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Different skin types and specific treatments - PART I

Different skin types and specific treatments - PART I

The skin has several important tasks. The main ones are:

  • containment function, to control in the loss of important vital fluids;
  • to protection from harmful external stimuli: microorganisms, chemical agents, radiation,   electrical stimuli, thermal stimuli;
  • to reception of external stimuli: tactile, painful, thermal;
  • synthesis and metabolism;
  • elimination of certain metabolic products (sodium salts, uric acid, etc.) through glandular secretions.

How is the skin made?

In the skin they stand out from the outside to the inside:

  • epidermis:

it is 0.2 mm thick, has a pH 4.2-6.5, a water content of 10-25% and mainly composed of keratin: thanks to these characteristics it is the main barrier that avoids both the loss of water and electrolytes from the human body is the penetration, from the outside, of water and foreign substances such as microorganisms.

The elasticity of the stratum corneum depends on the presence, in appropriate balance, of the lipids, of the water-soluble components and of the water as well as of the interaction of these components with keratin.

  • dermis:

it is formed by a dense network of protein fibers (retinolines, elastic, collagen) immersed in a mucopolysaccharide gel and is the support, besides nerve fibers, of a dense network of blood and lymphatic vessels. It consists mainly of collagen, has a thickness of 3-5 mm, pH 7.1-7.3, water content 60-70% and contains blood vessels and sweat and sebaceous glands.

The skin's supporting function is performed by the epidermis and the dermis as a whole, but the typical elasticity of the skin tissue is mainly due to the chemical-physical structure of the collagen and the elastin of the dermis. With aging, the structure of the collagen fibers undergoes slight but significant variations that make the skin more rigid and lead, among other things, to the formation of wrinkles.

  •  subcutaneous adipose tissue:

it carries out accumulation, protection and isolation functions. It is a predominantly fatty component, and in it are found some blood vessels and the so-called "skin appendages" which, implanted in this tissue, extend up to the surface of the skin: hair follicles with attached sebaceous glands, sweat glands.

How many different types of skin are there?

The selection criteria for defining each category are difficult to standardize as they vary from case to case and some observations may also correspond to opposite clinical profiles.

Thus, for example, "important" changes in the epidermal water content associated with superficial pH changes can change the appearance of the skin and induce one to establish a visual diagnosis of dry skin, while it may actually be oily skin.

Here is the classification currently in force:

  • normal skin
  • dry skin
  • sensitive skin
  • seborrheic skin (which may be: oily / mixed / dry with blackheads and black / acne-prone points.

Depending on the type of skin you choose the cosmetic routines to follow, which are personal: I will show you here the tips for using our cosmeceuticals but it is clear that they are generally valid as they are based on the characteristics of the skin type, causes and consequences of the related issues, which we are dealing with.

1. Normal skin

Considering its structure and its functions, a normal skin should be:

  • smooth and pleasant to the touch due to the cohesion of the cells of its most superficial layers;
  • compact and elastic due to the existence of a dense support fabric and the presence of numerous good quality elastic fibers;
  • opaque (not lucid!) through its balanced production of sebum;
  • clear and rosy thanks to the perfect functionality of its microcirculatory network.

The normal skin is perfectly hydrated, has a compact grain without imperfections or dilated pores, does not present problems of dryness, or excesses of sebum, or discoloration or hyperpigmentation. In reality, a skin that conforms to all these characteristics would exist only in the child before its puberty.

At the cosmetological level, we must be content with a less strong definition and consider normal skin as a young skin, structurally and functionally balanced and that does not require any care other than those necessary for its cleansing.

Domus Olea, specialized in eco-cosmetics cosmeceutics in collaboration with the University of Florence for the face with normal skin, recommends this bio routine: an evening cleansing with micellar water 5 in 1 if you have made up your makeup or antioxidant soap if you have not put on makeup; an anti-aging face or face-body cream during the day; anti-wrinkle treatment or a night-time anti-aging cream if necessary.

2. Dry skin

Dry skin would mainly correspond to structural and functional modifications of the epidermis components.

People connect this notion to the effects observed and to their sensorial dimension. Therefore, for them it is first of all a feeling of drying along with loss of skin suppleness and elasticity, characterized by a rough appearance often associated with an important desquamation, and leading to a certain discomfort they intend to correct by using moisturizing products.
For the biologist, the xerosis would be first the consequence of a change of the coherence and functionality of corneocytes, the water deficiency of the superficial layers of the stratum corneum, when it exists, only resulting from it.

