaged barrier, it is necessary to soothe inflammation in the skin with anti-inflammatory agents. You mustn’t use any cosmetically active ingredients at the time when the barrier is damaged as these can further stimulate inflammation.

The only active substance you can use is niacinamide or vitamin B3. Niacinamide has been shown to increase the synthesis of ceramide precursors and free fatty acids in vitro. Topical administration of niacinamide in subjects with xerotic skin (excessively dry skin) has shown an increase in ceramides, which is directly related to a decrease in transepidermal water loss. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Use of emollients / occlusives

Even though you are adding moisture in the form of moisturizing serums, the loss of water is still high. You have to take care and lock the moisture into the skin by using emollients or occlusions. Often mineral oils or petroleum jelly are recommended for sensitive skin, as they are completely non-allergenic and effectively prevent water loss by locking it in the skin. However, except for non-allergenicity, they do not show drastic effects and also do not help to restore the barrier.

Just as the skin tends to produce more ceramides in the event of injury, people with a damaged barrier should also seek to use ceramides. Ceramides are substances that are a natural lipid component of the skin barrier and represent up to 40% of all lipids in the skin. Namely, they represent a mortar that maintains a healthy barrier function and therefore the replacement of ceramide components is essential for barrier restoration.

Plant oils for skin barrier restoration?

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2017 looked at various plant oils and their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial activity and effect on skin barrier restoration.

Plant oil can act as an occlusive by forming a protective layer on the skin. The formation of a protective layer allows the skin to retain moisture, reducing transepidermal water loss. The study found that sunflower, coconut, argan, soy, borage, jojoba, and oat oil could help to restore barrier skin function.

Sunflower oil: Linolenic acid in sunflower oil triggers a biological response at the alpha receptor, which increases lipid synthesis. This, in turn, increases the restoration of the barrier function.

Argan oil: It has also been shown that the daily topical use of argan oil improves skin elasticity and hydration by restoring barrier function and maintaining the ability to retain water.

Soybean oil: Topical use of soybean oil extracts has been shown to reduce transepidermal water loss. This property is related to the presence of phytosterols, which have shown a positive effect on the skin barrier restoration.

Borage oil: Linoleic acid in borage oil contributes to its therapeutic effect in patients with atopic dermatitis. Topically applied borage oil has been shown to normalize the function of skin barrier function in infants and children with seborrheic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis.

Protection against UV radiation

When the barrier function of the skin is weakened, the skin’s ability to protect us from the harmful effects of UV light is also impaired. Although our skin has its antioxidant mechanisms, it does not mean it works properly when the barrier is damaged. It is important to protect ourselves with sunscreen daily and to use products containing added antioxidants. The antioxidants protect the skin from the harmful effects of reactive oxygen radicals and counteract their negative effects (eg inflammation). The negative effects of radicals are present in the skin for at least 8 hours after the last exposure to UV radiation, so it is desirable that night creams also have added antioxidants.

Sources:

  • Rosso, J. D., Zeichner, J., Alexis, A., Cohen, D., & Berson, D. (2016). Understanding the Epidermal Barrier in Healthy and Compromised Skin: Clinically Relevant Information for the Dermatology Practitioner: Proceedings of an Expert Panel Roundtable Meeting. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 9(4 Suppl 1), S2–S8.
  • Lin, T. K., Zhong, L., & Santiago, J. L. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(1), 70.
  • Elias P. M. (2008). Skin barrier function. Current allergy and asthma reports, 8(4), 299–305.
  • Denda, M. (2002). New strategies to improve skin barrier homeostasis. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 54, S123–S130.

Our skin, regardless of all external factors it conveys, is very sensitive and needs to be handled with care. Improper cleaning or overuse of the active ingredients can damage the skin and thus impair its barrier function. Damaged skin barrier can cause a whole bunch of problems.

Cheat sheet about skin structure

The skin is the largest organ in the body and covers the entire outer surface of the body. The skin is made up of three layers, namely the epidermis, dermis and subcutis, which differ greatly in their anatomy and function. The skin structure consists of a complex web that provides the body with a primary line of defense against pathogens, UV light and chemicals and mechanical damage. It also regulates the temperature and the amount of water released into the environment.

