• Fede Montagud, editor

    Emojis also reflect phototypes

    27 Apr Emojis also reflect phototypes

     

    Sources:

    NPR News

    Emojis are the faces that are used to express emotions in online communications. Anyone who uses a mobile phone, instant messaging or social networks will have seen lots of them. In the latest version of its operating system, Apple has introduced new emojis with different skin tones, resulting is some controversy in the WWW.

     

    Some forums refer to racism, because, it is claimed, the yellow faces are too yellow. Online, the least little outburst can set the WWW afire. The question is why has Apple classified humans in terms of six skin tones: why not four or 10? Is this a whim of Apple designers? No, in fact. Apple designers have done their homework and the decision is scientifically grounded. The new Apple emojis, which users worldwide are already downloading, are based on the phototype classification created in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick and widely used today. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    A cosmetic’s journey into the skin

    Manufacturers promise flawless skin if we use cosmetics that they claim penetrate the skin and improve cell functioning. And yes, of course they do penetrate – but to what depth? The skin’s outermost layer, specially designed to act as a barrier, is formed of nearly impermeable tissue. So, how can cosmetics penetrate the skin?

     

    No cosmetic active ingredient has yet been invented that crosses the epidermal barrier and penetrates deep into the skin. In fact, a substance that appears to penetrate the dermis and hypodermis is most likely absorbed by the blood vessels. In that case it would be a drug, not a cosmetic active ingredient, because it affects metabolism. With nicotine patches applied to the skin, for instance, tiny nicotine molecules travel via the skin layers until they reach blood vessels. Does nicotine act on the skin on its way to the blood? The answer is no. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    A sensor patch to analyse sweat

    17 Apr A sensor patch to analyse sweat

     

    Sources:

    IEEE Spectrum

    They say bracelets and watches are taking on a new meaning – as “wearables”, whether they count the steps we take during the day or monitor the quality of our sleep. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (USA) have developed a bandaid-like wearable gadget with a sensor that measures electrolytes, metabolites and proteins in perspiration and which could prove to be of diagnostic value.

     

    Using perspiration to diagnose certain diseases is nothing new; cystic fibrosis can be ruled out by this method, for intance, and perspiration has also been used to determine drug intake. But the Novel Devices Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati (USA) has gone a step further: Jason Heickenfel and his team have developed a wearable gadget consisting of material that absorbs perspiration, a circuit that calculates perspiration levels of certain ions, e.g., sodium, and a unit for radio frequency transmission of this data to a smartphone. Read More

  • 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

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