Category Archives: Health

Health is closely related to beauty – if you look healthy you generally look good as well as feeling good.

Caffeine Overdose

caffeine overdose

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 Healthier Than Sitting?

Is Standing Healthier Than Sitting?

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

Colour Codes For Preservatives

Colour Codes For PreservativesAmong 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 As A Skin Cleanser

Charcoal As A Skin Cleanser

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

Is It Time To Free Cosmetics Of Caffeine?

Is It Time To Free Cosmetics Of Caffeine?

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.

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Elderberry Extract for Dark Circles Around The Eyes?

Elderberry Extract for Dark Circles Around The Eyes

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

Lead In Turmeric – Should We Worry?

lead in tumeric

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

Blogging Makes You Healthy

 blogging makes you healthy

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

Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs Will Kill Us All

Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs Will Kill Us All

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

Who Does The Research On Cosmetic Safety?

who does the research on cosmetic safety who does the research on cosmetic safety

I get a steady stream of enquiries from journalists. Their questions are usually fairly similar.  They ask about the safety of cosmetics, and lose interest quite rapidly when I tell them that they are in fact safe.  “Stuff you’ve never worried about before is still nothing to worry about” is not really the makings of a great headline.  But I did get one that was a bit more interesting than most the other day.  Who does the research on cosmetic safety?  Obviously, there might be a story if all the research on cosmetic ingredients is carried out by cosmetic companies, or paid for by them, then maybe something sinister is being hidden.  Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy? Continue reading