Studies have shown the importance of four interdependent factors predisposing to dry skin:

1. the lack of water of corneocytes, directly depending on the presence of NMF; (natural hydration            factor);

2. the epidermal hyper-proliferation, resulting from a deficiency in the renewal process of the                    keratinocytes;

3. the change of lipidic synthesis at cell level;

4. the deterioration of the functionality of skin barrier, following a degradation of intercellular cohesion.

All these factors are interdependent. Recent works are enable to confirm that skin drying does not correspond to an irreversible state but results from a dysfunction involving the traditional “balance moisture theory” and the “protease regulation theory”.

Dry skin depends on numerous biological factors; its repair involves the restoration of the epidermal barrier, effectively damaged by the loss of fat and the dehydration of the superficial layers of the stratum corneum.

If left untreated, it ages prematurely. Moreover, it is often accompanied by imperfections, such as couperose, and easily becomes sensitive and reactive. Skin dryness may be constitutional, of genetic origin, may occasionally occur (due to a dermatosis), or may be due to a disease (diabetes, hypothyroidism, atopic dermatitis and so on). Oily skin can also become dry, due to aggressive cosmetic treatments, excessively delipidising or following the use of too much degreasing detergents. An important role in lipid deficiency is also played by hormonal changes resulting from menopause: the hormones estrogen, acting on the deep layers, rich in collagen, elastin and capillaries, give the skin elasticity and turgidity. The lowering of the estrogenic level is the cause of dryness, thinning and sagging skin, with the consequent formation of deep wrinkles.

The objectives of the cosmetic treatment aim to restore the hydro-lipid balance, with the contribution of lipids and hydration factors and with the prevention of premature aging and wrinkle formation. Here is the protocol for the face studied by Domus Olea in collaboration with the University of Florence:

Morning and evening cleansing

For those who make up: 5 in 1 micellar water; for those who do not wear makeup: antioxidant soap

Day and night treatment

Anti-Age Day Face Cream (lighter, for those who sweat a lot) or Anti-Age Face-Body Cream (slightly more consistent), at night the Anti-Age Face Night Cream is recommended.

If wrinkles prevail, opt for the day and for the night for the Super-Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Treatment (which once absorbed also has a lifting effect), possibly preceded by an application of Anti-Age Face Body Cream in case of very dehydrated skin, generally in the cold season.

IF skin relaxations prevail, both for the cold and hot season we recommend both for the day and for the night, only Rassoda-Lift Face Cream; if necessary, especially in winter, repeat a second application after the absorption of the first.

Weekly treatment

Peeling-Anti-Age Mask 1 time / week. In case of CUTANEOUS INSPECTIONS use it every other day the first week and then 1-2 times / week as a maintenance to keep the skin clean, stimulate the skin microcirculation and illuminate the face by removing the dead cells and opacity.

3. Sensitive skin

The skin sensitivity can be found in all skin types and can occur at any moment of life, apparently without triggering causes. It manifests with redness, sensation of skin pulling, tingling or burning, dryness, reactions.

This type of skin does not have an effective barrier to protect against external aggressions because the cutaneous hydrolipidic film is partially developed, and this causes greater skin permeability, changes in the microcirculation and so on. Consequently, by modifying the natural hydrolipidic film of the skin and accelerating the production of free radicals, intracellular exchanges are reduced and cell renewal decreases: the skin becomes finer and wrinkles tend to appear prematurely.

The causes of cutaneous sensitivity can be identified in a genetic predisposition, but also in internal factors such as stress, hormonal variations, wrong lifestyle habits, unbalanced nutrition, as well as external factors (cold, wind, sun, pollution ...). Domus Olea for sensitive skin recommends this bio routine:

Morning and evening cleansing

For those who make up: 5 in 1 micellar water; for those who do not wear makeup: antioxidant soap

Day and night treatment

By day: during the hot season, anti-aging face cream day; during the cold season: anti-aging body face cream and, if the skin is very stressed, use the super-intensive anti-wrinkle treatment after applying the cream.

At night: anti-aging night face cream or super intensive anti-wrinkle treatment (according to need)

Weekly treatment

Avoid using the Peeling-Mask, at least on problem areas. In the presence of desquamations it can be used once a week to remove fragments of cracked skin and to stimulate the cutaneous microcirculation, but be careful to dose the intensity of pressure.

In the case of psoriasis, the Anti-Age Hand Treatment is useful.

In the next post we will address the topic of seborrheic skin and its treatment.

Dr. Laura Comollo

Visit our phyto-cosmetics department.


Principi di tecnica farmaceutica (Michele Amorosa), Libreria universitaria L. Tinarelli, Bologna.

Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology 3rd edition, Edited by André O. Barel, Marc Paye, Howard I. Maibach