Skin is the external protective layer of the body and it consists of the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue. It also contains appendages (sebaceous glands, sweat glands and hair follicles), blood and lymph vessels, and nerve terminals. The surface of the skin is covered by a lipid layer, which consists of oil and water suspension and exfoliated keratin. The functions of the skin are very important for the whole body:
- it protects the body against mechanical, chemical, physical and bacterial factors,
- it prevents heat loss,
- it prevents excessive evaporation of water from the body,
- it is a sense organ,
- it is involved in immune processes.
Dry skinDry skin is thin, coarse, uneven, exfoliated, due to abnormalities in adhesion of corneocytes – dead cells of the epidermal cornified layer and composition of the epidermal lipids. Dry skin lacks the natural moisturizing factor. Skin dryness can be due to genetic predispositions, susceptibility to atopy, dermatoses or environmental factors: wind, low temperature, exposure to sun radiation. Children and infants are particularly susceptible to skin dryness, as well as elderly subjects, because the problem of dry skin progresses with age.
Sensitive skinSensitive skin is delicate, most often dry, develops irritation easily and is susceptible to allergic reactions. Erythema, astriction and itching sensations are often observed. Such problems are often caused by abnormalities of skin permeability. As a result, inflammatory mediators are released, which is manifested by erythema and irritation. Sensitive skin is significantly influenced by environmental factors (low and high temperatures, changes of temperature), lifestyle, emotions, stress, chemical agents used in the household, occupational exposures to detergents and solvents, and its condition is also determined by gender and age. Sensitive skin is observed in the majority of subjects suffering from atopic dermatitis and contact allergy. Recommendations for children and subjects with dry and sensitive skin:
- avoid hard and hot water,
- dry the skin gently after bath, without rubbing,
- do not use alkaline soaps, cosmetics and washing agents containing aggressive detergents, as well as preparations containing aromatic oils,
- use preparations providing lipid supplementation and regeneration of the natural epidermal protective layer,
- use dermatologically tested preparations designed for the care of skin susceptible to irritation and allergy.