icon FAZ - Prof. Dr. Steinkraus
Drop element here!

Interview with Volker Steinkraus

Herr Steinkraus, Anfang der Nullerjahre haben Sie in Zusammenarbeit mit einem Schweizer Kosmetikhersteller eine erste Hautpflegeserie auf den Markt gebracht, SBT. Sie sollte der Hautalterung entgegenwirken. Im vergangenen Jahr folgte eine Serie unter Ihrem eigenen Namen. Warum jetzt der Alleingang?  

Although I was one of the heads of the concept for this series, I did not have any significant influence on decisions regarding the content. Since an enormous amount has happened in skin care in the past 20 years, I was attracted by the task of creating a new care concept for which I would be solely responsible and to which I would contribute my experience with new technologies.

Beide Linien gehören in den Bereich der sogenannten Doctor-Brands, Gesichtspflege vom Dermatologen. Wie unterscheidet sich die neue Serie von dem, was es schon gibt?  

My care is based on four components: the classic vitamins A, C and E, the natural protective shield niacin, plant oils with a high nourishing effect and biomimetics. These are substances from nature that are among the most exciting and valuable building blocks of scientific research, because they imitate nature and thus harness modes of action that have proven themselves over thousands of years. The line is free of silicones, acrylates and microplastics. These are all substances that are often used as softeners or to seal the skin. But actually the skin can't do anything with them. The products are realistic in effect and price.

What do you mean?

Skincare is important, but it should not be overrated. We can't cream away wrinkles, you have to resort to other measures if that's what you want. My face cream costs 58 euros, which is not cheap, but affordable.

Die SBT-Linie, hinter der Sie standen, war, mit etwa 100 Euro für eine Creme, fast doppelt so teuer.  

In recent years, I have come to the conclusion that skincare and especially all the so-called doctor brands are overpriced. Skincare is not a luxury, but a commodity.

Jetzt stehen bei Ihnen Seren im Mittelpunkt: Es gibt ein Vitamin-A-Serum, ein Vitamin-C-Serum und ein Hyaluron-Serum. Warum so viele?  

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, as well as vitamin C slow down the ageing process of the skin, as proven by many years of scientific studies. Over the years, new approaches have been found, but in the end, one always ends up with vitamin A and vitamin C again. Vitamin A is a small lipophilic molecule that passes well through the skin. Vitamin C is a bit more complicated because it oxidises quickly, which inactivates it, and it's hydrophilic, so it doesn't penetrate the skin quite as easily. Therefore, you have to significantly increase the concentration of the active ingredient to achieve a certain penetration. Vitamin A and C are the brackets, so to speak, to promote collagen formation and push the skin.

In welcher Reihenfolge raten Sie, diese Seren zu verwenden?  

Vitamin A should be taken in the evening before going to bed because it is sensitive to light. Consequently, the morning is free for the vitamin C serum. I do not recommend using both sera at the same time. Using a lot in parallel only helps the cosmetics industry, not the skin. I am a fan of monotherapy. The sera are of high quality and should not be interfered with other active ingredients. Unfortunately, it is still a myth to believe that the more we do for our skin, the better. The opposite is true.

But, following your advice, should the hyaluron serum be used in addition?

Hyaluron is an active ingredient that binds a lot of water and can be combined in any form without hesitation. Vitamins A and C are the long-distance runners, hyaluron is the short-distance runner, uncomplicated and well-tolerated, the best moisture booster. When you apply hyaluron, you look better in the short term because a lot of water is bound in the skin. And because a lot of water is bound, the wrinkles disappear for a short time. This is a great booster effect and nice if you have something special in mind. But hyaluron is definitely not an anti-ageing agent.

Eine Pflege kann also den Alterungsprozess nicht aufhalten. Was kann man Ihrer Erfahrung nach tun, um weniger schnell zu altern? 

Having good skin is always an overall concept. It starts with enough sleep, a healthy diet, enough exercise to activate the blood circulation in the skin. The psyche also plays an important role, how happy I am in my relationship, how satisfied I am in my job. A positive attitude can sometimes have more effect than a cream. Skincare is only one building block in this mosaic, albeit an undoubtedly important one. But always in moderation. Most people do far too much.

What do you suggest to your patients?

I always say: find a few selected products and use them for at least three months, that's a realistic time frame you need to see any effect at all. You can't compare skincare with a high blood pressure pill, where you see an improvement the very next day.

Was passiert, wenn man zu viel macht? 

Our skin is not made to be greased, oiled and creamed from morning to night. The skin itself does a naturally good job, so it shouldn't be constantly disturbed from the outside. This starts with the fact that many people now shower twice a day. The frequent use of shower gel and other cleansing products unnecessarily disrupts the skin's natural barrier. It is also a misconception to think that you have to constantly moisturise your skin with oily creams. This only overloads it and often causes acne-like inflammations, especially on the face.