What is a skin barrier and how does it work?

The stratum corneum structure is like a brick wall in which corneocytes or ‘bricks’ are surrounded by intercellular lipids that act as a ‘mortar’ to maintain the barrier function of the skin. As long as the bricks and mortar are held together, the integrity of the skin is normal. The passage of water into and out of the skin is controlled in such a way that it retains about 13% humidity in the top layer of the skin, pathogens from the environment cannot pass into the skin, the skin has its own protective mechanisms against UV light.

Antimicrobial protection is associated with slightly acidic pH and antimicrobial peptides. Skin hydration is also crucial for maintaining the homeostasis of the skin barrier.

Source: Rosso, James Del et al. “Understanding the Epidermal Barrier in Healthy and Compromised Skin: Clinically Relevant Information for the Dermatology Practitioner: Proceedings of an Expert Panel Roundtable Meeting.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 9,4 Suppl 1 (2016): S2-S8.

What is a damaged skin barrier?

Barrier damage is a phenomenon where our bricks and mortar no longer hold together so tightly. As the the bricks and the mortar move apart, the places between them remain empty. This phenomenon is usually due to external factors such as improper skin care, skin cleansing with inadequate cleansers, exposure to various irritants, overuse of cosmetically active ingredients or low humidity.

External factors are those that can alter the barrier function of the skin and thus increase transepidermal water loss, cause protein and lipid changes in the stratum corneum, which may gradually lead to the formation of sensitive skin.

If the barrier integrity of the skin cannot be restored by its own repair mechanisms, the whole situation on skin becomes very tense. So you are constantly losing moisture from the skin, the lipid composition changes completely or becomes smaller over time, and the skin loses its elasticity due to lack of moisture. So, first, the barrier is damaged, causing the skin to become irritated, but if we do not act for a long time, the skin generally becomes more sensitive.

Source: Lee, Seung Hun et al. “An update of the defensive barrier function of skin.” Yonsei medical journal vol. 47,3 (2006): 293-306.

Why does pH affect the integrity of the skin barrier?

The most common cause of a damaged barrier is the use of cosmetics with inadequate pH. Skin pH is an essential regulator of the skin barrier. Skin pH varies between 4.5 and 6 for people with normal barrier function. Frequent and prolonged pH increases will cause the mortar and bricks to no longer stick together, causing the skin problems listed above.

How do I determine if my skin barrier is damaged?

  • The skin is dry – the skin is dry when it lacks lipids, which is seen primarily as flaking and redness, and is the result of a changed composition or lack of lipids.
  • Skin is dehydrated – skin is dehydrated when moisture content drops below 13%. Due to lack of moisture, the skin tightens, looks more lean, itchy. Dehydrated skin is the result of increased transepidermal water loss.
  • Skin is peeling – I mentioned it as a consequence of dry skin, but the appearance of skin peeling is associated with a change in pH. In our skin, there are enzymes involved in skin regeneration that work at a specific pH. A change in pH can lead to abnormal peeling of the skin and the formation of scaly skin.
  • Pimples or acne breakouts can occur – the acidic pH of our skin limits colonization of pathogenic bacteria and promotes the existence of normal microflora. In the event of pH lifting, colonization of bacteria that “sleep” at normal skin pH and can create a mess in the form of acne formation.

Can a damaged barrier be cured?

Of course, we just have to choose the right products and give ourselves time. The skin barrier will not recover immediately. Barrier recovery time depends on the extent of the injury and on the persistence of the correct products.

Because the skin is exposed to a number of external factors that can lead to impaired barrier function, the stratum corneum is constantly active in maintaining normal physiological state using various self-repair mechanisms. Based on the mechanisms used by the skin to restore the barrier, we also see when the skin’s own mechanism fails and the barrier needs to be cured with topical agents.

