Admittedly, all vitamins have an important role to play. Many are sold as essential supplements without which it would seem impossible to have a perfect complexion. But few studies support their effectiveness. What vitamins does the skin truly need? How effective are vitamin-based creams and food supplements?
It seems that without them our skin would look horrible. Vitamin A for dry skin problems such as acne or psoriasis. Vitamin B3 to prevent sun allergies. Vitamin B6 to balance oily skin. Vitamin C to repair sun damage, delay skin ageing and help collagen production. Vitamin D, produced by sunlight, to better absorb calcium and phosphorus, strengthen bones and prevent cavities. Vitamin E to fight free radicals and stimulate microcirculation. Finally, vitamin K (lately fashionable in cosmetic products), to prevent varicose veins and spider veins and reduce bags under the eyes. Read more
An estimated 3% of the population is allergic to some of the spices commonly used for food processing. Turmeric, vanilla, clove, rosemary, ginger, pepper, lavender, anise, nutmeg and sesame all form part of our menus. But they are also used to make cosmetics of all kinds for our skin.
A study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) warns that spices are not regulated by healthcare authorities in the USA and EU. Consequently, they are not always listed as ingredients on the label and so are difficult to identify and avoid by people allergic to them. According to the ACAAI, the current boom in natural cosmetics, also called green cosmetics, entails an increase in the use of spices in product formulae. Therefore, it is forecast that the associated allergies will tend to increase in the coming years, especially among women, the primary users of cosmetics.
A new technology could revolutionize cosmetics in the very near future. Called nanotechnology, it enables extremely tiny particles to be designed for inclusion in sunscreens and other cosmetics to enhance their effectiveness. On sale already are creams, lotions and lipsticks that contain nanoparticles. However, experts warn that tests are needed to check whether nanocosmetics could have adverse effects on our skin and health.
Pull out a hair and look at the size of the root. Can you imagine something 80,000 times smaller? That is the achievement of nanotechnology. Nanoparticles as tiny as one million times smaller than a millimetre can be manufactured. Some are between two and 100 times smaller than some of the bacteria that inhabit our body. Nanoparticle-based cosmetics, called nanocosmetics, are rapidly developing their potential. Read more
Acne is probably the most common skin problem, affecting 75% of people at some point in their lives. For many young people it is an aesthetic and self-esteem issue of the first order. A new patent based on natural substances could prove to be a very effective treatment.
Acne is treated using various kinds of active ingredients, ranging from chemicals to antibiotics and including isotretinoin, the most effective treatment, although it must be taken under medical supervision. Scientists at the University of Granada have created a formula that is applied topically, does not meet with bacterial resistance and has no side effects. Its main ingredient is a cyclic protein of 70 amino acids called AS-48. The formula is active against various pathogenic bacteria of the skin, including the Propionibacterium acnes bacterium responsible for acne. The scientists hope that their formula, which contains only natural substances with antibacterial activity, will soon become a basic cosmetic and pharmaceutical ingredient for the treatment and prevention of acne.