• Anna Solana, science journalist

    The skin hazards of shopping

    11 Apr The skin hazards of shopping

     

    Sources:

    ABC News

    We find it difficult to take on board, because of the adrenaline that accompanies our consumerist impulses and because we assume something new must be clean. But these two concepts do not always go hand in hand. The clothes we buy are not pristine: several people may have tried them on before us. What are the risks for our skin? The germs that lurk in some garments may cause discomfort — nothing serious, but worth bearing in mind.

     

    Philip Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs, claims to have found remains of skin flora, respiratory secretions, vaginal organisms and even faecal matter in all kind of newly purchased clothing, ranging from swimsuits to blouses and trousers. Dr Tierno, Head of the Department of Microbiology, New York University, conducted a study of allegedly new clothing items, finding large amounts of pathogens comfortably ensconced in underarm and genital area folds. Read More

  • Susana Andújar, chemist

    Allergens in cosmetic products

    We have known of skin allergic reactions associated with cosmetic products for many years. And each year, hundreds of studies add further information about the safety of ingredients. As a result, new regulations and limitations on use are constantly emerging. Which ingredients are the most allergenic?

     

    Health authorities have published numerous lists of ingredients whose allergenic potential is known. But as well as considering an ingredient’s facility for eliciting an immune reaction, we also need to consider its frequency of contact with the skin and mucous membranes. Both these factors – allergenic potential and application frequency – are the triggers for most cases of undesirable reactions produced by the use of cosmetic products. Read More

  • Anna Solana, science journalist

    Is your beauty biodynamic?

    10 May Is your beauty biodynamic?

     

    Sources:

    Cosmetics Design USA

    Cosmetics made with ingredients grown in sustainable production systems and in harmony with the cycles of nature are acquiring new devotees. And not only among pregnant women and new mothers seeking products without preservatives, colourants or other allergens. Natural cosmetics are beginning to prevail. With quality certification.

     

    Around 7,000 different substances are used in the preparation of cosmetic and personal care products. Many of these ingredients have received bad press, as they can trigger allergic reactions, are irritants or may be carcinogenic. Therefore, growing numbers of consumers are seeking more environmentally friendly and skin-friendly alternatives. However, a natural cosmetic is not necessarily safe. This is why the market is demanding certain guarantees, like that offered by the international Demeter quality seal, known to be difficult to obtain. This certificate guarantees that all components of products claimed to be biodynamic have followed standard procedures for biodynamic agriculture (use of compost, prohibition of genetically modified plants, prohibition of pesticides, etc) and meet European regulations regarding organic products.

  • Anna Solana, science journalist

    How are hair dye ingredients controlled?

    6 May How are hair dye ingredients controlled?

     

    Sources:

    European Union

    Since hair dyes do indeed include components that can cause allergies or irritate the scalp, many brands are developing versions of their products that are less aggressive with the hair’s structure and the skin. But European legislation regulates hair dyes and is a guarantee for users. What does it say?

     

    The EU’s Regulation on Cosmetic Products, which has been in force since 11 July 2013, oversees the composition and labelling of hair dyes, evaluates their safety and prohibits their testing on animals. The standard certifies that hair dyes – used by 70% of Europeans – are safe, thus refuting the numerous articles published online that insist they are hazardous for pregnant women. Hair dyes include ingredients such as ammonia, resorcinol, parabens and paraphenylenediamine (PPD); it is the colour from PPD which is, in fact, primarily responsible for possible allergic reactions, so this component is banned in Germany, France and Sweden. Read More

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