Summer finally turned into autumn. Finally? Tajka are you normal? Who doesn’t like summer? Well, weather cooling down is a good fit for me, although I am the more frozen type, summer is not my favorite part of the year. However, the skin is not too keen on the transition to the colder months, so let’s see how we make it easier for our skin to transition to the new season by tweaking our skincare a little.

How does our skin behave in the summer?

Most face more oily skin in the summer, which is seen primarily as glowing parts of the face. High temperatures stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. When the skin is oily, the pores on the face look larger and, at the same time, they become clogged earlier, as excess sebum and dead cells on the skin surface fill the pores faster. Due to the heat, more bacteria are also present on the face, helping to make the excess sebum and dead cells infect the bacteria with pores to form pimples.

It is true, however, that most pimples are caused by inadequate skin cleansing in the summer. Silicone-based sunscreens are not so easy to remove, so proper cleansed skin requires a double cleansing technique. If the sunscreen is not completely removed, it settles into the pores as impurity and further clogs them.

For this reason, skin care is greatly simplified during the summer months. Mostly moisturizing serums and moisturizing creams are applied to the skin.

Why does the skin behave differently in the fall / winter?

After the summer heat subsides, our sebaceous glands return to normal state. However, even cold weather does not have a particularly good effect on our skin. The combination of wind and increased use of central heating dries the skin. For people with dry skin, the change can often be large enough to cause an increase in the appearance of very dry areas, cracks in the skin, flaking.

The cold air tightens the pores. This reduces the excretion of sebum onto the surface of the skin, which acts as a protective layer, providing lipid protection while preventing water from evaporating from the skin. Usually, in the colder months, the relative humidity of the air is lower than in our skin and water actually evaporates from the skin, causing the skin to dry out. This can exacerbate existing conditions that make the skin prone to cracking and flaking.

So what changes do I need to make in the transition from summer care to fall / winter?

Above we have highlighted two problems, too little moisture and too little lipid. So this together leads to dehydrated and dry skin. However, with the proper adaptation of your care products you will not face such problems.

Increase in skin moisture

I have been using the skin moisturizing serums myself in the summer, as simply excess moisture can’t hurt me. In the transition to fall / winter care, use a serum that contains humectants that increase the level of moisture in the skin, if they contain any other ingredient that soothes the skin even better. However, remember that moisture must be locked into the skin with the help of emollients or occlusives.

Use of richer cream or oils

The use of richer nourishing creams is essential especially for people who cope with dry skin in winter. The nourishing cream will lock the moisture of a moisturizing serum in the skin, while also adding lipids to the skin, whichwe have too little in the winter due to less sebum secretion. Lipid deficient skin can be identified by peeling off.

For oily skin types, this period is quite complicated as the skin is still oily, but even oily skin may lack adequate lipids in winter. The biggest problem is when you use the wrong products, because you lose moisture from your skin and thus produce dried epidermis, even though the skin is still oily. For those with oily skin, it is advisable to resort to oils that are suitable for the care of oily skin, such as black cumin, jojoba oil, squalane, and thus lock in moisture in the skin. Use the oils for the evening because you can go to bed looking like a disco ball, right? During the day you can choose a cream with added ceramides, which will nevertheless properly nourish your skin.

Now is the perfect time to start with active ingredients and make various cosmetic treatments

Autumn and winter are great for introducing cosmetically active ingredients such as retinoids and hydroxy acids. Namely, these active ingredients increase the photosensitivity of the skin and in the autumn / winter the cloudy weather does us a bit of a favor, so the UV index is not so high and consequently it is more difficult to produce photo-damage. However, having more cloudy days doesn’t mean you can escape the sunscreen now!

This period is also great if you opt for cosmetic treatments such as lasers, microneedling, acid scrubs, because as with the above mentioned assets, these treatments increase the photosensitivity of the skin as they remove a large part of the epidermis and thus our natural protective layer.

Sunscreen is a must in winter too!

Whether you use active ingredients or not, you also have to protect yourself during this time of year. Being cloudy does not mean that there is no UV rays. As much as 80% of the UV rays can pass through the clouds. When it snows, as much as 90% of all UVB rays are reflected from the snow, which means that both the sun and the rays that bounce off the snow can burn us.

