I was drinking my tea this morning and having a quick look at the news on my phone. I nearly spat the former out over the latter in shock when I saw the headline. It read “UK could allow animal testing for cosmetic ingredients for first time since 1998”. My initial reaction was that this was completely insane. Surely the last thing the UK needs is to align itself with anything so unpopular. Any idea this stupid should be buried so deep that only the development of new fracking techniques would enable it be dug out again.
Reading the article it turned out that the headline was significantly at odds with what is actually going on.
I’ve covered before the cases where Johnson and Johnson have had huge damages awarded against them. This is due to the suggestion that the talc they sell contains asbestos, and that this has increased the risk of users getting cancer as a result.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cannabidiol is being treated by everyone on the business as the next big thing. It is getting media coverage as a treatment for mental health problems, so its connection to personal care isn’t that obvious. But if you think logic has anything to do with this sort of thing, well you haven’t been paying attention. Anything with a bit of a buzz around it is good enough. In fact there is a reasonably good case for cannabidiol being of some use on the skin. If it can affect receptors in the brain there is a pretty good chance that will do the same to receptors in the skin which could be beneficial for pain and itch. We don’t have any data to back this up yet, but that isn’t the kind of detail that troubles the folk who are looking to get ahead in a crowded market.
At time of writing everyone is talking about cannabidiol and there are lots of projects going on. A few pioneering skus have hit the shelves, but it is far from mass market yet. I predict that by this time next year there will be CBD variations of most of the major brands and maybe even a couple of new ones.
You can’t avoid social media in the beauty business. And you can’t avoid the big four platforms – Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. All of them are used by brands to communicate their offerings, and consumers to find and react to those offerings. You also need to use them to promote yourself if you offer a service. I have a business so that is obvious, but I’d argue that if you have a job you need to promote your services as well. Continue reading →