• 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

  • Laura Chaparro, science journalist

    Vitamin D: should we take supplements?

    3 Mar

    The sun is the source of life. The ultraviolet rays that reach our skin, for example, help the body synthesize vitamin D. However, many people, probably because they do not spend enough time in the sun, have low levels of this substance and so consider taking vitamin supplements. Scientists are divided regarding supplements: yes or no? The debate goes on.


    Vitamin D affects the health of our skin without us even noticing. For example, when vitamin D levels are correct our immune system is strengthened and we run a lower risk of having acne. But this is not all; the sunlight that facilitates vitamin D production can reduce the symptoms of certain kinds of skin rash. This is also the case with eczema and psoriasis. Read More

  • Laura Chaparro, science journalist

    Beware of piercings!

    15 Feb


    Piercings are fashionable with young people. Nowadays, holes pierce the skin anywhere on the body—the mouth, ears, navel, nipples, genitals—because that’s what fashion dictates. But the medical statistics demonstrate that invading the body’s protective layer often leads to health complications.


    Currently, piercings are yet another element in the image we project. Whether as a sign of rebellion, to mark a difference or for aesthetic reasons, piercings are popular among young people in Western countries and are often combined with tattoos on the body. However, people are often not aware of certain short- to medium-term risks of piercing the skin. Read More

  • Laura Chaparro, science journalist

    Skin flora, our protective shield

    4 Feb

    The flora of our skin is made up of millions of bacteria that live in harmony with us. Thanks to this flora we have a shield that protects us, as the bacteria ward off infection and ensure that our skin stays healthy and attractive.


    When we hear the word 'bacteria' we think of harmful microorganisms responsible for infections. And while it is certainly true that bacteria can cause infection, this is more the exception than the rule. The bacteria and fungi resident in our skin are part of our normal microbial flora and perform very important functions. In addition to self-regulation that maintains the body’s equilibrium, the flora protects us against infection and enhances the skin’s barrier function by breaking down skin surface lipids. The flora is also responsible for our body's natural odour, caused by bacteria breaking down the components in sweat. Read More