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 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
Being a formulation scientist I appreciate elegant formulations that have been carefully crafted to produce an elegant solution balancing all the competing requirements of elegance, efficacy and economy. But sometimes you just don’t need all that. This product is just a big jar of clay. A pound of the stuff in fact. But does it make up for its lack of sophistication in product development by snazzy marketing? Er, not really. It is called Indian Healing Clay evoking the sounds, smells and mystery of the sub-continent. But the pack is illustrated with what looks like an Aztec or Mayan pyramid. It’s not really considered polite to continue the old mistake of mixing up the indigenous populations of South America with those of somewhere else altogether. So it doesn’t look like this has been carefully thought out by a team of highly paid marketing professionals. I quite like the look, but as Mrs BeautyScientist always makes clear, I have no taste so this is a bad thing.
The EU has a rather Byzantine way of regulating cosmetics. The rules are set by the European Commission in Brussels. This is run by the commissioners, of whom there are 28 one from each state. They have what strikes me as quite a modest sized staff and they don’t employ any scientists specifically to look at cosmetics and indeed don’t have a department that dedicated to the industry. So the regulations are drawn up by general bureaucrats. Continue reading
I don’t like the Daily Mail. There are a number of reasons. There’s their support for the fascists prior to the second world war. There’s their campaign against the MMR vaccine which led to a major public health problem. And there’s the general nastiness of their columnists. But I am also a bit worried that if I look at some of the pictures of very young female celebrities that they have on their sidebar all the time I might end up on the sex offenders register. Continue reading
There has been a big increase in the number of people suffering from allergies of all kinds, and although there is a perception that the problem is bigger than it actually is it still remains a problem. Nut allergies are one of the biggest categories and we have all become used to pervasive labelling of foods including ones that don’t even contain nuts as regular ingredients. Traces of nuts are enough. So should you be worried about allergies to cosmetics containing nuts? Here are my observations. Continue reading
A paper in the most recent International Journal of Cosmetic Science has just drawn attention to a little noticed issue that has been bubbling away in the background of the cosmetic science world for a while. The issue is the use of long chain hydrocarbons in lip products. This sounds pretty formidable, but it is not really that complicated. Mineral oil is largely composed of long molecules that are composed of nothing more than chains of carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen atoms. This is about as simple as chemistry gets, and the chemistry of hydrocarbons has few surprises. The most interesting thing about them is that they make a good source of fuel. And the biggest use we put them to is to put them into cars and aeroplanes. Continue reading
I have just picked up on an interesting story on Twitter. Lush are being gently mocked because people are finding that one of their soap bars that contains some seeds are sprouting in people’s bathrooms. This is a nice easter story – germination is something that is associated with spring after all. And it is quite funny. I have feeling that the people responsible for quality at Lush aren’t laughing though. I can remember a similar incident from long ago in my career. This was before Twitter but in any case didn’t get out into the public domain.
A large batch of strawberry seeds were weighed out in a factory with the intention that they should be used in a batch of exfoliator. They were left for a few days in the humid environment that you have in a cosmetic factory and they too sprang into life, expanding to several times their initial volume. Continue reading
Someone has asked about a serum they like.
I have a very very expensive formulation of a serum here. Would you please be so kind to evaluate it? My questions are especially concerning preservatives.. and also: does skin benefit from so many different ingredients and antioxidants…? I think I think that simple is best. The formulation might be of interest to you, as it seems at the forefront.
Water, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, glycerin, punica granatum (pomegranate) extract, squalane, tocopheryl acetate, camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract, vernonia (ambiaty) apendiculata leaf extract, morinda citrifolia exrtact, pichia/reservatrol ferment extract, laminaria digitata extract, padina pavonica thallus extract, hydrolyzed algin, palmitoyl oglipeptide, phanthenol, niacinamide, ubiquinone, yeast amino acids, 7-dehydrocholesterol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, helianthus annuus seed extract, equisetum arvense extract, commiphora myrrah extract, retinyl palmitate, allantoin, PEG 10 rapeseed sterel, tribehenin, ceramide 2, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/beheneth-25, sucrose laurate, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, polyquaternium-55, zea mays (corn) oil, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, tricalcium phosphate.
There is a news story that L’Oréal have issued a product recall for their Ideal Moisture Dry and Sensitive Day Cream in Canada. The reason is that the level of MI in it is higher than Health Canada’s regulations allow. This is quite a rare event – big cosmetic companies are usually pretty good at following regulations. Unfortunately Google has not revealed the details of just how much over they were. But the product has been on the market for three years so there is a good chance that they have simply failed to keep up with the regulations and that the product was legal when formulated and launched. They have shifted just under 60,000 units. Continue reading