Tag Archives: skin

Egyptian Skincare


Sometime ago I had a question about whether French skincare was any good from a half Egyptian woman living in Canada called Yasmine.  She described herself as a  “freelance makeup artist, beauty junkie and organic modernist bohemian.”   She sounded like an interesting person so when I replied saying that yes French skincare is generally very good I asked her a question about what Egyptian skincare was like.  Her reply was so full I resolved to ask her for a bit more detail and ask if I could run it as a blog post.  Unfortunately I got sidetracked and have only just got round to doing it.  When I tried to e-mail her it bounced back.  But I think what she sent was enough as it stood, so here it is.

If you are out there Yasmine thanks for your reply and I hope you don’t mind me using it without permission.   Please get back in touch if you want to add anything. Continue reading

Is Hydrolyze the Answer to Dark Circles Under the Eyes? (Hint – No)


The pert and perky Dave Bradley of ScienceBase has a way with words so I can’t do better than cut and paste an e-mail he has just sent me.


How’s it going?

Dunno if you’ve come across this before, but I just noticed a sudden surge of spam emails advertising – Hydrolyze – apparently it gets rid of dark circles and bags under your eyes and reinvigorates, usual BS I assume. Something to dig around in and warn your readers if it’s a risky scam?

Obviously, to me as a chemist it looks like they just hijacked one of our words to make it sound scientific. Continue reading

Rosehip Oil – It Matters How You Handle It


Nothing worth doing is easy, and working with natural products is no exception.  The way you handle them makes a difference.  I have just come across a good example, rosehip oil.  When I was growing up rosehip syrup was routinely administered to growing children.  I particularly remember a spoonful of it being added to a bowl of rice at school.  We used to like it because it was sweet and had a nice flavour.  I don’t think I realised at the time that we were being given it not as a treat but because it was particularly rich in vitamins. Continue reading

Reactions to Plant Extracts in Cosmetics


This is what a patch test looks like.

Should you use natural products if you have sensitive skin?

There is an argument that you shouldn’t.  The problem is that an allergic reaction is caused by your immune system reacting to something that it encounters and identifies as a threat.  Natural products contain a wider diversity of ingredients so you have a bigger chance of one of them being something that will give you a problem. Continue reading

Is hard or soft water better for skin?

is hard or soft water better

Here is a question that comes up every now and again.  Is soft water better for skin?  Suzanne has noticed that her skin condition is better when she uses soft water.  I’ll let her speak for herself.

Hi Colin, First let me say I’ve only recently found your blog but I think it’s great, very sensible advice, wish I’d known about it earlier. Perhaps you could answer this question for me? I live near London in a very hard water area. When I go to stay in other, more rural parts of the country, I am amazed at how good my skin looks and feels after just a few days. Is this because the water is cleaner, or contains less limescale, or is less chlorinated? My skin is sensitive but not dry, and I find that washing in water at home produces a ‘taut’ feeling, even if I use no soapor cleanser. I don’t get this feelingin soft water areas. To get rid of the ‘taut’ feeling, I apply moisturiser, very sparingly, but often find that I then get whiteheads, blackheads and milia, I’m often better off without moisturiser at all. How can I reproduce the wonderful results I get in soft water areas at home? Is it necessary to spend upwards of £500 on a home softener system – which may not do the job anyway as this is not ‘natural’ soft water? I have bought a ‘Rainshow’r’ chlorine remover, and was thinking of adding a little salt or some bicarbonate of soda to my bath water? Grateful for any suggestions! Suzanne Continue reading

Vellus Hair


We don’t pay a lot of attention to vellus hair.  This is the fine downy hair that covers a lot of our body, with the exception of the palms of our hands and for some reason, the backs of our ears.  It isn’t very visible so the beauty world doesn’t take a lot of notice of it, though to my mind it is quite attractive.  But you need to get pretty close to someone to be able to even see it, so it isn’t something you are really aware of except on family members are very close friends. Continue reading

Colin Solves Your Problems 25 – Dry Cracked Skin

Dry Cracked Skin

Hot dry conditions don’t only crack soil.

A plaintive e-mail from Talia.

Do you have any advice on what can be done for healing peeling skin on the face more quickly? I live in a very dry climate and lately my mouth and cheeks have been cracking and peeling from the dryness. (I might add that I’m also on some very drying prescription acne meds that probably are worsening things — though what happens to my face if I stop using those is no better.) I stay pretty hydrated beveragewise and don’t think there’s much more liquid I can force down… is there something that fixes this? (Like, some anti-cracking cream or a behavior/home remedy that eases the cracks?) Some understanding of the science of cracked skin that can be put to use? Anything?

Dry cracked skin is a tough problem Talia, and a fairly common one sadly.  The science of cracked skin is not too difficult.  Normal healthy skin is a good barrier to water loss.  Some water is lost, but it is quickly made up for by water coming from inside your body. Continue reading

Antioxidants – I still think they are good for the skin


A lot of people, me included, are of the opinion that antioxidants are a good thing.  But are we right?  The Guardian ran an article recently pointing out that there was no evidence that antioxidant supplements reduce the risk of cancer.  This was based on a Cochrane review that looked at a whole range of studies and analysed the numbers from all of them. Continue reading