All posts tagged: science

Olive Oil: on Your Skin or in Your Plate?

Olive oil is an emollient — a moisturising agent able to reduce water loss and cover the skin with a protective film, and it can also penetrate deeply into the skin. For many years, olive oil has been used to care for dry skin. It was believed that the application of pure oil would soften and nourish dry thinning skin, make it more resilient and elastic, restore its protective properties. However latest research has demonstrated that olive oil should not be used as a primary skin care solution, for its effect would be quite the contrary of what you’d expect. Olive oil contains quite a lot of oleic acid which can gradually dissolve the lipid layer of the epidermis thus weakening the skin’s barrier function. The skin then loses its own natural ability to retain water, dries up and becomes thin. If the skin is healthy to begin with, applying olive oil for a relatively short period of time (up to 9 months) does not normally cause any side effects. But even then one should …

Getting Under Your Skin

I develop cosmetics for a living specialising on topical skin care as opposed to injectables and other invasive solutions. In my professional life I am quite often asked, How does a cream even penetrate into the skin? Doesn’t it just stay on the surface (being therefore useless)? Most popular opinions on the subject are: Nothing gets inside the skin, because it is our impenetrable protective barrier (and therefore you need to stick needles in your face and inject things or use laser, dermabrasion and radio waves to achieve any kind of effect), or; Only very expensive cosmetics would be able to penetrate into the skin. Here’s how it all really works. One of the skin’s primary functions is indeed protection, and not every substance would be able to get through this barrier. But it’s not impenetrable either. Your skin is not a space suit that can only be pierced with a needle or a laser beam. There are substances, dermatological medicinal creams among them, that are able to get so deep through the skin that …

Botox Can Affect Your Emotions

It has long been suggested that feedback signals from facial muscles influence emotional experience. The recent surge in use of botulinum toxin (BTX) to induce temporary muscle paralysis offers a unique opportunity to directly test this “facial feedback hypothesis.” Previous research shows that the lack of facial muscle feedback due to BTX-induced paralysis influences subjective reports of emotional experience, as well as brain activity associated with the imitation of emotional facial expressions. However, it remains to be seen whether facial muscle paralysis affects brain activity, especially the amygdala, which is known to be responsive to the perception of emotion in others. Further, it is unknown whether these neural changes are permanent or whether they revert to their original state after the effects of BTX have subsided. The present study sought to address these questions by using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure neural responses to angry and happy facial expressions in the presence or absence of facial paralysis. Results Consistent with previous research, amygdala activity was greater in response to angry compared to happy faces …

Dimethicone Debate

Dimethicone: What does this word mean? Some easily impressible journalists and bloggers seem to think that it’s something really terrible that should not ever be used in cosmetic skincare. Let’s look into it, shall we.  Dimethicone’s chemical name sounds rather intimidating—Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). It is a polymer—a substance that consists of many identical molecules. Polymers are not necessarily synthesised—they can be organic too, and a lot of them are present in the human body, hyaluronic acid being one of them. Maple syrup and cane sugar are made up by polymers as well. So, we’ve established that dimethicone is a polymer. It is made up by a large number of molecules, all identical and based on silicone [O-Si(CH3)2]n. This makes dimethicone basically an organic silicone. It is an optically clear, inert and scentless silicone oil. So what makes dimethicone so attractive to cosmetic manufacturers? It is, first of all, its incredible stability. Dimethicone does not go bad in cold or hot temperatures, it is not affected by UV-radiation, it stops bacterial and fungal reproduction, and it is environmentally friendly—what’s not …