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
Diabetes affects some 380 million people worldwide, a number that is steadily increasing. In the near future one in 10 adults will be affected by diabetes. This disease has multiple adverse effects for our health, many of them related to the skin. How can we reduce the risks and protect our skin?
People with longstanding diabetes (high blood sugar) are more prone to skin problems. One in three people with diabetes is affected by skin disorders, which are often the first warning of the presence of the disease. High blood glucose levels cause biochemical changes in the skin that alter its structure and functions. These changes induce dryness, loss of elasticity and premature skin ageing. 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