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.
Fashions come and go in the cosmetics and personal care world, and everyone is keen to be on the latest trend as soon as possible. The latest buzzy thing seems to be Cannabidiol or CBD. This has an interesting background, being a derivative of hemp which is also the source of cannabis – which has been a popular if illegal recreational pharmaceutical since the sixties. So CBD comes with ready made notoriety. But it is currently being sold not as a gateway into a counter culture, or even as an aid to relaxation, but as a substance with health benefits. Continue reading →
The rise of the Ordinary has stimulated the interest in cosmetic active ingredients. Or has the rise in interest in cosmetic active ingredients stimulated the rise of the Ordinary? It’s hard to say, and I dare say we’ll never know. But I now find myself reading beauty blogs where the bloggers are intensely interested in which of the ingredients are working and even how they actually work. Some are even going so far as to look at the research behind them. Continue reading →
Allantoin was in the news a couple of years back when some researchers made the rather astonishing discovery that it prolonged the life of some species of worm. This is the sort of thing that gets journalists excited and articles duly appeared. Whether or not this means we can extend our lives by taking it in pills is a bit outside my area of expertise, so I’ll pass on that one. But it did make my ears prick up because this is an ingredient I have been using since I first started formulating cosmetics over 30 years ago. It is one of the more useful things in the cosmetic chemist’s toolkit. Continue reading →
I have just seen a post on Facebook where someone is wondering about how much beer they need to put in a beer shampoo. They aren’t very sure – in fact they are considering anything between 5 and 50%. That’s a lot of beer! The only thing they are sure of is that they need to open the beer the day before to let it go flat. Continue reading →
A Twitter friend asks what an astringent is. And the answer is basically quite straight forward on one level. It is something that stings the skin and stimulates it to react. The easiest way to think about it is to consider the material that is most often used as an astringent, or at least most often used in conjunction with the word astringent, which is witchhazel. If you know what witchhazel does, then that is an astringent. The main experience I have had of witchhazel was having it applied to wounds and bruises as a kid. I was told then that it would clear away the germs and stimulate the skin so that the wounds or bruising would heal more quickly. Continue reading →
Placenta – is it as revolting as it looks? Yes it is.
My long term Twitter pal@just3nita asked me about placental protein. It seems to me that there is always somebody somewhere in the world putting something stupid into a cosmetic product. But in fact placental protein isn’t a particularly new idea. It has been around long enough for their to be an official EU monograph for it on its list of cosmetic ingredients. Here is how it is described –
Placenta, ext. Extractives and their physically modified derivatives such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, inorganic ions, etc. obtained from mammalian placenta.
I’ve written on my blog before about the benefits of vitamin C, and the difficulties of using it in cosmetic products. It is one of the few things that have any real beneficial effects on the skin. It reduces skin pigmentation making the skin look younger and evens out the tone of the skin. People noticed this effect long before anybody knew what vitamin C was, with lemon juice being a folk remedy for freckles.
Our bodies are engaged in a continual battle against oxygen. Oxygen breaks down anything complex. It makes fats go rancid. It cleaves and disorders proteins. It wrecks DNA. So basically our bodies are targets of oxygen molecules. We need to defend against them, and the workhorse of that defence is vitamin E. A third of the body’s vitamin E is located in the skin – which makes sense because that is where most of the oxygen is. Continue reading →
I’ve been a loyal reader of your blog for quite some time and enjoy the reliable advice you give as a professional. Therefore I would like your opinion on something that has been bothering me for a while.
I’m an avid user of fake tan (wear it basically all the time) and lately I’ve seen more and more formulas containing DMI (dimethyl isosorbide) as an “accelerator” or skin penetration enhancer. This promotes the absorption of DHA into the skin.
Now my question is whether this DMI also takes the DHA deeper into the skin and possibly even into the bloodstream. The reason I’m asking this is the fact that there have been a few scientific studies that have shown a link between DHA and free radicals or DNA damage. This worries me a bit and makes me wonder whether I should avoid fake tan products containing DMI.