• Laura Chaparro, science journalist

    From the battlefield to the beach towel

    20 May

    A young woman sunbathing on a paradisiacal beach and a US soldier posted to the Pacific during the Second World War would appear to have nothing in common, yet they share a vital something: photoprotection.


    The sunscreen industry was launched during the Second World War when the US Army recommended ‘red vet pet’ (red veterinary petrolatum) as a sunscreen for soldiers facing harsh conditions on a day-to-day basis. Troops fighting in Africa or the Philippines used this red paraffin oil, a petroleum by-product, as the first sunscreen in history. The US Air Force issued the product to airmen in case they were shot down in areas of the tropics where shade might be hard to find. Read More

  • Josep Orellana, science journalist

    Green cosmetics

    18 May

    Social awareness regarding the environment and sustainability is growing daily. Green cosmetics are increasingly present in the marketplace, bearing different labels that certify their purity. Natural, organic and similar such products are all the rage. However, we do not know what these concepts mean exactly. Do green cosmetics care better for our skin? Do they offer more guarantees than conventional cosmetics?


    The cosmetics industry has been using thousands of synthetic substances for decades, some of which have been the subject of debate. Parabens, for example, are controversial given their potential carcinogenicity, although there is no scientific evidence that confirms this. But these debates undoubtedly raise interest in natural products, whose consumption is consequently increasing in many countries. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    “Smart” fabrics

    14 May

    Acidity, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, creatinine: all these and many other body parameters can be measured in the sweat of our skin. Along with many more in the near future. Interestingly, the measurements will be made directly from the skin by our own clothes.


    A group of researchers from the Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona (Spain) is developing “smart” fabrics impregnated with carbon nanotubes and chemical sensors that are capable of detecting different substances present in sweat. A simple cotton t-shirt can diagnose diseases, capture moods and analyse, at a low cost and on an ongoing basis, the vital parameters of the wearer. These conducting fabrics could be especially useful for athletes and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes.



    Clothes that diagnoses

    CEICS: Smart fabrics

  • Elisabet Salmerón, science journalist

    Ageing caused by smoking

    12 May

    Is smoking pleasureable? It may well be. But smoking is also addictive and detrimental to the body. The more than 4,000 chemical compounds in cigarettes, many of which are toxic, have multiple adverse effects on the skin, which becomes fragile, poorly nourished, mottled and scored with narrow, deep wrinkles. And there is no corrective cosmetic treatment for this damage.


    “For more pure pleasure, have a Camel.” In the early 20th century, the tobacco industry made its mark on society through advertising campaigns that associated smoking with health benefits and values such as life and liberty. However, a study published in 1938 in the prestigious journal Science pointed for the first time to the high tendency for smokers to become ill. Read More