• Anna Solana, science journalist

    Menopause: maturity is skin deep

    11 Feb Menopause: maturity is skin deep




    The menopause receives bad press. Many women associate it with a loss of attractiveness, because it marks the end of a life stage and is the source of discomfort and changes. Less well known, perhaps, are how it causes changes in the skin that do not affect all women equally, but largely depend on skin type and lifestyle. But – is there a solution?


    Menopause marks the end of the reproductive stage and involves significant changes for women. But there are ways to cope. According to the Spanish Association for Menopause Studies (AEEM), menopause occurs at 51.4 years on average, once the body stops producing oestrogen and progesterone; it ends ovarian functioning and, therefore, the menstrual period. Hormonal changes are to blame for hot flushes, insomnia, mood swings and vaginal atrophy, and also ageing of the skin, in other words, dryness, wrinkles and sagging. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Careful with tanning beds!

    5 Oct Careful with tanning beds!



    JAMA Internal Medicine

    Artificial tanning beds pose an additional risk for the health of our skin and lead to the development of melanoma. However, millions of people throughout the world continue to use them, despite the warnings of doctors and health authorities. A new scientific study confirms the seriousness of the problem.


    This blog has frequently highlighted the health risks posed by artificial ultraviolet (UV) light tanning, mainly because they represent a high risk factor for developing melanoma, the most aggressive of the skin cancers. We are not alone: medical associations – pointing to irrefutable scientific studies – have been warning that this practice is the direct cause of the dramatic increase in skin cancers witnessed in recent decades, especially in white women. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Aspirin for skin cancer

    25 Sep Aspirin for skin cancer




    Too much sun is the main cause of skin ageing. It also leads to the development of melanoma, the most malignant form of skin cancer. A recent study links aspirin use to a lower incidence of melanoma in women.


    For decades, aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) has been used to lower the risk of heart disease and of bowel cancer, with millions of people around the world taking a small dose daily. The findings of a recent study published in Cancer would seem to attribute new benefits to the modest and traditional aspirin. The research was conducted in the USA over a period of 12 years on almost 60 000 postmenopausal women aged between 50 and 79 years. The results show that taking aspirin reduces the likelihood of melanoma – the most serious of the skin cancers – by 21%. No doubt this is good news, but further research is needed to confirm that these results are generally applicable. Meanwhile, just remember that the most important thing is to protect our skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. With or without aspirin

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Redheads are more prone to melanoma

    9 Apr Redheads are more prone to melanoma



    Scientific American

    Redheads are more prone to melanoma (the most malignant skin cancer), even if they avoid sunbathing. The cause is genetic. The type of melanin they produce – the pigment responsible for red hair and white skin – makes them prone to developing melanoma, even if they avoid ultraviolet rays.


    People with freckles and red hair are well aware that they are more prone to skin damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays through sunburn and photo-ageing. But a US study published in Nature regarding research conducted in mice also demonstrates that redheads tend to develop melanomas. The source is in a gene (MC1R) that controls pigmentation in mammals: when less active, it produces the reddish-yellowish phaeomelanin and, when more active, it produces the brownish-black eumelanin. The research indicates that the phaeomelanin pigment itself could cause melanoma. The authors stress, however, that the most important factor for the skin is to minimize exposure to ultraviolet rays, irrespective of our skin colour.