Every facial care should begin with proper skin cleansing. Lately there is a lot of talk about “double cleaning” of the skin. Do you know what the purpose of the double cleaning is, and why most use this method? How does micellar water work and how do soaps work?

What is the purpose of cleaning the skin?

Throughout the day, we are exposed to our cosmetic products and various environmental pollutants. With our hands we touch our faces, and in the winter there is a lot of smog and all this accumulates on the surface of our skin and in the pores. Because of all the impurities that accumulate, the skin needs to be cleaned in order to keep it healthy. Under all pollutants, pores become clogged and this may be reflected as an increased excretion of sebum or the formation of comedons.

Skin should also be cleaned in the morning. In the morning, it is necessary to wash the cosmetic products that were applied in the evening, from the face. At the same time, dust is on our head, which is also passed on to our face. So, before the next morning you start to apply morning care, first cleanse your skin.

How do cleaners work?

Surfactants

We know that water and oil do not like eachother. The oil is lighter than water and will therefore always float above the water, and these two substances will not be united by themselves. The reason for this is the excessive surface tension between them. For stabilization, however, a substance is needed, which will reduce the inter-phase voltage, and these are surfactants.

One of the most typical activities for surfactants is cleaning. Surfactants are key ingredients of cosmetic products such as soaps, cleansing gels, shampoos and sparkling baths.

Surface-active substances are substances that, due to their chemical structure, are distributed at the boundary between the two phases. The characteristic of surfactants is the presence of a hydrophilic and hydrophobic part in the chemical structure. Surfactants influence the dissolution of substances with different mechanisms.

Solubilization

Solubilization means increasing the solubility of a poorly water-soluble substance with surfactants. The mechanism involves “catching” (adsorbed or dissolved) molecules in the micelles.

Cleaners work on the principle of solubilization. By solubilizing the substance, the solubility and dissolution rate of the substance is increased. More broadly, solubilization also involves the use of other methods of increasing solubility, such as, for example, use of co-solvent.

How does micellar water work?

The main ingredients of micellar water are water and one or more surfactants.
We can imagine micelles as a leaf that is folded back into itself. The way it folds depends on the media that surrounds it. In the aqueous medium, the micelle has hydrophobic tails on the inner side and the polar head on the outside. If the medium is an organic solvent, then the components of the micelle are turned – the polar heads are inward, and the hydrophobic chain is outwards.

By increasing the amount of surfactant in the aqueous solution, the surface tension drops until the molecules fill the boundary surface between the aqueous and the oil phase. At a given concentration, the surfaces between water and oil are saturated and surfactants begin to aggregate and form aggregates called micelles. The concentration at which micelles begin to form is called critical micelle concentration.

When the micellar water is applied to the face, the micelles capture the oily components into their interior. This happens because they are arranged in such a way that the lipophilic (hydrophobic) tails look at the place where the oil and other impurities are caught.

Why is it necessary to rinse off micellar water?

You must have heard that the micellar water needs to be washed off. Because they contain surfactants they can have a negative effect on the skin. Surface-active substances differ, some are gentle (eg syndrome), some are more aggressive (sodium lauryl sulphate).

It is known that the constant use of surfactants for cleaning has a negative effect on the skin. For decades, scientists have thought that the mechanism for damaged skin barrier is the removal of lipids from the porous layer. Recent studies show that surface-active substances cause denaturalization of skin proteins and interact with keratin.

Types of cleaning agents

Soaps

Soaps are a general term used for preparations containing alkaline (basic) salts from mostly solid fatty acids. Classical soaps are the most alkaline formulations with a pH value of between 9 and 10.

Glycerine soaps are made from glycerol and natural glycerine oils. Glycerin is a humidifier, which is often used for moisturizing and protecting the skin. This helps neutralize the effect of drying alkalis.

Superfatted soaps: contain glycerol, but also a wide range of lipids that help restore the lipid layer in the skin (triglycerides, natural oils and fats).

Antibacterial soaps include antibacterial substances such as carbanil and triclosan.

