• Anna Solana, science journalist

    Glycans: is this the sugar the skin needs?

    28 Feb Glycans: is this the sugar the skin needs?

     

    Sources:

    American Academy of Dermatology

    These complex carbohydrates are not related to the sugars we ingest through food. Glycans, found on the cell surface, play an important role in intercellular communication, metabolism and skin structuring. Maybe that's why they have become the new promise of youth in the world of cosmetics.

     

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) noted the importance of glycans in an article titled “Glycomics”, published in 2001, but for over a decade scientific advances in this field were timid. However, for some years now, the cosmetics industry has been flirting with the benefits of this line of research for improving the appearance of the skin. In fact, some brands already have creams in the market whose labels include the term "glycans", conjugated with the term "eternal youth". Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Aircraft cabins and UVA rays

    25 Feb Aircraft cabins and UVA rays

     

    Sources:

    JAMA Dermatology

    UVB rays are partially filtered by glass in windows and windscreens, but not UVA rays — and likewise with the glass in airplanes. Except that the altitude at which most commercial aircraft fly (30,000 feet) aggravates this problem further. Cabin crew, most especially pilots, are therefore at a high risk of developing skin cancer.

     

    Martina Sanlorenzo, a researcher at the University of California, recently authored a study that compared radiation in aircraft cabins with that in tanning beds. She found that about 55 minutes flying at over 30,000 feet was equivalent to 20 minutes in a tanning bed. Contrasting her data with other studies, Sanlorenzo and her team calculated that pilots and cabin crew were up to 2.22 times more likely to develop skin cancer. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Is showering without soap better for the skin?

    21 Feb Is showering without soap better for the skin?

     

    Sources:

    The New York Times

    A morning shower wakes us up and a shower at night relaxes us. Some of us cannot imagine life without a warm, soapy daily dose of water, the source of life itself. In the last century personal hygiene has dramatically improved health. But overuse of soaps and of excessively alkaline products have repercussions for of our skin. New minority fashions are making radical proposals.

     

    We rarely examine in detail the composition of the soaps we buy. If the soap we use doesn’t moisturize our skin, we use a moisturizing cream after the shower. If our shampoo promises miracles but leaves our hair looking like a frizzy mop, we apply conditioners and treatments. All this seems excessive, but could we imagine our bathroom without its arsenal of personal hygiene items? Would the appearance and health of our skin improve if we used fewer products? Absolutely. That’s the response of the pioneers of a new trend of showering without soap or shampoo. Read More

  • Anna Solana, science journalist

    Why does scratching an itch make it worse?

    16 Feb Why does scratching an itch make it worse?

     

    Sources:

    Neuron

    Our grandmothers and our mothers said it before us and we unthinkingly say the same to our children: “Don’t scratch, you’ll just make it worse." And it's true. Everyone knows that if you scratch, it gets itchier. And we now know the scientific basis for this phenomenon common to all cultures.

     

    The reason the itch doesn’t go away when we scratch is serotonin, probably the most notorious neurotransmitter of modern times, as it plays an important role in hunger, sleep, sexual desire, mood and body temperature. Zhou-Feng Chen’s team at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (USA) recently published new findings on itching. Scratching disables nerve endings that send the itch signal to the spinal cord but also causes local swelling and pain. Serotonin levels increase to soothe this pain and this, in turn, increases the itching sensation. Read More

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