• Anna Solana, science journalist

    Sunscreens: What’s new under the sun?

    21 Aug Sunscreens: What's new under the sun?



    European Commission


    Sunscreens are not what they used to be. In the 1970s and 1980s, what mattered was a deep tan and UV radiation protection barely received a mention. But devastating skin cancer figures forced a rule change in a market worth about 1,000 million dollars in the USA alone and which relies on innovation to diversify.


    Correctly labelling a sunscreen is no trivial task. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken more than 30 years to bring order to the sunscreen market and set standards to test the effectiveness of products. From 18 June 2012, sunscreens sold in the USA have to comply with new rules established by the FDA. They are required to be "broad spectrum”, i.e., they must protect against both UVA (responsible for premature ageing) and UVB (responsible for sunburn) and they must indicate how many minutes they remain effective after immersion in water. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    The skin, our biggest worry

    16 Aug The skin, our biggest worry



    Mayo Clinic Proceedings

    The skin is our protective shield against external aggressions. It works tirelessly, day and night, year in, year out, to ensure that our body is comfortably adapted to the environment. We are all very aware that it is vital to keep our skin healthy and that's why we care for it.


    A recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that most medical consultations refer to skin problems. The research was based on an analysis of the medical records of more than 140,000 people (people of all ages, half of them men, the other half women) from Olmsted County (USA), who authorized statistical use of their data collected between 2005 and 2009. It was found that 42.7% of queries were related to various skin diseases and problems, followed by consultations regarding arthritis (33.6%), the back (23.9%) and cholesterol (22.4%), in that order. While the dermatology consultations referred to all kinds of skin conditions, acne and sebaceous cysts were the most frequent motives for consultation. It seems clear that when we observe a small change in the skin, we become more concerned than when we feel other symptoms.

  • Anna Solana, science journalist

    The ABC of a good tan

    It is not just a matter of lying down and smearing the skin with any product promising a safe and lasting tan. Sunscreens are not what they were. But how should we use the creams? Are they all safe? How much does clothing protect us? Here are some tips to make the most of our skin care.


    According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), we should use a broad-spectrum shield, which protects against the UVA rays responsible for skin ageing and against the UVB rays that cause sunburn. It is best to use a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. This is even more important for people with fair skin (phototype I and II), children, pregnant women and people doing water or mountain sports who spend long hours under a blazing sun. For the first sun exposure, the SPF should never be under 15. We need not go to the other extreme, however, as an SPF of more than 50 does not afford more protection. Read More

  • Anna Solana, science journalist

    Cosmetotextiles: wearable skincare

    30 Jul Cosmetotextiles: wearable skincare



    Innovation in Textiles

    They arrived with the turn of the century and the development of microencapsulation. With their promise of slimming and firming the body, they began to timidly adhere to the fibres of tights, leggings and even lingerie. They are already to be found in skinny jeans, shorts and T-shirts. For both women and men. Cosmetotextiles, in combining the alchemy of cosmetics with the appeal of certain textiles, are revolutionizing skin care.


    Cosmetotextiles are cosmetics that are worn. According to Textiles Intelligence, the cosmetotextile market is a promising one, worth 500 million euros in 2013. It is based on an innovative idea: to use the clothes we wear daily next to the skin to remove excess fat, boost skin hydration and firmness and improve muscle tone. How? By introducing, in the fibres of clothing, microparticles of certain ingredients – like caffeine (a microcirculation activator), Aloe vera (a moisturizer), retinol (a regenerator) and vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) – so that, with our movements, these substances can be released into the epidermis. Read More