Category Archives: Actives

Allantoin – A Natural Skin Smoother

 

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

Beer Shampoo

beer shampoo

Dark beer is best for a beer shampoo

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

Astringents

astringents

Witch hazel is the best known astringent.

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

Placental Protein – Should You Seek Out Products Containing It?

Placental Protein - Should You Seek Out Products Containing It?

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.

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Vitamin C Derivatives

Vitamin C Derivatives

Lemons – a cure for freckles

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.

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Vitamin E in Skincare

tocopherol

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

What Are The Risks of Combining Dihydroxyacetone and Dimethyl Isosorbide in Self Tans?

Combining Dihydroxyacetone and Dimethyl Isosorbide

Hi Colin,

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.

Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!

Hope to hear from you soon,

Charlene Continue reading

Glycation and Skin Ageing

glycation

Nobody knows exactly why we age.  One popular theory is that staying alive is simply too hard to keep it up for long.  We have large and complicated bodies full of intricate chemicals, all of which are under constant attack from oxygen in the atmosphere.  It is a bit like a ship in the middle of the ocean. Holes keep springing in the hull.  We can patch them up, but eventually the whole thing gets beyond repair and the ship sinks.   Continue reading

Q10 – Does It Work?

Q10

The pace of scientific advance over the last couple of centuries has been astonishing. Innovations have poured out of laboratories and workshops transforming our lives forever. Very few of the new ideas that have shaped the modern world have avoided at some stage being used as marketing stories by the cosmetic industry. One of the most extraordinary mismatches between the science and what marketing departments do with it is Q10. Continue reading

Is Retinol About To Be Banned In Cosmetics?

retinol-banned-in-cosmetics

Eggs-Rich Source of Vitamin A

Retinol is one of a number of vitamin A derivatives that is used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.  When I wrote about it last time I glossed over one of its drawbacks.  Along with the rest of the vitamin A family overdosing can have some very serious health issues. Vitamin A is fat soluble and as such it is possible for it to build up in the body’s fat deposits. In extreme cases this can lead to birth defects. Continue reading