This feels like the end of a chapter.
December 21, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued draft guidance recommending a limit of no more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of lead as an impurity in cosmetic lip products (such as lipsticks, lip glosses, and lip liners) and externally applied cosmetics (such as eye shadows, blushes, compact powders, shampoos, and body lotions).
So now at last we have the issue of lead in lipstick settled. This will now become a de facto world standard. Nobody wants to make stuff that is illegal in the US even if they don’t plan to sell in the US. And I imagine that the EU will quietly add this requirement to the EU legislation at some point anyway. Continue reading
Good stuff, but don’t overdo it
A striking news story today about an accidental overdose of caffeine at a UK university. The students were given 30g of caffeine instead of 0.3g – a very significant error. Apparently they did the calculations on a mobile phone and got the decimal point in the wrong place. This is a remarkably easy mistake to make. People who need to make sure they weigh things out correctly, cosmetic chemists included, take some trouble to make sure that they do this correctly. In this case the students were lucky things weren’t a lot worse. According to the account of the trial 18g has been enough to be fatal in the past. I have actually experienced something a little similar though much less serious. Continue reading
Is standing up a lot a good idea? The claimed health benefits for standing rather than sitting are quite impressive. According to juststand.org excessive sitting is causing “obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease. ” Continue reading
Among the many things I try to cram into my schedule is a newsletter for people with sensitive skin. I am not very successful at doing this I am afraid, and I don’t get the newsletters out very frequently. But despite this I get a steady stream of people talking to me about their issues with reactions to cosmetics. In particular, to preservatives. And particularly in particular to methylisothiazolinone. Continue reading
Charcoal – Skin Purifier?
In recent years a lot of people have started making their own cosmetics. There are quite a few places online where they discuss their progress, and it makes interesting reading from my perspective. Having done it for a living for several decades it is interesting seeing what people find interesting and what they find difficult. Continue reading
Do you need this stuff on your skin?
Caffeine has been a cosmetic ingredient for a long time, and you’ll find a jar of it on the shelves of most cosmetic development laboratories. There are three things it gets used for. There are the so called body sculpting products. The idea behind these is that you apply them to parts of your body that have more fat than you’d like. The caffeine stimulates fat burning, so you can get rid of the fat in the areas you don’t like it. Keep it up and you can change the shape of your body to something you like the look of. It is also used to improve the tone of the skin. It is supposed to stimulate energy production in the upper layers of the skin. This again uses the breakdown of fat, but in this case to release energy to improve the look of the skin. And finally it is used in shampoos to stimulate hair growth.
Do elderberries hold the secret to curing dark circles around the eyes?
We’ve all seen and may well have actually experienced the dark marks that you sometimes get around the eyes. They are known as dark marks, dark circles and spider veins. They vary in colour – they can be black, blue or purple. The cause of them is that the skin is particularly thin on this part of the face. This makes the blood capillaries there particularly prone to damage, both as a result of rubbing them and to things that affect the size and permeability of the blood vessels. The result is that blood cells can get out of the blood stream and accumulate into this dark coloured structures. The spidery appearance is due to them following the lines of the capillaries. Having got there they can trigger an inflammatory response making the skin puffy as well. Continue reading
I am signed up to the e-mails the FDA sends out about product recalls in the US. I am on the lookout for anything that might affect the cosmetic industry, but most of the time cosmetics don’t even get a mention. There really aren’t too many ways you can get cosmetics that wrong. But I still come across a few interesting stories, including a couple of reports lately of lead cropping up in food. The latest is a couple of batches of turmeric that have been withdrawn by the supplier because of what they describe as excessive lead levels. Continue reading
I know a lot of people who read my blog are themselves bloggers. If you are, well now is the time to enjoy a brief moment of smugness. As most of us know blogging is not a lucrative thing to do. The monetary rewards barely cover the costs of the coffee to keep you awake late at night looking for spelling errors in your latest opus. So it is quite nice to discover that writing regularly does have some health benefits. Continue reading
Doctors in arms race with antibiotic resistant superbugs
As I write this, this news isn’t being widely reported. A bacteria has been found in the United States that is resistant to the last antibiotic left in the arsenal. There is now no longer any antibiotic available that bacteria can’t survive. This is certainly bad news – though not unexpected bad news. Resistance to antibiotics has been a problem since antibiotics came into use. The more widely antibiotics are used, the bigger the problem becomes. While this is an unpleasant milestone to pass, it doesn’t actually mean that the problem is suddenly bigger than it was. The laws of natural selection are hard to dodge, and bacteria have many tricks up their sleeves to defend themselves. Continue reading