• Anna Solana, science journalist

    How are hair dye ingredients controlled?

    6 May How are hair dye ingredients controlled?



    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

  • Elisabet Salmerón, science journalist

    The home, a threat to the skin of the hands

    How many times a day do homemakers risk their skin? Dozens of times. Direct and repeated contact with detergents, soaps and other cleaning products, time spent cooking and exposure to high temperatures all mean that homemakers experience frequent problems, especially with their hands and arms. What can be done to alleviate these problems?


    Homemakers have an important role to play, but at a very high price for their skin. Laundry detergents, fabric softeners, soaps, washing-up liquids, bleaches, disinfectants, solvents, etc: daily exposure to these chemicals means that home upkeep and care implies ongoing risk, especially for the hands. Most household products contain substances that irritate the tissues, strip oil from the skin and damage its protective barrier. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Matrixyl, the secret ingredient

    23 Apr Matrixyl, the secret ingredient



    Cosmetic Science Technology

    Matrixyl is the registered trademark of an anti-wrinkle ingredient that many rejuvenating cosmetic manufacturers include in their formulations. This is a surprisingly effective and reasonably priced ingredient, yet we still pay fortunes for anti-wrinkle creams. What is this component and how does it work?


    The press published the news last year. Compared to invasive anti-wrinkle techniques such as collagen injections or more sophisticated technqiues such as fibroblast cultures, cosmetic products based on Matrixyl double the amount of collagen in the skin, reversing ageing effects dramatically. The fact is, this ingredient seems to deliver what it promises: rejuvenatation of the skin. As happens with clones, Matrixyl contains certain synthetic elements that are almost identical to natural matrikines, which are peptides responsible for preserving and repairing skin tissue. In fact, even before matrikines were used as anti-wrinkle agents it was already known that they impede the proliferation of skin tumours and accelerate the healing of skin wounds. Read More

  • Susana Andújar, chemist

    To what extent are cosmetics safe?

    To try and guarantee that the gels, creams and other cosmetics we apply to our skin every day are not harmful to health, individual ingredients undergo strict controls. Once combined with others in product formulas, they are tested on volunteers before commercial launch to ensure that negative impact on the skin is minimal or non-existent. How are these controls implemented?


    Our readers are aware of the fact that European cosmetics legislation prohibits animal testing or the purchase of raw materials from countries where animals are used for safety tests. The testing system currently in use tries to ensure that each individual ingredient is safe. However, ingredients may interact when combined in a product, resulting in new components that might modify the safety of the final product. Current regulations do not state which tests are mandatory, but do indicate that manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products. The cosmetics industry applies a wide range of tests, depending on how the cosmetic is applied and used (no animals are used, naturally). Read More