This week we had the opportunity to talk to Dr. med. Lela Ahlemann about the importance of holistic skincare. Dr. Ahlemann is not only a dermatologist, but also a nutritionist and proctologist - making her an expert in the field of holistic skincare.
The conversation reveals exciting, scientific facts and findings about men's skin along with the right skincare routine for men.
So is there really a difference between men's and women's skin?
"As a man, you shouldn't steal your wife's, girlfriend's or sister's skincare, in fact men need specific skincare," says Dr. Ahlemann.
Thus, men's skin is anatomically and physiologically different from women's skin.
Anatomically, men's skin is 25% thicker than women's skin and has a higher collagen density, which makes the skin more collagen-rich. Men have less fatty tissue in the face but stronger muscles.
Physiologically, men have the hormone testosterone, meaning a higher level of androgenic male hormones. This hormone affects the oil production of the skin and makes the skin produce more sebum.
The combination of sebum and sweat can form a basis for acne bacteria, which is why men also get more acne during puberty under the influence of testosterone.
Dr. Ahlemann recommends: "For these reasons, men need a skincare regimen that ideally addresses the problem of oil and addresses the issues of moisture and skin barrier."
The importance of holistic skincare
"Whether it's sleep, diet, exercise or stress. The skin basically reflects a person's entire lifestyle," says Dr. Ahlemann, adding, "you can tell an incredible amount about a person's state of health from their skin."
So holistic skincare is not about adding the 5th and 6th step to one's daily skincare routine. Rather, it's being aware that all aspects of life can be reflected on the skin.
1. Sleep 😴
Everyone knows it. After a night of drinking, where you may not have had much sleep afterwards. The skin is sallow, you have dark circles under your eyes. The skin is dry and very poorly supplied with blood.
It is known that when we are chronically sleep-deprived, we have an increased level of cortisol in the blood. This increased stress in the blood leads to a decrease in cells that help the body fight the immune system. As a result, the skin barrier is completely weakened. It has increased water loss, loses more moisture and thus dries out.
As it dries out, it becomes inflamed. As it becomes inflamed, the collagen is destroyed. It's a vicious circle.
"You really can accelerate your skin ageing with sleep deprivation," adds Dr Ahlemann.
2. Exercise 🤸🏽♂️
Exercise stimulates blood circulation throughout the body, including the skin. This leads to a rosy skin tone, leaving the face looking vibrant and healthy.
Sport opens the pores and sebum can be excreted from the glands more frequently. This has a cleansing effect.
The cardiovascular system is positively influenced, the blood sugar level remains normal and the muscles active. Conversely, many diseases that can have a negative influence on the body and skin are prevented.
"When people start doing sports and thus reduce their weight, you can see quite extremely how much they visually rejuvenate themselves. The skin gets better blood circulation and looks healthy," adds Dr. Ahlemann.
3. NUTRITION 🍎You are what you eat. This also applies to our skin. Here, as well, everyone has their own personal experiences. With a poor diet, the skin becomes impure and oilier.
According to the expert, there is no "one diet" that can really be the same for everyone or that works the same for everyone. You really have to try it out for yourself.
For Dr. Ahlemann, however, it is of great importance to avoid sugar. Because sugar is a great harm to the skin and the immune system. She does not only mean sweets, but also, for example, starches and everything that is quickly and freely available.
In addition, it is important to avoid processed food. It is known that emulsifiers from processed food can cause massive damage to the intestinal flora, even making it seriously leaky.
"Besides what we leave out, it is also very important what we eat. And that should definitely be a balanced diet with as much of a plant-based focus as possible. That's what the studies say, especially for the skin. As little milk and dairy products as possible for the skin and as much fermented food as possible," says Dr. Ahlemann.
4. Stress 💆🏻♂️
Stress causes increased cortisol secretion, more adrenaline and increased inflammation levels in the blood, which can actually be measured in studies. Cortisol is a hormone that ensures that collagen is broken down. This means that the skin becomes thinner under the influence of collagen. Adrenaline causes vessels to contract, the skin's blood supply is reduced, the entire skin barrier and its defences are neglected because the body concentrates on central functions in stressful situations.
In addition, inflammation occurs - both in the skin and in other tissues. It has been scientifically proven that these inflammations additionally age the skin.