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Mixing a skincare smoothie

We all know what a smoothie is. But what is a skincare smoothie? Why would anyone need one? There is a 99% chance that you need one! We will explain everything with a quick lesson on skin anatomy.

The skin is more than just “skin,” it is a complex structure of cells.

The skin is the body`s largest organ covering about 1.5-2 square meters and it accounts for roughly 12-15 percent of total body weight. The skin protects the rest of the body from UV radiation, microbes, and dehydration. The skin can perform all the functions necessary for a perfect life.

The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis (the outer layer), dermis (the “real” skin), and subcutaneous layer (the bottom or fatty layer). The epidermis has also many layers. The palms and heels, for example, have both five sublayers of upper skin.

These four to five layers of the epidermis illustrate the life cycle of keratinocytes, including keratin-producing cells. As a new, viable cell moves upwards from the lower layer of the upper skin, it becomes stiffer and drier, eventually ready to fall off the body. We usually associate the word “skin” with these lifeless, external cells. But in reality, the main vitality and functions of skin cells are beneath this dead top layer. The reason why cells become hard in the outermost layer of the epidermis is directly related to the protective functions of our body. A wall of dead cells protects the living tissues beneath it. Living cells contain 80% of water, but there is only 1% of water in the air. Living cells would shrink and perish if such dry air came into direct contact with them.

The epidermis has a four-week life cycle, during which the outer layer is entirely replaced. This process slows down as you get older. It is important to keep in mind that your skin condition can’t improve overnight.

The dermis (or “real” skin as it is called) is the skin’s main and largest layer. It’s a strong, elastic layer that accommodates the body’s most important systems – vascular, lymphatic, glandular, nerve endings, and hair. The dermis has fewer cells than the epidermis and it is wrapped by a strong fiber called collagen. Collagen plays a very important role in the healing of wounds.

The dermis also contains small blood vessels that supply nutrients to the epidermis and nerves that allow the skin to function as a sensory organ. The dermis has the wisdom to feel touch, pain, heat, and cold. The dermis has the wisdom to feel touch, pain, heat, and cold.

The deepest layer of the skin is the subcutaneous fat layer, which is made up primarily of collagen and fat cells. This is where the most fat is stored. Fat metabolism, synthesis, and decomposition are all connected with subcutaneous tissue.

Also, the microbiota of our skin, ie the microbes living primarily in the upper layers of the skin, cannot be overlooked. The microbiota of healthy skin produces a variety of antimicrobials and enzymes that strengthen the skin’s defenses against harmful microorganisms and allow the immune system to keep us healthy and strong. Chronic diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, and rosacea have been associated with changes in the microbiota.

How can we use this knowledge in skin care?

This seems like an impossible task at first. However, LUMI has two simple principles – balance is the key, and less is more. We have made hundreds of clients happy and guided them back to health.

Roughly speaking, overconsumption causes half of today’s skin problems, while unhealthy lifestyles cause the other half. We often receive a genetic “package” with our bodies and an imbalance in our system. Even babies can have skin problems. In this blog post, we are focusing on external skincare rather than internal factors.

We are all victims of advertising, and it often seems that the more products and procedures we use, the better the result must be. Unfortunately, we often see the opposite – the skin is over-cared for and often severely damaged, making recovery a long and difficult journey.

LUMI is here to simplify the process – we have the experiences and feedback from our customers, and the basics gathered over the years, to help you.

What does our skin need?

Our skin needs a strong and healthy protective barrier, as well as sufficient hydration.

Let’s talk about the protective barrier first. The most outer layer of the epidermis is called the stratum corneum. It is a huge barrier with keratinized cells, making it difficult for skin care products to absorb deeper into the skin. In addition to the stratum corneum, the active ingredients of the products are also blocked by another barrier – the basement membrane, which is situated between the epidermis and the dermis.

Regardless, the substances are absorbed into the body. This process, however, varies from person to person and is influenced by a variety of factors including skin heat, gender (men’s skin is often tighter), product quality and quantity, length of contact (leave-on vs. wash-off), skin moisture level, skin type and condition, and individual physical-biochemical properties of the skin.

Massage oil is a good example of this. The skin absorbs more oil when the body is warm and the oil is used more than you would under normal conditions. If we compare this with using a face oil, where only a few drops are enough, then we can see that all skin care guidelines can not be always applied “by the book”. Our skins can react differently to the same cosmetic products.

