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Healthy skin easy to achieve
Wed, 06 Feb 2008 19:29:04
By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran
The high absorption ability of the skin makes it necessary for individuals to choose personal skin
care products with outmost care.
The following is an interview with Dr. Flora Rouhanifar who has been working in the field of skin
care for many years.
Q.The skin, the largest organ in the body is responsible for several functions. Could you name
some of them for us?
A. The skin contains collagen and elastin which keep the skin flexible and firm; it also contains
sebaceous glands, sweat glands, lymph vessels, hair follicles and nerves.
Keratin layers in the epidermis together with sebum produced by the sebaceous glands act as a
Skin melanocytes protect the body from ultraviolet light; they are also responsible for the
individual's skin color. The fatty tissue in the skin acts as a mechanical barrier to infections. It
ultimately prevents microorganisms and other substances from entering the body.
The skin helps feel heat, cold, pain and other sensations. It regulates body temperature. Sweat
glands help cool the skin when exposed to heat.
The skin excretes waste product and excess salt from the body through sweating. It also
synthesizes Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight and ultra violet radiation.
Q. What are the main factors influencing skin health?
A. Several factors influence skin health. Hygiene and diet are the main factors. Regular exercises
and protecting the skin from the sun, wind and cold are also important. Smoking and drinking
too much tea or coffee should be avoided.
In addition, cosmetic and skin care products must be chosen with utmost care.
Q. Many believe having less carbohydrate and fat in the regular diet helps having younger
looking skin whereas consuming more fruits rich in antioxidants fights early aging. What is the
impact of diet/nutrition on the skin?
A. A regular diet should consist of carbohydrate 50%, fat 30%, protein 20%, minerals and
vitamins A, C and E. These three vitamins are more important because of their antioxidants
properties which play an important role in skin health.
Q. What are the different skin types? How can one know what is his/her skin type?
A. Different people have different types of skin, classified in 5 main groups: normal, oily, dry,
mixed and sensitive skin.
Dry skin, is a fine-pored skin which looks dull at first glance. It has many fine wrinkles. It has
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thin and papery texture; it has excoliate, couperose and telangectasia and milia.
The skin is rather rough to the touch. It has a sallow tone and is also easily irritated. After each
wash the skin feels very tight.
Oily skin is shiny, greasy and prone to break out into acne quite often. It looks younger than its
Large pores are the important feature of oily skin. Comedones or black pores and acne are
visible. It is smooth and oily. After each wash the skin feels refreshed and by midday it looks
Mixed skin has the oily skins characteristics on the T-zone (frontal, nose and chin), while the
cheeks (u-zone) are dry. After each wash some areas are smooth where as others are dry and
Normal skin is only found in babies. It is pink in color in white - colored skin individuals.
The skin is neither dry nor greasy and is clear, pimple free, soft and smooth.
Sensitive skin is the most fragile kind of skin type. It is easily prone to irritation like stinging,
chafing and even itching when it is touched or in contact with wind or cold weather. Such
individuals often experience redness, wheal and urticaria.
There is an easy way to determine ones skin type; for this one should wipe his/her face with a
dry tissue when he/she wakes up in the early morning. For those having normal skin, the oil does
not come on the paper and the face does not feel tight.
Oil is seen on the tissue in oily skin cases. When oil is only seen in the center part while the
cheeks are dry, the person has mixed skin. For those who have dry or normal skin, there will be
no oil on the tissue. Having the feeling of dryness after wiping the skin is the sign of having a dry
Individuals with sensitive skin usually complain of experiencing redness, inflammation or even
itch following an exposure to new skin-care products.
Q. How should one care for oily skin?
A. This kind of skin is oil-rich and prone to pimples, spots and blackheads. Washing the skin with
soap and water several times a day, cleans and opens pores and prevents from acne.
Anti-bacterial and antiseptic soaps with the right pH balance are good for this kind of skin. A
soap and water wash after wiping off make-up with a cleanser is a must.
The constant efforts to remove oil and frequent soap and water washes dehydrate this type of
skin therefore making necessary moisturizing this skin.
These people should use cosmetic or skin care products labeled as sebum control or shine
control; they should use cleansing gels, foams, alcoholic tonics, or astringent cleansers.
They should use suitable oil free sunscreen. Oil-free or water based moisturizers and cleansers
help restore the skin balance.
These individuals should not cleanse their skins more than two or three times a day, as it
conversely stimulates oil gland secretion. They should always clean their skin before going to
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In the patients aged 40 and older, AHA products should be used at night, in order to prevent
Vitamin A capsules help control oil production. It is important for these individuals to have an oil-
free diet containing large amounts of vegetables and water.
Q. How should one care for dry skin?
A. Dry skin is sensitive to cold weather and sun. Using moisturizer during the day is very helpful.
These individuals should wear oily sunscreens.
They benefit from cleansing their skin with mild soaps with acidic pH, cleansing milk and alcohol
free lotions or tonics.
Day care for the dry skin calls for the use of a creamy moisturizer with high Sun Protection
Factor (SPF). A thick night cream can seal in the moisture and provide oil for the upper layers of
the skin. Night cream has to be left on the skin throughout the night.
They should use eye counter creams at least two times a day. Using hydrating masks once or
twice a week also helps restore the skin.
Q. What should one keep in mind when selecting cosmetic products? What are the adverse
effects of cosmetics on the skin?
A. One should know his/her skin type before selecting any cosmetic products; for instance, oil
free products are recommended for oily skin. The products should be FDA approved.
Inappropriate skin care products can be comedogenic and cause irritation or allergic reactions.
Q. How can we tackle skin aging and wrinkles?
A. The most important way to prevent skin aging and wrinkles is to protect the skin against sun,
avoid smoking, exercising, adding fruit and vegetables to the regular diet, reducing stress and
getting enough sleep. Using appropriate anti-wrinkle products can also help setback the aging
Q. Is there any definite treatment for pimples and pigmentations? Are lightening products of any
A.There are no definite treatment for pimples and pigmentations; however, the color of these
marks can be reduced using special methods.
Exfoliac or peeling products and every day cleaning of the skin is the best way to treat
pigmentations; however, in the presence of inflammation (comedones), topical or oral antibiotics
It is noteworthy that using a combination of peeling products and anti-pigmentation or lightening
products and sunscreen significantly improves the outcome.
Q. Peeling is one of the most frequent procedures performed nowadays. Can you describe what
is it and what is it good for?
A. Peeling is a beneficial treatment for hyper pigmentation, wrinkles and … Chemical peeling