Aber gibt es nicht Situationen, in denen die Haut Unterstützung von außen braucht? 

Healthy skin depends on many factors. First of all, it depends on your skin type. Am I more the Mediterranean type or the one with pale skin and lots of freckles? Do I spend a lot of time in the sun or in extreme cold? The skin cannot always regulate itself. If the general conditions are difficult, it needs support from the outside. But it is safe to say that the more external stress factors affect the skin, the sooner it needs support.

Was ist an der Weisheit dran, bei trockener Haut helfe viel zu trinken? 

Unfortunately, this is a misconception. If you drink two litres more, only a fraction reaches the skin. The skin is insufficiently connected to our blood circulation, it is unfortunately on the periphery, unlike the heart, muscles and kidneys. That's why I think it's important to pay more attention to the skin from around the age of 30, even from the outside.

Jede zweite Frau behauptet, sie habe trockene Haut. Wie lässt sich das eigentlich feststellen? 

The most important question is: Is my skin rather non-oily and dry? Or rather oily and moist? Low-oil-dry or oily-moist, these are essentially the two skin types. I have developed three face creams for this. For someone who doesn't need much, there is a light lotion. For very dry skin, a water-in-oil emulsion.

Wie sieht es mit der Empfehlung aus, dass man immer bei einer Pflegelinie bleiben sollte? 

That is complete nonsense. You have to say goodbye to this topic. Skincare should not be missionary, please. If you have a great cleanser, why should I advise you to use something from my range? You can combine any product with any. Everything else is marketing.

Aber eine gewisse Reihenfolge gibt es doch? 

Absolutely, the rule of following the order is of elementary importance. If you use a serum, the skin must be cleansed beforehand. Through the contact with water, the stratum corneum soaks up water for a short time and is therefore particularly well conditioned for the absorption of care products. It's like applying cream after showering, which also works better than on dry skin.

Nochmal zurück zu Vitamin A und Vitamin C. Gerade bei Vitamin A, also Retinol, wird immer wieder davor gewarnt, dass es bei einer übertriebenen Dosierung zu Hautirritationen kommt. Welche Dosierung empfehlen Sie? 

Vitamin C has hardly any irritative potential, at most it tingles a little on the skin, like sherbet powder. With vitamin A it is actually a little different. It can irritate the skin at the beginning, but in the end almost every skin tolerates it, with the exception of very sensitive rosacea skin. As a rule of thumb, I like to recommend a gradual application: every third evening for three weeks, then every second evening for three weeks, and from the seventh week onwards every evening. However, there are also people with uncomplicated skin who can use vitamin A every evening from day one.

Your new care is unisex. Is it also a myth that men's skin has different needs?

Again, this is mostly clever marketing and industry justification to launch new products and generate growth. A man's skin is somewhat thicker, and the proportions of estrogen and androgen are naturally different between the sexes. However, male skin cells are no different than female skin cells. The only aspect that speaks against unisex care is perfuming. Here, women definitely have different ideas than men. But since the trend is more and more towards unscented products, this argument is no longer comprehensible.

Ihre Gesichtspflegecremes haben keinen Lichtschutzfaktor. Ist das noch zeitgemäß? 

Why should I smear chemical formulas and similar filters on my skin if I don't need them at all? You don't usually need sunscreen to go to the office. Instead, you should always have a sunscreen in your handbag in case the sun suddenly comes out and you want to sit down in the street café. Of course, the skin should not be exposed to the sun unprotected for long periods of time, but here, too, I advocate a return to moderation and balance. Sun is also something beautiful and, incidentally, good for our soul.

Also ein separater Sonnenschutz? 

Exactly, we have just launched a sunscreen with a very high level of protection. I don't think much of the routine use of chemical filters in daily skincare. You need sun protection when you are in the sun. There are many factors to consider: What is my state of acclimatisation to the sun? In September, in our latitudes, the skin is usually not as sensitive as in April or May. Then it depends on what skin type I am, at what time of day and at what altitude I am exposed to the sun and how close I am to the equator. A reflective environment with snow or water must also be taken into account.

What influence does alcohol have on the skin and the ageing process?

This is a difficult question. Who would want to do without a glass of good red wine or champagne? There is nothing against alcohol in moderation. But unfortunately it has to be said that regular consumption of alcohol is bad for cells and organs, because alcohol is toxic to cells. People who are in good shape into old age are not those who drink excessively, smoke or are very overweight. In the end, it is always about maintaining a healthy body weight, eating well and promoting a balanced vegetative rhythm with exercise and good sleep cycles.