Manufacturers promise flawless skin if we use cosmetics that they claim penetrate the skin and improve cell functioning. And yes, of course they do penetrate – but to what depth? The skin’s outermost layer, specially designed to act as a barrier, is formed of nearly impermeable tissue. So, how can cosmetics penetrate the skin?
No cosmetic active ingredient has yet been invented that crosses the epidermal barrier and penetrates deep into the skin. In fact, a substance that appears to penetrate the dermis and hypodermis is most likely absorbed by the blood vessels. In that case it would be a drug, not a cosmetic active ingredient, because it affects metabolism. With nicotine patches applied to the skin, for instance, tiny nicotine molecules travel via the skin layers until they reach blood vessels. Does nicotine act on the skin on its way to the blood? The answer is no. Read More
They say bracelets and watches are taking on a new meaning – as “wearables”, whether they count the steps we take during the day or monitor the quality of our sleep. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (USA) have developed a bandaid-like wearable gadget with a sensor that measures electrolytes, metabolites and proteins in perspiration and which could prove to be of diagnostic value.
Using perspiration to diagnose certain diseases is nothing new; cystic fibrosis can be ruled out by this method, for intance, and perspiration has also been used to determine drug intake. But the Novel Devices Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati (USA) has gone a step further: Jason Heickenfel and his team have developed a wearable gadget consisting of material that absorbs perspiration, a circuit that calculates perspiration levels of certain ions, e.g., sodium, and a unit for radio frequency transmission of this data to a smartphone. Read More
We find it difficult to take on board, because of the adrenaline that accompanies our consumerist impulses and because we assume something new must be clean. But these two concepts do not always go hand in hand. The clothes we buy are not pristine: several people may have tried them on before us. What are the risks for our skin? The germs that lurk in some garments may cause discomfort — nothing serious, but worth bearing in mind.
Philip Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs, claims to have found remains of skin flora, respiratory secretions, vaginal organisms and even faecal matter in all kind of newly purchased clothing, ranging from swimsuits to blouses and trousers. Dr Tierno, Head of the Department of Microbiology, New York University, conducted a study of allegedly new clothing items, finding large amounts of pathogens comfortably ensconced in underarm and genital area folds. Read More
Google has long since ceased to be a mere search engine. It is keeping one step ahead of scientific and technical developments, as evidenced by Google Glass and driverless cars. Now, in its Life Sciences division, it wants to change the traditional approach to medicine and observe the body from within. But to interpret the results, Google also had to recreate the body’s protective barrier, the skin.
Dr. Andrew Conrad, who heads the Google X Life Sciences team, wants to make medicine more proactive and preventive than episodic and reactive, so he is more interested in preventing people from getting sick than in curing them. His team is working on developing a wristband to detect cancer cells, heart problems and other diseases long before the first symptoms appear. The innovative wristband picks up the light emitted by nanoparticles inserted into the body by simple pills. The team didn’t think twice about developing artificial human skin. Read More