These pairs of letters are not codenames for operating systems, usually identified with letters of the alphabet. They rather describe multifunction or all-in-one creams that, for years, have promised countless benefits for the skin. But what are the differences between the BB, CC, DD and EE versions? Do they actually work or are they merely effective marketing strategies?
BB creams have been on the Western market for some five years, although the name has existed for far longer. In fact, the German dermatologist and allergist Christine Schrammek claims to have developed the first Blemish Balm (BB) cream in 1967 to treat the skin after peeling treatments. The original formula contained zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, licorice root and panthenol — an anti-inflammatory, protective, soothing and moisturizing cocktail that gave the product considerable appeal. Read More
The beauty industry has appropriated the active ingredient of our most universal breakfast drink. Caffeine, the alkaloid that wakes us up by stimulating the nervous system, also has beneficial properties for the skin. It appears that it reduces cellulite, increases blood circulation in the small blood vessels that nourish the skin, prevents skin cancers and even promotes hair growth in men.
Caffeine is being included in formulas for body creams, hair lotions and other cosmetic preparations. Most of these products contain just 3% of this substance. Its chemical characteristics (it dissolves in water but not in oil) make its application in cosmetics difficult, because, in its free form, it penetrates poorly to the interior of the epidermis. But thanks to modern emulsions and microspheres for delivering substances and facilitating penetration, caffeine is now used as a key skincare ingredient. Read More
Do we have to suffer for vanity’s sake? Since time immemorial humans have used a host of products to beautify the skin. Many of these historical ingredients were toxic and some even lethal. Cosmetics have an ugly side that shows how humans in their vanity are capable of suffering — a lot.
The beautiful Cleopatra eyes that we see in the movies are often achieved with galena (lead sulfide), a neurotoxic chemical. In the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, kohl, a paste made with ground galena, has been used for centuries as mascara. Galena is just one example of the long history of the use of lead in cosmetics. Read More
For several years diamond-dust creams have been sold as an outrageously expensive treatment used by celebrities to ensure they walk the red carpet with a fabulous complexion. Now, Asian scientists say they have managed to produce diamonds inexpensively in their laboratory — making this luxury skin care fad potentially more affordable.
The labels of creams containing diamond dust promise a smoother, younger skin from the first application, claiming that this gem has exfoliating properties that stimulate collagen production and help conceal wrinkles and blemishes. Marketing makes these texts not very different from those for other creams based on less exclusive ingredients. What is different, however, is the price of these exclusive creams, clearly aimed at the pockets of those who can afford the luxury. Read More