• Ailish Maher, science journalist

    The lowdown on clay

    6 Mar The lowdown on clay



    Applied Clay Science

    Clay, with its rich content in minerals, is making a comeback as a powerful healer and skin beauty treatment. Benefits are backed more by a history of successful use that stretches back to ancient times than by scientific studies. However, one claim that is solidly backed by science is that some clays have powerful antibacterial properties.


    Clay has been deployed for medicinal and aesthetic purposes for centuries. It was used in Mesopotamia and Egypt for its antiinflammatory and antiseptic properties and was also reportedly used by Cleopatra to preserve her complexion. Famous physicians such as Hippocrates, Avicenna, Averroes and Paracelsus — and also Sebastian Kneipp, one of the founders of the naturopathic medicine movement — all recommended clay remedies for the skin. Clay was also used to promote the healing of surgical and war wounds. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Aircraft cabins and UVA rays

    25 Feb Aircraft cabins and UVA rays



    JAMA Dermatology

    UVB rays are partially filtered by glass in windows and windscreens, but not UVA rays — and likewise with the glass in airplanes. Except that the altitude at which most commercial aircraft fly (30,000 feet) aggravates this problem further. Cabin crew, most especially pilots, are therefore at a high risk of developing skin cancer.


    Martina Sanlorenzo, a researcher at the University of California, recently authored a study that compared radiation in aircraft cabins with that in tanning beds. She found that about 55 minutes flying at over 30,000 feet was equivalent to 20 minutes in a tanning bed. Contrasting her data with other studies, Sanlorenzo and her team calculated that pilots and cabin crew were up to 2.22 times more likely to develop skin cancer. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Is showering without soap better for the skin?

    21 Feb Is showering without soap better for the skin?



    The New York Times

    A morning shower wakes us up and a shower at night relaxes us. Some of us cannot imagine life without a warm, soapy daily dose of water, the source of life itself. In the last century personal hygiene has dramatically improved health. But overuse of soaps and of excessively alkaline products have repercussions for of our skin. New minority fashions are making radical proposals.


    We rarely examine in detail the composition of the soaps we buy. If the soap we use doesn’t moisturize our skin, we use a moisturizing cream after the shower. If our shampoo promises miracles but leaves our hair looking like a frizzy mop, we apply conditioners and treatments. All this seems excessive, but could we imagine our bathroom without its arsenal of personal hygiene items? Would the appearance and health of our skin improve if we used fewer products? Absolutely. That’s the response of the pioneers of a new trend of showering without soap or shampoo. Read More

  • Susana Andújar, chemist

    Daily care of oily skin

    11 Feb Daily care of oily skin

    Our choice of cosmetics should be based on knowledge of our skin and its needs. Products exist that are specifically formulated for the care and protection of each skin type and each life stage. The daily care information and tips below are aimed at people who have very oily skin.


    We usually develop oily skin in adolescence due to age-related hormonal changes (with androgens playing a very important role), which lead to increased sebum secretion and, frequently, acne. Over time the excess oil production will slow down and the skin's appearance will improve. Sometimes the problem arises from the use of very comedogenic (favouring acne) cosmetics or products that are not suitable for oily skin. The prevalence of acne in adolescence is very high; some 70%-80% of teenagers affected, with little difference between boys and girls. Read More