The human body does not consider the skin a vital organ like the heart, lungs and the brain. So when the body faces a crisis — such as dehydration, fatigue due to stress or lack of vitamins in the blood stream — the skin is the first to show symptoms, as its crisis always gets addressed last.
French skin expert Julien Moignard from Kéraskin Esthetics analysed the skin of this correspondent. The test was done with an instrument equipped with a microscope.
It measured lipid levels, hydration, wrinkle onset, skin sensitivity and pigmentation. Moignard, Dr Nina Madnani, consultant dermatologist, and Laura D’souza, skin aesthetician, share secrets that can keep your skin looking young.
Lipids are essentials oils — made of proteins, cholesterol and fatty acids — secreted by the pores. They are present in the uppermost layer of the skin and form a protective barrier which holds in moisture and keeps out dirt and impurities. Babies have high amounts of lipids in the skin. As you age, the lipid formation in the skin slows down.
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My score: Although I rarely apply moisturiser — and use a face wash or a soap to clean my face, depending on what I can get hold of at that moment — I scored 04 on a scale of 01-06, indicating a healthy level of lipids. A score of 05 or 06 would have indicated oily skin and a score or 01 or 02 would mean dry skin.
Remedy: Julian says lipid secretion is the result of eating proteins such as fish, eggs, chicken, paneer and balanced amounts of good fats, such as cheese, yoghurt and nuts. Crash-dieting severely impacts lipid development, resulting in duller looking skin. Applying a moisturiser regularly protects the lipid glands.
The amount of fluid in your skin is important for its health. The fluids don’t come only from the quantity of water you drink during the day but also the amount of antioxidants you consume. The ability of the skin to repair and produce new cells depends a lot on hydration.
Well-hydrated skin is able to produce fresh cells more efficiently. Lack of sleep interferes with hydration and cell renewal. Which is why, when you sleep well, people notice the glow immediately as your skin has been forming new cells.
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My score: I drank the previous night and had slept for less than five hours. Moreover, before meeting Julian, I was sweating in the heat and had gone without having water for over four hours. This showed immediately on my skin and I scored a very low 01 on a scale of 01-06.
Remedy: In hot and humid weather, you must drink at least three litres of water in a day. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E boost cell repair and formation. Mangoes, papaya, kiwis and almonds are rich sources of Vitamin E. Oranges, strawberries, grapes and pomegranates are abundant in Vitamin C.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they are diuretic in nature, causing your body to lose water.
Wrinkles are formed when the skin cells die faster than the body can replace them. Lack of hydration over sustained periods often leads to this condition. Indentation occurs where there is constant and repetitive movement of the facial muscles, such as the glabellar-frown lines between the eyebrows, crow feet at the corner of the eyes, forehead lines and nasal wrinkles.
In those who do not wear sun glasses, and have a constant frown, these indentations become pronounced wrinkles. New evidence of wrinkles has been found in young people who do heavy weights in the gym and grimace during workouts.
My score: I am 29, with a young skin. I scored 01, which showed that I do not have wrinkles yet. However there are signs to indicate their onset because of my lifestyle.
Remedy: Hydrate your skin well, wear sunglasses when outside, avoid smoking and use anti-aging products under the guidance of your dermatologist.
Blame your genes if you have a sensitive skin. Such skin suffers from an uncomfortable sensation when make-up, soap, cleansers, etc. come in contact with it. The sensation does not leave any visible marks, such as redness, but is unpleasant. A low score indicates low sensitivity, while a high score indicates high sensitivity to external factors.
My score: I scored 01, which means my skin is not sensitive.
Remedy: People with sensitive skin must use sunscreen while going out as protection against rashes and sun burns. Avoid using toners which contain alcohol as they can irritate the skin. Wear oil-free and hypoallergenic make-up. Don’t apply cosmetics over broken skin. Use products specifically meant for sensitive skin.
Human skin colours have been classified into six types. People under Type, like Caucasians, are very fair. Type Six people have extremely pigmented skin. Indians have a wide range of skin tones and fall between Type Three and Type Six. Type of skin tone defines your response to tanning and injuries such as burns, and proneness to skin cancer.
For instance, a Type Three will hardly tan even after staying out in the sun for hours. The reason is that this type produces very few melanocytes (melanin-producing cells which define the skin colour).
On the other hand, a Type Six will tan within 20 to 30 minutes of staying out in the sun, as that skin produces more melanocytes in reaction to the Sun’s UV rays.
My score: I fall between Type Four and Six.
Remedy: People who fall under Type Three or below must wear protective skin gear such as long sleeves and sunscreen if staying outdoors for long. Type Four and above can wear protection to avoid tanning. However they need not worry much about tanning as it reverses within a few weeks.