We all know that some skin conditions have a psychological dimension. And we aren’t referring to going red when we feel ashamed or breaking out in a sweat from fear. Acne, psoriasis and even certain kinds of warts may be psychological in origin and, according to psychodermatologists, can be treated with hypnosis, relaxation, meditation or psychotherapy.
Some 10 years ago, a Harvard Medical School article launched a debate about the effectiveness of what is called psychodermatology. Can psychological therapy cure a skin problem? North American and European psychodermatologists think so, and, for many years, have defended the validity of their theories and therapies based on linking the psyche with the skin. Just to make it clear, we are referring to dermatologists and psychiatrists who use relaxation, meditation and hypnosis, that is, people with medical degrees. A doctor’s diagnosis is essential before any therapy. Read More
Manufacturers promise flawless skin if we use cosmetics that they claim penetrate the skin and improve cell functioning. And yes, of course they do penetrate – but to what depth? The skin’s outermost layer, specially designed to act as a barrier, is formed of nearly impermeable tissue. So, how can cosmetics penetrate the skin?
No cosmetic active ingredient has yet been invented that crosses the epidermal barrier and penetrates deep into the skin. In fact, a substance that appears to penetrate the dermis and hypodermis is most likely absorbed by the blood vessels. In that case it would be a drug, not a cosmetic active ingredient, because it affects metabolism. With nicotine patches applied to the skin, for instance, tiny nicotine molecules travel via the skin layers until they reach blood vessels. Does nicotine act on the skin on its way to the blood? The answer is no. Read More
Google has long since ceased to be a mere search engine. It is keeping one step ahead of scientific and technical developments, as evidenced by Google Glass and driverless cars. Now, in its Life Sciences division, it wants to change the traditional approach to medicine and observe the body from within. But to interpret the results, Google also had to recreate the body’s protective barrier, the skin.
Dr. Andrew Conrad, who heads the Google X Life Sciences team, wants to make medicine more proactive and preventive than episodic and reactive, so he is more interested in preventing people from getting sick than in curing them. His team is working on developing a wristband to detect cancer cells, heart problems and other diseases long before the first symptoms appear. The innovative wristband picks up the light emitted by nanoparticles inserted into the body by simple pills. The team didn’t think twice about developing artificial human skin. Read More
Our skin is equipped with the perfect machinery whose function is to retain water and prevent dehydration. The skin, a vital organ in our body, has the crucial function of protecting all the other organs within it. And it does so through a complex network of molecules called the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which ensures a delicately balanced epidermis, despite environmental variations in humidity and temperature.
When we are born our skin is already equipped to stay hydrated and protected from UV rays. Time and environmental aggressions wear down the skin’s mantle, with the result that we lose the water-retaining capacity in some of the beneficial substances in the skin, which should contain some 10% to 15% water. If the water level falls to under 10%, dry skin problems develop: the skin becomes brittle, rough and dull and is more prone to eczema and infections. How can we ensure that the skin retains a minimum of water? Read More