• Fede Montagud, editor

    Mosquito bites – a nightmare!

    10 Dec Mosquito bites – a nightmare!




    Day or night, mosquitoes are very annoying when they attack our skin. In some parts of the world they also transmit serious diseases. Popular lore and scientists describe several ways to avoid their bites. But mosquitoes are hugely adaptive...


    Apart from a pepper derivative called icaridin, N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, known as DEET, is one of the most studied and widely used insect and arachnid repellents. However, according to a recent study published in the Plos One journal, DEET is losing its effectiveness against mosquitoes and the reason is that exposure to this chemical changes their olfactory system. In other words, the mosquitoes get used to the smell and carry on as regardless. So what alternatives are there? Read More

  • Josep Orellana, science journalist

    Protecting the skin from infrared radiation

    We are well aware of the adverse effects of the sun’s radiation on our skin and blame ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB). To reduce its impact we use sunscreens and limit sunbathing. But the sun's infrared rays can also penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin.


    Sunlight is composed of ultraviolet light (7%) and visible light (38%), but infrared (IR) light, at 54%, represents the most important fraction. Depending on the wavelength, IR radiation is classified into three types: IRA, IRB and IRC. Both UV and visible light are attenuated by melanin, a substance secreted in the top layers of skin. However, IRA rays can pass through to the deeper layers of the skin. Read More

  • Susana Andújar, chemist

    Preservatives in cosmetics: the good, the bad and the ugly?

    26 Nov Preservatives in cosmetics: the good, the bad and the ugly?



    European Commission

    Our skin comes into daily contact with some kind of cosmetic preservative. Soaps, gels, creams, foams, lotions, perfumes –virtually all cosmetic products require at least one preservative agent to make sure they get to consumers in perfect condition. Some preservatives may be harmful, however, and health authorities legislate continuously for the good of our skin and our overall health.


    The perfect preservative is one whose antimicrobial action inhibits all contaminating microorganisms (bacteria, moulds and yeasts) from cosmetic products. It must also be stable and inert towards other ingredients in the formula and, above all, it must have a profile that allows for safe use in the intended product at the intended concentration. It is often difficult for a single biocidal ingredient to satisfy all these requirements. Often people focus on the most natural ingredients, assuming them to be least toxic. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Sunburns triple the risk of skin cancer

    21 Nov


    Sunburn is dangerous. It may increase the risk of skin cancer, even though we may have been burned – as children – before we were aware of the consequences. We have been warned time and again, but we still see skins red as tomatoes from the sun.


    That’s why some organizations continue to emphasize informing the consumer. This Cancer Research (UK) video explains what happens to cells when the sun damages them and the difference with other burns caused by hot objects. The other burns heal, but burns from the sun can have dramatic consequences many years later. Contact burns merely destroy some skin cells, nothing more. Sunburn also destroys cells, but it also alters the DNA of surviving cells and this can lead to the development of cancer. A simple but enlightening reason not to forget to protect yourself from the sun. Read More