In dialogue with the skin

Prof. Dr. med. Urs Pohlman


Urs Pohlman, the founder and developer of the anannéActive ingredient cosmetics, it is important to do something good for the skin in the long term. In this blog post, the expert explains the properties of our skin and how a dermatologist enters into a dialogue with it.

Our largest organ

The skin is the largest organ in the human organism. As a doctor of integrative medicine, I would like to take this into account and have been in close dialogue with the skin for many years.

The skin is not only our largest but also the most “natural” organ, which means that we take many things for granted without thinking deeply about function and performance. The skin «just works». This also plays a role in the care of the skin. Like many things that seem obvious, the skin is often underestimated, downright "overlooked". It forms its surface with aroandtwo square meters (for a normal-sized adult) and carries a multitude of vital functions in a tight space.

It forms the boundary of the organism to the outside world, is a sensory organ, serves to regulate temperature and is an important link in the immune system. A trained eye can read so much on the skin that one can almost speak of a window into the interior of the organism. As a practicing doctor, I also analyze the skin of the face when taking anamnesis, as emotions (tension) and skin diseases, especially in the face, are closely linked to visible physiological and psychological impulses.

A face can speak volumes

The face itself is a unique region of the body. No living being expresses itself through its face like humans. The mobility of the face is used for expression and communication.

It is therefore natural to pay special attention to the skin of the face. It is noticeable that skin diseases have increased significantly in the population over the past few decades and that this correlates with apparently better care for “civilized and prosperous” societies. Some reasons for this are already known - for example insufficient sun protection or incorrect care - and could be remedied relatively easily. This requires a certain change in behavior, comparable to the sensitivity to the quality and origin of food, which has already made significant progress in most population groups.

Most behaviors do not require much effort. Much becomes immediately understandable if you know something about your own skin and its function or simply pay more attention to it in daily care. So it is only justified that as a consumer you have a right to know what is in the wide range of care products.

Skin type and condition

The skin is an independent organ like the kidneys, heart and lungs. It is a marvel of nature and it just works. In dermatology, a distinction is made between skin type and skin condition, which are influenced by external and internal influences.

The skin is closely correlated with the digestive system: if something is wrong in the marginal intestinal tract, this can be felt and seen, for example, through impure or easily inflamed skin.

That is why it is important to pay special attention to your skin when it comes to caring for itSkin typeand theSkin conditionto analyze and know.

With theSkin type the genetic disposition is also referred to taking into account the respective age. When classifying the skin type, we orientate ourselves on the amount of the pigment melanin individually produced in the skin. Melanin absorbs UV light and prevents UV light from penetrating the dermis (= deeper layer of skin).

However, the melanin stored in the skin cannot completely absorb UV light. The natural protection time is called differently for each skin type.


Skin color

hair colour



Natural protection time


Very bright

Light blonde,


Blue, green, light gray

Spread freckles

hardly any tanning

< 10 Minuten




light brown

Blue green,


Often freckles,

little browning

10-20 minutes

Mixed type


Light to dark brown, black

Blue, green, gray, brown, dark

Slow tanning,

light brown tones

20-30 minutes


Brownish, olive-colored

Brown to black


Quick tan,

medium browns

> 60 minutes




Dark to black

Quick tan,

dark browns

> 60 minutes


Dark brown to black



Barely noticeable increase in pigmentation

> 90 minutes


theSkin conditionresults from the current situation of the organism (endogenous = coming from within) and the external (exogenous) variable factors. We usually differentiate between the so-called T-zone (forehead and nose) and the cheek area. The characteristics can be differently pronounced and vary depending on factors such as climate or hormone status.

Of course, the quantity and quality of sebum production and the disposition of each individual also play a significant role. The skin condition is a snapshot that can return to normal or intensify after the factors have changed.

Skin condition




Uncomplicated, balanced, rather dry in winter


Combination skin

Oily T-zone, dry cheeks



Increased sebum production, larger skin pores and thicker skin texture



Delicate and fine-pored, low sebum production, weak ability to bind with water



Redness, swelling, eczema

Very high

(from 45 years)

Deeper formation of lines and wrinkles, decreasing elasticity and noticeable loss of elasticity, disturbance of the even distribution of melanin (age spots)

Very high


In skin care from anannéwe also speak of phytomedicine. That means that you work with herbal ingredients. I find it fascinating that plants produce certain substances that are related to processes in humans and have a positive effect on them.

The different layers of skin

Three layers can be distinguished in the skin: the visible epidermis, the dermis underneath and the deeper subcutaneous tissue. The superficial epidermis, the underlying dermis and the deeper subcutis. Each layer has special properties and functions. The skin includes various glands (sebum and sweat glands) and all hair, fingernails and toenails.

What initially looks like a multitude of different details is rather a finely coordinated ensemble of processes that balance and mediate between the internal state of the organism and the conditions of the environment. In sum, all processes result in the maintenance of the entire organism and this by stabilizing the equilibrium of all life processes of the organism. The skin has an astonishing ability to buffer deviations or stressful situations and thus to keep the organism stable.


It is also called the epidermis or cornea and is, in addition to mechanical protection, for theMoisture regulationresponsible.

It regulates the loss of water through the skin, thetrans-epitherlial water loss, which is an important guide for complementary skin care. If the water loss is higher than the moisture coming from the dermis, the surface of the skin dries out. The horny layer of the skin then hardens in places or can even tear because it loses its elasticity when dried out.

This layer is not supplied with blood and its lower layers are supplied with nutrients by the underlying cell layers of the dermis.

The epidermis shows a slightly acidic environment around a pH of 5.5, which varies slightly from person to person. Settle on the epidermisbacteria. These bacteria do not damage the skin, but on the contrary protect it from the settlement of potentially harmful germs. They keep the supply of nutrients low, so that foreign bacteria find relatively unfavorable life factors. In this way, they stabilize the skin environment and are part of the immune system.


It is also called corium or dermis. The main functions of the dermis include the absorption of sensory stimuli and the metabolism, but above all temperature regulation. theAbsorption and processing of nutrients and regenerative processes
in the cells play a central role in this skin layer. A network made of elastic connective tissue fibers and theCollagen, forms the basic structure of the dermis. It is supplied with blood through finely branched veins, a capillary network.

In this layer comes thehyaluronic acid naturally produced in the bodywhich are types of sugar that bind water and thus have a volume-filling property. The hyaluronic acid is one of the substances that fill the skin relief from the inside.


The subcutaneous tissue consists of a loose network of connective tissue in which mainly fat cells are stored, with one betweenConstruction greaseund Depot fatdiffers.

Depot fat are food reserves, while the construction fat has functional properties (for example in the cushioning in the sole of the foot) and is anatomically broken down by the body very late, even in phases of hunger. The heat-insulating property of body fat has an important function, especially in cold living environments (for example in northern latitudes).

Structurally, the subcutaneous tissue is not very complex and is closely related to the metabolism of the entire organism, the digestion. The organism stores energy reserves in the depot fat.

There are also gender-specific differences in the subcutis, on the one hand in the fat distribution visible on the different body types and on the other hand in the influence of the "female" hormoneestrogenon the tissue structure. This hormonal effect is ultimately shown in theCellulitewhich predominantly affect women.

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