Soap with the syndets

They are made of surfactants, such as sulfuric acid esters and isoethates of fatty acids. These soaps have a pH of 5 to 6. However, they contain synthetic components.

Liquid cleaning agents

They can contain several natural and synthetic surfactants and various moisturizers and lipids.

Oil-free cleaning agents

Rich in fatty alcohols that allow you to clean your skin without the need for water. These formulations are rapidly dried and include moisturizing agents to prevent possible irritation.

Cleaning creams

These formulations are a mixture of surfactants, lipids and waxes. These have traditionally been used to treat patients with atopic dermatitis due to the high fat content that can form a protective barrier on the skin.

Double skin cleansing

Double cleaning is a method where two different types of cleaning agents are used, one after the other. In the case of two cleaning, first clean your face with clean oil, oil-based cleaning fluid or cleansing milk. Then there is followed by purification with a water soluble cream, gel or foam. Cleaning with oil-based products helps dissolve make-ups and water-resistant juicy creams. Compared to pure oils, modern cleaning oils contain emulsifiers that allow the oil to mix with water and form a milk emulsion. This facilitates skin rinsing.

How to properly clean the sun cream from the face?

A non-waterproof sun cream can be washed with a cleansing gel or oil, and waterproof sunscreen cleans only cleaning oil. The sun protection product can be partly removed with water, but this is a less effective way, compared to cleansing gel and oil. In addition, cleaning oil, in comparison with the cleansing gel, can less irritate the skin and dry it less.

For sure you have been asking yourself if you have to nourish your skin in any other way than usual. While being at the beach skin needs more care because we are exposed to the sun that can burn us and sea salt drains the skin. So how to nourish the skin at sea? How to act in case of sunburns? How to nourish the skin to maintain the tan we have?

How to act in the case of sunburns?

Today, we are already aware of the harmful effects of sunbathing, but the sunburn can happen. Either this is because of the insufficient amount of sunscreen or excessive sunbathing. Burn is an acute skin inflammatory reaction that usually occurs 1-24 hours after sunbathing. The burn depends on the intensity and the wavelength of light. Erythema may occur, which may be accompanied by pain, swelling or even blisters. Of course, the best way is to prevent all this with the appropriate UVA and UVB protective sunscreens.

Not only does exposure to the sun lead to faster aging (photoaging), it can also cause the formation of lentigues, teleangiectasia (spider veins), skin cancer, etc., if we are exposed to the sun without protection.

We can cure sunburns with anti-inflammatory extracts!

In a case of sunburns, we shower with lukewarm or cold water and gentle cleansing agents. After showering, we apply lotions or creams like aftersuns. In case we are burned, cosmetic products should contain the following extracts that soothe the skin.

ExtractsHow they work
Chamomile (bisabolol, hamazulen)anti-inflammatory, wound healing, soothe the skin
Italian strawfloweradstringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
Oatantimicrobial, antioxidant, soothes the skin, against itching
Pot marigold
anti-inflammatory, wound healing, antiseptic

Shea Butter

Due to the content of terpenoids, it acts anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. It also acts as an antioxidant and protects us from reactive oxygen radicals. It helps to restore the skin barrier and acts regeneratively.

Aloe vera against erythema

The study tested 97.5% aloe vera gel and 1% hydrocortisone in the cream, and 0.25% predicarbate in the cream, both of which are corticosteroids. The effect of natural extracts is delayed. Corticosteroids reduced the erythema after 24 hours, while the gel of aloe vera reduced the erythema only after 48 hours. Although it seems that the percentage of aloe vera gel is high, it did not show any hypersensitive reactions to the testee. So, the aloe vera gel reduces inflammation, but it is not necessary that the gel could be used for chronic inflammatory diseases. It can be used as an additional care, especially in after-sun products, instead of gels / creams containing hydrocortisone.

Usually, oils rich in omega-3 and / or omega-6 are commonly used to treat sunburns, as they work regenerative and anti-inflammatory. We can also use the right antioxidants that prevent the harmful effect of ROS on our DNA. Some studies have shown that vitamin D also helps to relieve the burns produced in the sun.

