We talk to dermatologist, Marta Vilavella Rius, about skin care
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1. How does wearing a face mask affect our skin?
The occlusion caused by a mask increases the temperature and humidity around the face (“sauna effect”). These higher temperatures and humidity levels encourage growth of the bacteria found on our skin and stimulate the production of sebum by our sebaceous glands. The higher amount of sebum feeds these germs and will result in blocked pores, all leading to an outbreak or worsening of acneiform eruptions which have been given the name: “MASKNE”. The constant rubbingof a mask on the skin also causes inflammation in the form of eczema.
2. Can you offer me any advice on how to look after the skin on our faces and protect it from wearing a mask?
The most important thing is to try and keep the skin as clean as possible. We need to have a strict skin hygiene regime morning and night using a cleanser that is suitable for the type of skin we have. We should use light moisturisers, such as oil-free gels or gel-creams. We must apply sun screen as masks do not offer 100% protection from the sun. We once again recommend products that are light and have non-comedogenic formulae. Disposable masks must be changed and reusable cloth masks washed frequently.
If we have acne and it doesn’t improve following these tips, visit a dermatologist who can prescribe oral or topical medication depending on the severity of each case.
“We mustn’t forget to protect our skin from the sun even when wearing a mask; they do not offer 100% protection,” emphasises the dermatologist
3. And on the question of sun protection, do you often have patients who visit you because of skin anomalies caused by exposure to the sun?
Of course, it is the bread and butter of every dermatologist. The sun has many benefits because it helps us produce vitamin Dand boosts our mood, but it also causes short- and long-term damage to the skin. Long-term damage is what we see most among patients, which we refer to as “skin memory”: changes caused by the cumulative exposure to solar radiation over our lives. The main long-term damage is photoaging (in the form of age spots, wrinkles and spider veins), as well as skin cancer.
4. How does stress and anxiety affect our skin?
The skin and the brain are two closely related organs because they derive from the same layer of an embryo. Anxiety triggers the release of the stress hormone: cortisol. This hormone affects the skin in several ways: it delays the repair of skin damage, alters the natural barrier of protection and affects the immune system, thereby reducing the skin’s defences. If our skin doesn’t function properly and is not in the best of health, it won’t look great. There are many skin conditions that are exacerbated by stress such as psoriasis, acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis etc.
5. Given our different habits and increased exposure to the sun in the summer, what should we do before the summer to prepare our skin and avoid subsequent damage?
The best strategy to avoid damage in the short and long term is UV protection. We must use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVB, UVA, infrared and visible light, which is sufficiently high factor (FP50+) and suitable for the type of skin we have.
We can start by gradually exposing our skin to the sun; in other words, only going out in the sun for a few minutes a day and steadily increasing this time to “acclimatise” the skin little by little to solar radiation and avoid exposing it for several hours straight away.
We can also take oral sun protection a few months before exposure, i.e. take nutricosmeticscontainingmineralsand vitamins that protect our skin from the inside and thereby enhance its resilience to cellular damage caused by the free radicals induced by sunlight. We also know that solar radiationdestroys collagen and elastin fibres. If we are planning to go outin the sun,a good strategy to mitigate these effects would be to take food supplements containing collagen and elastin.
6. We know that Ceannum is a nutricosmetic. What are the advantages of nutricosmetics compared to conventional cosmetics (creams) and what are the benefits of Ceannum that are worth sharing?
I believe they complement each other. I tell my patients it’s just as important to care for themselves inside as out. The amount of collagen our bodies naturally produce decreases after we turn 30. The direct link between our diet, health and the way our skin looks is well known. Using cosmetics to look after our skin (the most important of all being sun protection) helps us improve the quality of our skin, while taking nutricosmetics containing collagen and elastin helps “nourish” it from the inside.
7. How does the combined action of Ceannum work: collagen, elastin and vitamin C?
Collagen and elastin are two structural proteins in our skin that make it firm and elastic.Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that combats the effects of free radicals and also encourages the natural production of collagen. This boosts Ceannum’s effectiveness.
8. As a dermatologist, can you give me three tips for healthy, beautiful skin?
1 Have the right skin care routine that includes sun protection, antioxidants (vitamin C, ferulic acid etc.) and products that transform the epidermis (retinol, glycolic acid etc.). 2 Enjoy a balanced diet and supplement it with nutricosmetics. It is essential we generate collagen and vitamin C to have good skin, and these help with this. 3 Visit a dermatologist for dermo-cosmetic treatments, depending on our needs.
9. Do you have any advice to enable us to recognise when we need extra care or treatment for the skin on our faces?
Skin is a living organ that changes over time. If we notice we have skin that is not uniform, dull, a different colour or has too much or too little pigmentation or excessive sebum, we should visit a dermatologist, who specialises in maintaining and restoring the health and beauty of our skin.
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