The use of phthalates in cosmetics has been banned in Europe since 2003, but not in the USA or elsewhere. Recent research shows that phthalates may bring on early menopause in some women.
A team of scientists at Washington University, Missouri (USA) has warned the public about the possible effects of phthalates on the female hormonal system, as they may bring menopause forward by 2.3 years on average and even by as much as 15 years in extreme cases. Phthalates are found in plastic packaging, food wrappers and, in the USA, also in cosmetics (make-up, nail polish, hair sprays, etc.). The Washington University researchers analysed phthalate levels in the blood or urine of 5 700 women. Women who had experienced earlier menopause had the highest phthalate levels. This study confirms other recent works that link phthalates directly to diabetes, obesity and cancer risk.
Nowadays cosmeceuticals are the goose that lays the golden egg in the cosmetics industry. With many therapeutic effects, they are the panacea that keep skin healthy and looking good. And although not all the effects are scientifically proven, cosmeceutical sales are growing steadily.
Traditional cosmetics are used for beautifying the body and improving the skin’s appearance. Cosmeceuticals are topical dermatological preparations (creams, lotions and serums) containing active ingredients that can influence the biological functions of the skin, basically by contributing nutrients that have an anti-ageing effect. Legally, they cannot be advertised as products that will prevent disorders or that have certain therapeutic actions. Read more
Human skin has a unique healing mechanism shared with no other mammal. Recent research suggests that our sweat glands contain a reservoir of stem cells that are recruited to repair damaged skin.
Each square inch of our skin has, on average, 600 sweat glands, triple the number of hair follicles. On a normal day we segregate a litre of liquid through these orifices, but up to ten litres a day in extreme circumstances. A study by the University of Michigan (USA) has shown that humans have a unique healing mechanism – lacking in the skin of other mammals – that is based on stem cells stored in the sweat glands. The enormous regenerative potential of such stem cells could help develop new wound therapies. Researchers hope, for instance, to improve treatments for ulcers in diabetic patients and bed sores in hospitalized patients, as the corresponding healthcare costs are substantial. The research could, in fact, open up new avenues for skin care in general.
The human species has three broad ethnic types: black, Asian and Caucasian. This division, if not scientifically accurate, is convenient. Skin colour reveals, almost always at a glance, what ethnic type we belong to. But the difference in skins is not just a matter of pigmentation. The characteristics of the stratum corneum, glands and microflora also affect how skins age and what risks they face.
When comparing the appearance of black, white and Asian people, we often refer to skin colour. Ethnic differences are showcased by the body’s largest organ, the skin. But is colour the only difference between skins? Do different skins age differently? Which skins are more sensitive to chemical and environmental damage? Read more