• Fede Montagud, editor

    A non-allergenic sunscreen

    31 Jan A non-allergenic sunscreen



    Alpha Galileo

    The use of sunscreens is booming, their use promoted by growing awareness that too much sun causes skin cancer.  Some everyday cosmetics already include sunscreen in their formulas, but some of their components can cause allergies. Recent research proposes the use of a new non-allergenic sunscreen.


    Scytonemin is a substance produced as protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays by certain aquatic cyanobacteria (better known as blue-green algae) that live close to the surface. This powerful natural sunscreen is now being reproduced in the science laboratories of the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).  Compared to most currently used sunscreens (BM-DBM and octocrylene), which can potentially cause allergies, the new product has the advantage of being non-allergenic. Researchers hope that scytonemin will soon form part of sunscreen formulations for creams and lotions.

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Men’s skin, women’s skin and the rise of gendered cosmetics

    Skin is male or female. Although the layered structure is the same, the skins of the two sexes vary in chemical composition and in functioning. The ingredients in moisturizers, exfoliants and anti-wrinkle products have been gradually adapted to the different characteristics of male and female skin. Skin care is gendered.


    Is the skin of men and women so different? Whoever posed this question targeted a new line of research in the cosmetics industry, which had to respond with innovative products to the growing demand from men concerned about the appearance of their skin and wanting to care for it and even pamper it as women have always done. Male compared to female skin is thicker, has more fatty acids and more collagen, produces more sebum and has a more acidic pH. Despite needing more moisturization, male skin stays firmer and more elastic for longer, whereas women’s skin is thinner, produces less oil and collagen and has a more basic pH. Women’s skin is thus more sensitive and shows the signs of ageing earlier. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Artificial skin

    22 Jan Artificial skin



    Nature Nanotechnology

    The epidermis, as well as acting as our shield against external agents, transmits touch, pressure and temperature, which are sensations that are essential for our survival.  All this is difficult to reproduce artificially, yet…


    Scientists from Stanford University have developed a synthetic material that seems to have almost identical properties as human skin. This artificial skin – a polymer in fact – transmits cold and heat, detects pressure exerted on the skin and can distinguish between contact with wood or with metal; in other words, it has a “sense of touch”. It is flexible and elastic like our human skin, but most surprising of all is the fact that, if cut, it can self-regenerate in 15 seconds and so recover its original structure and conductivity. This new material, which seems like something straight from science fiction, could be used for skin grafts following illnesses or accidents, with no loss of sensitivity.

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Perfume: why does it smell different on each person?

    17 Jan Perfume: why does it smell different on each person?



    British Journal of Dermatology

    Have you ever wondered why people smell different even though they wear the same perfume? Individual skin naturally contains a particular cocktail of chemicals that, rather like a fingerprint, leaves a unique aroma. When perfume blends with a person’s body odour it takes on a life of its own and creates a unique mark of identity.


    At perfumeries, fragrances always smell just as their creator designed them. But they take on a different life on individual skin. We now know that we all give off a different body odour because everyone’s skin is composed of various chemical substances that, on evaporation, are transmitted by air and can be perceived by smell. These substances, known as volatile organic compounds, are part of all living organisms. Humans secrete them though two types of skin gland that produce sweat: eccrine and apocrine glands. When we apply a perfume, our natural body odour and the fragrance blend together and produce a specific, unique cocktail. But how do they blend? And why, once we are wearing it, does a perfume smell nothing like its creator planned? Read More