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Interest in our skin has never been greater. And the question of how to care for it properly to keep it healthy and youthful is of interest not only to the billion-dollar beauty industry. Medicine is researching DNA-based personalized care, which could help treat skin conditions such as neurodermatitis or rosacea more successfully. And of course, protection against environmental influences is more important than ever. After all, it is not only excessive sun exposure that damages the skin, but also aggressive and excessive skin care as well as a high-sugar diet are increasingly mentioned when it comes to what can harm the skin.
Dermatologist and plastic surgeon Inja Allemann explains why a “sugar face” is not really attractive, why expensive skin care products are not necessary for skin health, and why it does not harm our face and its radiance if we have a little more flab on our ribs as we age.
When I look in the mirror today, I see a typical winter face: pale skin that somehow looks doughy, without any radiance. Is this perhaps due to the numerous sweets I regularly eat during the colder months of the year?
Yes, that could well be the case. The term “sugar face” was created to refer to exactly this negative effect of sugar on our skin. High blood sugar levels cause the skin’s collagen fibers to take a hit, as the sugar combines with their proteins, causing them to harden and become brittle. Processed carbohydrates, such as those found in white flour, also have the same effect. Our bodies break them down into sugar, which then quickly enters the blood. But maybe your skin is also a little sallow in addition because you haven’t switched to the correct winter skin care yet.
Does our skin need different care in winter than in warmer seasons?
Uncomplicated, rather oily skin is usually unproblematic in the cold season. Dry to very dry skin, like yours, is different. It becomes even drier in the cold season and then needs more water-insoluble fats called lipids. These provide protection against external influences such as the cold. But also for older people or those who suffer from neurodermatitis or other skin diseases, existing skin problems can increase during the cold season.
How do I notice that my usual facial care is no longer sufficient?
When the skin balance is disturbed, the facial skin begins to redden. It can become taut and itchy. In particularly dry areas, flaky, inflamed patches and small cracks can form. You then literally no longer feel comfortable in your own skin.
But this is not yet a case for the dermatologist?
Otherwise healthy skin is perfectly capable of regenerating itself. Provided it is cared for with lipid-replenishing, oil-based products. You should also use lipid-replenishing products for cleansing. Foam and gel cleansers can then be used again in the warmer season.
Showering too often deprives the skin of moisture and lipids: Balance is disturbed because the skin barrier no longer functions.