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The Professional Face of Skin Care
By: Katerina Steventon, PhD, FaceWorkshops
Posted: May 31, 2013, from the June 2013 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
Skin care is a universal need, as skin health is essential for well-being, and aging skin becomes less able to maintain its metabolic processes, resulting in the barrier breakdown and signs of aging that have a detrimental effect on quality of life and socioeconomic consequences. Factors that contribute to loss of skin integrity include: reduced peripheral sensation, impaired mental health, chronic diseases, medication and inadequate nutrition. Skin conditions are highly prevalent; approximately 70% of elderly people in the U.K. experience skin problems, many of which are preventable,1 with the spectrum of skin conditions ranging from skin redness and slight flairs of eczema or acne to clinical disease.
The skin is an organ of display, and youthful, healthy-looking skin is considered attractive in many societies.2 Therefore, visible skin deterioration can be a significant issue—no age group is immune to the “look good, feel good factor.”3 However, older people are more likely to endure skin deterioration, seeing it as an inevitable part of aging or being fearful that their concerns will be seen as trivial4 or an indication that they are not coping with life.5
Public Face of Skin Care
The purpose of skin care is to maintain skin barrier function and produce a sense of well-being. Skin care practice is often culturally ingrained and guided by ritual. There are numerous professions concerned with the skin: the dermatologist, the dermatology nurse, the esthetician and even the skin care sales assistant. Their expertise, approach, perspective and degree of authority in skin care decision-making is different. Yet, finding common denominators is beneficial, and all of these professionals are skin care consumers themselves. Furthermore, they all benefit from advancements in technology and manufacturing of consumer and therapeutic skin care.
Skin diagnosis is a prime skill in skin care. It is conducted in dermatology with descriptive language to name physical signs (macule, papule) and through recognition of skin function failure. Assessment of skin function can involve skin imaging—which are static, frequently not life-sized and rarely illustrate the dynamics of skin diseases, such as itching.6 Therefore, diagnosis increasingly relies on atlases, algorithms and the laboratory.
Dermatologists emphasize observable criteria of effectiveness, such as clearance of the lesion, while people with skin conditions focus on the subjective concerns, such as softness and alleviation of itch.7 This discrepancy might lead to inadequate use and frequency of skin care application. Clinical skills are being replaced by tests, yet the magic of interaction with people is often missing. Touching the diseased skin, where the patient sees the clinician’s involvement, is an easily understood sign of caring about the patient’s problems.6
The Missing Piece of Formulating for Skin is a Better Understanding of Skin Physiology
Complement your cosmetic science knowledge with the medical knowledge you need to create better and safer products for consumers. Learn from board certified dermatologist Zoe Diana Draelos, MD in the online video course Physiology of the Skin.
Available through Cosmetics & Toiletries' Complete Cosmetic Chemist Training Program, Physiology of the Skin contains 8 lessons that can't be found elsewhere on topics such as skin biology and evaluation, skin aging, acne, cosmeceuticals and includes the best selling book, Physiology of the Skin, Third Edition!
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