I have blogged before about collagen, and how it is one of the keys to understanding skin ageing. I’ve also pointed out that this hasn’t so far translated into effective skin care products. Basically collagen, and its cousin elastin, are the proteins that give your skin its lithe springy behaviour. The collagen content is the biggest determinant of how old your skin looks and feels.Continue reading
Boy is this a hard book. In the Middle Ages scholars everywhere in Europe wrote in Latin. This meant they could be understood everywhere, but not by everybody. There is a lingering effect of this in that academic language relies heavily on words of Latin origin. This makes it difficult to read if you are not used to it. It does have a good reason for this of course – everyday language varies across the English speaking world and words have associations that can cloud their use and their meanings are continually changing. So you can see why that is how scientific papers are written. But it is still heavy going to plough through a whole bookful of it.Continue reading
I’m a chemist, and chemicals are my friends. So I always get a little upset when journalists pick on them. It’s particularly upsetting when it is the Guardian that is doing so. The Guardian has a reputation for being the most accurate of the UK newspapers, a reputation that in my experience is usually well founded. But they’ve let themselves down with an article exposing the presence of what they deem ‘forever chemicals’ in makeup. We should be worried because they are allegedly linked to cancer. The article calls them PFAs, but the more normal term is perfluorocarbons. I prefer it because there are other chemicals called PFAs, and it is easy to get confused.Continue reading
I’ve just got back from a brisk walk over the fields near where I live. You might wonder why I am troubling to tell you this. Read on, and all will become clear. A couple of days ago I was listening to the radio and the estimable Michael Mosely came on, telling us about a proposal that if you wanted to sleep well you should go for a walk early in the morning. There is something about being exposed to full daylight early on in the day that triggers off getting better sleep later on in that same day.
I’m at that age where I need to be careful about a lot of things I never used to give a second thought to. Well into my forties I had little to worry about with my weight. But since then I have found that left to itself, my stomach indulges in what used to be called middle aged spread. This bothers me mainly because my self image is someone who is thin. And indeed most of the rest of me is indeed thin. If my stomach expands it is all the more noticeable.Continue reading
On the whole suggestions for home made products to cope with medical emergencies that you find on the internet are a really bad idea. But as it happens, this one that has been circulating on social media isn’t too far off the mark. Vodka is basically alcohol – so as long as it is a brand with a fairly high content you are getting alcohol that will have the capability of sterilising your skin. You’d want a good brand. Cheaper ones with lower alcohol content won’t work as well. I like the idea of the aloe vera. It will offset the drying effect of the alcohol to some extent. I don’t think I’d put so much in though. It is diluting the alcohol from the vodka and reducing its effectiveness. The tea tree is a pretty good option too. It has well established antibacterial properties and will stay around to give some protection against further infection after the alcohol has evapourated.
There isn’t anything that really beats old fashioned soap and water for keeping your skin clean and clear of bacteria. This is comforting information. We’ve all got soap to hand so we can at least keep ourselves germ free at home. Soap has a double effect. Its cleaning action removes the invisible droplets that might contain infective material. Its high pH and disruptive effect on membranes put stress on microbes – killing or at least weakening them. This isn’t instantaneous: the medical profession recommend a 20 second contact time. Hands need to be kept clean to stop them transferring contamination to other parts of your body. So make sure that the whole hand gets the treatment. Pay attention the backs of the hands, the areas between your fingers and most importantly of all the space between your finger nails and the tips of your fingers.
One of the reasons for going green as a skincare brand is to acquire the halo effect that comes from being one of the good guys. Our continual experience of the real world is that nearly everything is a trade off and nothing is totally good or totally bad. But us humans still like to think of things in much more simple terms. We are inclined to think that if a brand has good values, it also has good products that do good things for you. We all do this, and no amount of logic seems capable of undoing it. I don’t think anyone doubts that many natural things are not safe. Plenty of synthetic things are perfectly harmless too. But nonetheless the words ‘safe and natural’ seem to belong together. So it is a bit surprising to find a company like Green People, which professes to be on the side of the angels in terms of its natural products, getting into hot water with the Advertising Standards Agency.
I don’t actually watch Love Island, but I do keep track of the rulings made by the Advertising Standards Agency. So when I saw that someone called Olivia Buckland had got into trouble with them, I hadn’t actually heard of her. Continue reading
There is a very serious and worthy video online made by the West Yorkshire police about the risks of medical creams that contain paraffin. I get what they are thinking. Policemen do of course look younger all the time, but no doubt there are still some that are old enough to remember paraffin heaters. These large but portable oil fired devices were a must to get through a cold English winter in the days before central heating. They might even remember the little paraffin burners with cotton wicks that were used in chemistry sets. I certainly do. So you can see why they might be worried. It really doesn’t sound like a good idea to get paraffin onto towels.
And they had an illustration of the risks involved when an elderly woman was involved in a house fire. It got out of hand and killed her. She suffered from a skin condition and had cream soaked towels around her at the time of the unfortunate incident.Continue reading