Tan preservation

Well, the other option is to succeed in getting a healthy tan, because the sun does not always burn us to red. We want to keep the tan as long as possible. One option for maintaining a tan are self-tanning products, where the difference in colour is noticeable, but is washed within 1 week.

How to prolong the permanence of tanned skin?

Carrot oil, which was present in the formulations at concentrations of 2, 4 and 6%, has been shown to have SPF factor. The measured SPF values ​​ranged between 4 and 7. This, of course, is not sufficient for proper SPF protection. Carrot oil also works antioxidant and rejuvenating, and at the same time it nourishes the skin properly. It is used as an oil that helps to extend the intensity of the tan. It usually leaves traces on clothes, as the right carrot oil has an orange colour, which does not disappear in the formulation, even if it is present only in 3%.

Cocoa butter

It has an SPF of about 3, which is not enough to protect us from sun rays, but it still works photoprotectively. At the same time, it works antioxidant and regenerative, as it contains phytosterols and vitamin E. It helps us preserve the tan that we already have.

How to take care of the hair?

We are sure that you have already noticed how our hair colour, whether natural or dyed, fades away while we are at the seaside. People with darker hair struggle with melanin photoxidation, and others with lighter hair with degradation of amino acids in keratin, which is the main structural protein in the hair. Darker hair is somehow better protected against fading than lighter shades.

UVA rays are mainly responsible for the loss of colour in dyed hair, as they penetrate all the way to the cortex where melanin and colour pigments are located. UVB rays are blamed for the fading of the natural hair colour as they percolate into all layers of hair.

Keratin is via cysteine converted into cysteic acid in the final phase. This, however, reduces the resistance of the hair and its elasticity. Therefore, the hair is drier, less shiny, and more difficult to brush through.

Hair cuticle which is the exterior layer is most exposed. Melanin is located in the cortex and is not capable of protecting  the cuticle against UV radiation. Radiation destroys proteins and lipids in the cuticle. Hair cuticle opens and the hair loses their softness. In UV radiation, ROS also develops and further destroys the hair.

Are cosmetics with UV filters the solution for hair care?

Until now, there was no excessive enquiry for such products on our market. But there are shampoos and balms with UV filters. In fact, an entire hair care line with UV filters. In hair cosmetics the same UV filters can be used as in sunscreens, but there are also quaternary and polysilicones that exhibits UV protection for hair, but not for the skin. Of course, there are natural oils and extracts that also help protect your hair from UV radiation.

UVA is mostly promoting the formation of ROS, while UVB destroys pigment named melanin (destroying it or bleaching it), and for changing mechanical abilities, as it breaks bonds in our hair (cysteine ​​present in keratin), which makes our hair fragile.

How to groom the face?

At sea, you do not usually need ” heavy care”. For most skin types, the use of rich and nourishing creams and oils in summer is simply too much. Overly enriched care can lead to the formation of clogged pores and pimples. Therefore, it is better to reach for moisturizing formulas. In addition to daily sun cream, it is also recommended to use serums with antioxidants, which will additionally support the function of the sun cream.

After we pass 25 our skin starts ageing, not only skin but the whole body. Horror! We are not even close to half of our life but we are already ageing. The process of ageing is very complex. But it is up to us whether we speed it up or slow it down. We vote for slowing it down, how about you?

What is ageing?

Ageing is a genetically caused process, where degenerative (decompositions) changes take over the regenerative (building) changes. Very simply imagine taking apart lego cubes faster than building them back. If we are consistent we will break down all the cubes. And the same goes for the skin if we don’t take care of it properly. Besides the genetics, hormones also play a role in ageing. First there are morphological changes, only after that we start seeing visible changes.

First let’s take a look at morphological changes

Changes happen in more skin layers. In epidermis there are some subtle changes, meanwhile dermis is going through more intense changes. Changes don’t happen overnight, and especially not all at once. When you are in your 30’es some changes are happening in your upper skin layers, and very little is happening in deeper skin layers.

