• Elisabet Salmerón, science journalist

    Don’t forget your feet!

    Be they Greek, Egyptian or square, feet support the human body. Aesthetically inconspicuous, they often go uncared for. However, hygiene and daily care of the skin of the feet (washing, moisturizing, etc) are essential for their wellbeing.


    Ever wondered how much attention you pay to your feet? Even though they are hidden away for much of the year, the feet are fundamental for our body as they support our weight and help us retain our balance and move. Thus, foot care is essential to avoid possible injuries, infections and other problems that could harm our skin. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Who hasn’t got body odour?

    Our genes determine what our skin secretes in sweat and, consequently, how we smell. No two body odours are alike as we all have our own unique “cocktail” of bacteria that break down sweat to release volatile substances. But there are people who do not smell ... and they even use deodorant.


    Our body odour develops when skin bacteria degrade certain substances produced by the sweat glands: steroid hormones, fatty acids and sulphur compounds. Our genetic characteristics determine the amount and proportion of each such substance secreted and, consequently, differences in how we smell. However, in a recent UK study of 6 500 women it was found that 2% had virtually no smell because of their particular version of the ABCC11 gene. However, over 75% of these women used underarm deodorant – out of habit. Identifying this genetic trait could lead to odourless people both saving money and reducing their exposure to chemicals. Such studies also open the way for the future application of genetics to the field of personal hygiene.

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Skin bleaching: when skin has to be white

    The whimsical dictates of fashion have led to the proliferation of creams and other cosmetics to bleach dark skin, as people who use these products believe that lighter skin is more attractive. Are such products effective? Can skin be bleached safely?


    The law of the pendulum dictates that fashions swing between extremes, in this case, from the magnetism of tanned skin to the purity of alabaster skin. Controversy has recently arisen in countries like India, where advertisements encouraginge women to use skin bleaching products convey negative messages of social rejection for women with dark complexions. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Redheads are more prone to melanoma

    9 Apr Redheads are more prone to melanoma



    Scientific American

    Redheads are more prone to melanoma (the most malignant skin cancer), even if they avoid sunbathing. The cause is genetic. The type of melanin they produce – the pigment responsible for red hair and white skin – makes them prone to developing melanoma, even if they avoid ultraviolet rays.


    People with freckles and red hair are well aware that they are more prone to skin damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays through sunburn and photo-ageing. But a US study published in Nature regarding research conducted in mice also demonstrates that redheads tend to develop melanomas. The source is in a gene (MC1R) that controls pigmentation in mammals: when less active, it produces the reddish-yellowish phaeomelanin and, when more active, it produces the brownish-black eumelanin. The research indicates that the phaeomelanin pigment itself could cause melanoma. The authors stress, however, that the most important factor for the skin is to minimize exposure to ultraviolet rays, irrespective of our skin colour.