The skin’s protective barrier regulates whether and how cosmetics are absorbed by the body.

Healthy skin has a considerably stronger protective barrier than damaged skin – this is important to remember while choosing a skincare routine and determining how to guide the beneficial active components deep into the skin. When the stratum corneum is thick and its cells are scaled and unevenly patterned, the skin’s natural barrier is lowered, allowing it to absorb substances more quickly. This is one of the main reasons why applying cosmetics to excessively dry and flaky skin can cause a burning sensation. Excessively wet skin can also contribute to irritation since the barrier is softer and the product penetrates faster through the skin layers.

We recommend applying skin care products to damp or wet skin. Especially during the winter when the air is dryer than usual and when using a product that contains water-binding active ingredients like hyaluronic acid. When you apply hyaluronic acid to dry skin, it can actually “suck out” the moisture, which is why some people complain about the drying effect of hyaluronic acid serum. The product is really good for hydrating the skin, but proper application is very important. With extremely sensitive skin it may be necessary to start with a slower absorption rate (apply to dry skin) to give it time to adjust and recover. Test it on your skin first.

The secret weapon of skin care – high-quality vegetable oils preventing dehydration

Occlusive agents prevent transepidermal water loss. Vegetable oils, fats, squalane, and beeswax are natural occlusive agents. These components help to control water evaporation from the skin, making them a must-have in your skincare routine! The oil “traps” the water and makes the skin softer. Because mature skin produces less oil as it ages, it’s critical to use a high-quality facial oil to maintain a protective barrier. In addition to ageing processes, the lipid layer of the skin is also damaged by soaps, alcohol, perfumes, and harsh weather conditions. The lipids relevant to the stratum corneum in vegetable oils are also crucial – fatty acids keep your skin’s protective layer healthy and strong.

Lipophilic elements dissolve very easily in the stratum corneum of the skin’s surface layer, but further absorption of the oil is blocked because the fluid between the epidermis cells is hydrophilic. According to a study comparing the absorption of mineral, jojoba, almond, avocado, and soybean oils into the skin, none of these oils penetrated past the first 2-3 layers of corneocytes. Only almond and soybean oils made it to the third layer; all other oils stayed on the skin’s surface or only made it to the first two levels. It is also important to know the composition of the oil that penetrates your skin. The authors of this study highlighted the importance of using vegetable oils instead of mineral oils. Vegetable oils are similar to the body’s lipids, therefore they are absorbed into the skin by an enzymatic breakdown. Furthermore, vegetable oils are rich in other beneficial cosmetic ingredients like the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. Whereas mineral oil is a very simple molecule with only two atoms: carbon and hydrogen. Instead of synthetic mineral oil, make sure your skin care product contains high-quality, unprocessed vegetable oils!

Water and water-based compounds – vegetable oil’s partners in crime

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of hydrating the skin. Most of the human body is water. It is no surprise that our skin needs water, not just vegetable oils. We frequently hear that high-quality skin oils are used, yet the result is still dryness… People think the product is to blame – it doesn’t deliver on its promises. In reality, it is vital to use all products correctly, keeping in mind our personal needs and skin condition.

A strong barrier can keep moisture in, but it is usually not enough because of our lifestyle and sometimes poor skin care. As a result, lacking moisture-producing substances, the skin needs more hydration. Moisture-binding agents are used for this, the most well-known is hyaluronic acid, which can bind many times its weight in water. Because this water is mostly extracted from the skin and rarely from the environment, it is essential to apply moisture-binding substances on wet skin! Now, lets talk about the molecular weight of hydrating compounds. Compounds with different molecular weights can penetrate different skin layers. The larger ones remain in the skin’s top layer, which is also very important. We don’t need only low molecular weight substances; we also need compounds with a variety of molecular weights!

Now that we know that our skin includes both water and fatty acids, we can see why a combination of cream and oils, rather than just a facial oil, is effective in skin care.

Read more about it – Magic of smoothies – combine all that is good for your skin

Sources: Imbi Smidt, University of Tartu, Research Fellow in Medical Microbiology, “Advanced Skin Science”, Herb & Hedgerow Ltd. 2015

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