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The first barrier opposed by skin to external attacks is the corneal layer, namely that epidermic part made up of those cells that, though having finished their life cycle, still have a function. As a matter of fact, it is just thanks to the corneal layer that the normal moisture level of the skin keeps being integral and firm also in the deepest layers. Thus, skin cells become a "laboratory" that produces amino acids and sugars (all substances produced by the natural degradation of the cutis itself) combining themselves with mineral salts, lactic acid and urea, specifically produced by sweating. From this process arises the skin natural moisture factor (the so-called NMF), a sort of "beauty cream" that remains on the cutis surface for a better protection. The natural moisture factor is able to recall water and keep its level constant. The permanence on the skin of the NMF is favoured by fat - i.e. lipid substances - produced by sebaceous glands. But cold, wind and inclement climatic conditions decrease just this production. With the synergic action of these factors the cutaneous natural hydration quotient suffers a general impoverishment, exposing the skin to the negative action exerted by weather and low temperatures. Moreover, cold compels our body to lower suddenly its temperature with consequent increase of water evaporation from the skin surface. The first consequence of this process is represented by dehydration and, if the water percentage of the corneal layer falls below the safety marks (10%), the skin "pulls", chaps and becomes rough. That is why in winter our skin appears drier and more fragile. Namely older. SUDDEN TEMPERATURE CHANGES, POLLUTION, LIGHT AND FREE RADICALS It is a fact by now that low temperatures cause an increase in smog and, more generally, in environmental pollution. Nevertheless, it is necessary to rememeber that also skin suffers from these situations and, maybe more than other parts of our body, it is victim of a dangerous binomial: pollution and sun rays. In fact, smog and atmospheric dusts increase the production of free radicals, i.e. body substances that cause and accelerate aging processes. Besides this, in the atmosphere there are UVA rays, namely the main cause of the so-called photo-aging, that means cutaneous photo-damage. This sort of rays penetrate into the deepest dermal layers and attack directly the pillars of our cutis: collagen and elastin, i.e. the two substances that assure elasticity and turgor to cutaneous layers. And it is just during the winter and in the polluted atmosphere of the large cities that UVA rays - together with smog and dusts - carry at best their activity; so that our skin, exposed without adequate protection, can be the first victim of their combined action. COLD AND AGE BETWEEN TWENTY AND THIRTY THE IMPORTANT THING IS MOISTURE Young skin in winter needs a surplus of nourishment, whatever it may be its typology: tendentially mixed, fat, dry or sensitive. Of course, the product must be chosen according to the skin type, but there is a basic rule: it must be never forgotten. Therefore in the morning, after facial cleansing, first apply the moisturizer, then the make-up. In the evening never forget a nourishing and restoring night cream, ideal to give the skin that further touch of hydration that the rigours of cold may have taken away. Another danger not to be neglected in case of cold is that the flesh-colour may become greyish. The cutis appears dull, not very vital, opaque. And this... just because of the poor oxygenation of the most superficials dermal layers that have become sluggish due to cold temperatures. A good remedy for this may be a completely natural cunning: in the morning, just as washing your face, get into the habit of applying some moisturizing toner with a small sponge or a soft brush of natural bristle. This will help to restore the correct blood circulation and will give you immediately a fresh and healthy aspect. As to the moisturizer formulation, the modern cosmetic science offers very much. In the first place two by now fundamental substances: collagen and elastin, that represent the basic elements of cutaneous elasticity and turgor. Our skin needs them in winter, also cosmetically, more than ever. Furthermore hyaluronic acid, a gelly component with cementating virtues that helps cutaneous support structures keeping integral and in excellent form. It is ideal also on the threshold of the thirties, when the youngest skin needs... an extra help, too. from thirty to forty-five DANGER OF REDDENINGS With the years our skin becomes gradually poor and loses its optimal content of lipids and fat substances produced by sebaceous glands. In case of low temperatures this happens even more, therefore it is useful to compensate such an inconvenience with specific cosmetics rich in rehydrating substances, i.e. components as amino acids (fundamental molecules of living structures and constituent of proteins) or ceramides, glycolipidic molecules (that is made of sugars and fats) preserving the cohesion capacity among the cells of the cutaneous structure. The progressive thinning of skin due to aging, in the event of low temperatures can also cause reddenings and cutaneous troubles as couperose. In this case it is very important to use anti-couperose products that soothe reddened and irritated skin restoring energy and vitality. Often they consist, besides of vitamins as E and F, also of natural components as hamamelis and bilberry extracts that work directly on the capillary functionality and cutaneous microcirculation. In the end, be careful of light. The damages of photo-aging begin just at this age but show themselves only later, namely after forty. Then, never forget - also in winter - the UVA filter in base creams and moisturizers. from forty-five up CREAMS WITH "LIFTING" EFFECT The skin, already marked and impoverished by the years from forty up, must be protected in the cold through a specific and determined action. Therefore, ideal for this purpose are the products with "lifting effect", that drain facial features by supplying nourishing and elasticizing substances and help to relax the epidermis and make it look younger and more vital. Today cosmetic liftings offer many advantages. First of all, they have a draining action that deeply regenerates and tonifies tissues by eliminating toxin and liquid accumulations, that may compromise their aspect and tone. Among the products of the latest generation, a very used substance is aminokine, able to strengthen the action of glycans, i.e. the components of the deepest skin layers from where wrinkles originate. Furthermore, just because of the increase of cutaneous dryness and decrease of hydration, cold can make expression signs, acne residues or scars and dark spots more evident. In these cases a very new substance can be used: it is called Thioline and allows a bleaching action of the skin from the first applications. There are two versions of it - as a cream and in the form of a pen to be applied directly where needed - and since 2001 it replaces hydrochinone, that is the anti-spot substance "forbidden" by the new cosmetic laws in force. Besides eliminating progressively signs of the time and cutaneous spots, this substance assures the supply of moisture and nourishment to the most stressed and aged skins.