Changes in epidermis

  1. Lower water content in stratum corneum – leads to drier skin
  2. Lower number of the cells, especially melanocytes and corneocytes (cells become bigger and have troubles replicating)
  3. Longer cycle of skin renewal, which is normally 28 days long (bigger keratinocytes are harder to remove, the result is rougher skin)

Changes in dermis

Of Course changes in your 30. are not so drastic as in your 50., but something is still happening.

  1. Thickness of dermis is constantly decreasing (1% per year)
  2. Skin elasticity is decreasing due to lower content of collagen and elastin
  3. Lower amount of glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid
  4. Lower number of sebaceous and sweat glands

Consequnce of thinner dermis, lower amount of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid is occurence of small fine wrinkles. Especially between the eyes and between nose and mouth.

There is more than one type of ageing. Photoageing can be slowed down.

Photo Ageing is the type of ageing that is influenced by external factors, most commonly UV light. Smoking, wind, polluted air aid as well. Photoageing speeds up the chronological ageing. Run for your life, ok kidding.

Photoageing is connected with increased amount of radicals (ROS), that are formed in the body because of the increased production or inability to remove them. Radicals damage proteins, lipids and DNK.

This type of ageing makes more obvious changes

  1. Faster thinning of dermis and lowering the amount of collagen
  2. Damage in stratum corneum and changes in skin barrier
  3. Higher and faster enzyme activity – matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) starts to function. This enzymes affect the integrity of extracellular matrix. MMP decompose components of the matrix (collagen, elastin) and lower the skin firmness and elasticity. This enzymes are activated under the UV light.

The most obvious signs of photoaged skin are deep wrinkles, occurence of hyperpigmentation, changes in skin texture, extended capillaries and teleangiectazii. There is a possibility of cell proliferation and occurrence of tumors.

As we see photoageing affects the chronological ageing and this process can be slowed down.

Active cosmetics for slowing down the skin ageing

Slowing down the ageing can be done in more ways. The most common are:

-acceleration of moisture

-acceleration of peeling

-stimulating synthesis of collagen and elastin

-substituting hyaluronic acid

Here are one of the most important cosmetics active ingredients that we use for slowing down this process. Antioxidants are important as well.

Retinoids

Retinoids are natural or synthetic ingredients. They are derivates of all-trans retinoic acid or vitamin A. They are famous for their anti-ageing effects. Not only they regulate growth of epitel cells and their differenciation, but they also normalize the process of keratinization. Are the effects visible? Yes, the skin is smoother and wrinkles look smaller.

Tretionin (all-trans retinoic acid) is a golden standard. Clinical studies prove it’s effectiveness already at very low concentrations. Tretionin stimulates formation of collagen, reduces hyperpigmentation and reduces skin roughness. BUT, it is prohibited for use in cosmetic products. So, back to the beggining.

In cosmetics manufacturers use retinol that thickens epidermis. Studies show increasing amount of proteins and collagen in the skin. It is safe in concentrations up to 1%. To get the maximum effect on the skin it needs to convert to retinoic acid, but for this effect higher concentrations are needed.

There are also other forms of vitamin A like retinylpalmitate, retinylacetate, retinal and other much less effective forms.

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Boost of moisture

We already discussed all about cosmetic humectants. As moisturizers we can also use hydroxy acids (AHA, BHA, PHA). Fun fact that many people don’t know about is that hydroxy acids don’t only possess a exfoliating effect, but also a moisturising one. In low concentrations they stimulate renewal of epidermis, influence the collagen synthesis and have a moisturising effect.

For moisturizing we can also use hyaluronic acid, that binds the mass of water, that is 1000x bigger than her own mass. Penetration in the skin depends on the molecular mass.

How about lightening pigmentation marks?

The golden standard for treatment of the sunspots is hydroquinone, that is forbidden in Europe. But we can always use the alternatives such as azelaic acid, kojic acid, arbutin and other ingredients that inhibit enzyme tyrosinase, that takes part in melanin synthesis.

The most important step you can take is to protect your skin with everyday use of sunscreen. Even if there are clouds and snow outside. UV rays are always there.