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Beauty Science News – August 10

Here are some of our favorite beauty science news stories from the past week…

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Nizoral dandruff shampoo – Look at the label

Nizoral dandruff shampoo is a best seller on Amazon. Is it really different from other products? Let’s look at the label.

Dandruff shampoos are drugs

We’ve talked before about how over the dandruff shampoos are actually over-the-counter drugs. As such, there are only a few different active ingredients that can be used in these products. The most commonly used ingredient, zinc pyrithione, doesn’t always work well for everyone. In that case you might want to try other options. Nizoral is one of the few brands to use ketoconazole, a former prescription drug. If you haven’t had good luck with your Head & Shoulders, you might want to give this one a try. (But you probably wouldn’t want to try this one first since its much more expensive than shampoos which use ZPT – it’s about $14 for 7 ounces.)

Nizoral ingredients

Active Ingredient: Ketoconazole (1%). Inactive Ingredients: Acrylic Acid Polymer (Carbomer 1342), Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Cocamide MEA, FD&C Blue 1, Fragrance, Glycol Distearate, Polyquaternium-7, Quaternium-15, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate, Sodium Hydroxide and/or Hydrochloric Acid, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Water.

If you want to buy Nizoral please use our link and help support the Beauty Brains. Thanks!

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A man enters a shower with a bar of soap telling himself “Ok fella, go to it.” James Bondish theme song music, which identifies the time period as the mid-60′s, plays in the background as we see close up shots of him soaping himself. At the end of the shower he tells us with a sigh of satisfaction that the shampoo lather makes “Old Number 1 feel fresh all day.”

I DO NOT want to know which body part he has nicknamed “Old Number 1!”

Of course we do have some beauty science to go along with all the sexual innuendo. Zest was one of the early synthetic detergent bars (or SynDet for short) and originally it used an antimicrobial ingredient called Triclosan to kill the bacteria that causes body odor. Today the product is zestfully free of Triclosan due to safety concerns. The cleansing action and the zingy fragrance provides whatever deodorancy the product offers.

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Will micro-needling help acne scars?

Vic says…I’d like to know what you think of micro needle therapy to reduce acne scars? It says it also stimulates cell regeneration, reduces wrinkles, reduces pores, adds collagen. I’m not too sure… I think it does more harm than good, they are sharp needles after all. But my daughter wants to reduce her acne scars.

The Beauty Brains respond:

It sounds crazy but poking holes in your skin can actually help!

Collagen Induction Therapy

Poking your skin with a needle studded roller is technically referred to as Percutaneous Collagen Induction Therapy (or CIT). CIT has been used by dermatologists for the last decade or so as a way to reduce wrinkles and scar tissue without significant side effects. Basically, the process involves numbing your face and then poking it with fine needles a few millimeters long. These micro perforations trigger increased collagen synthesis which can fill in wrinkles and help heal scars. Other benefits include improved skin tightness, reduced acne scars and stretch marks, as well as improved scar color.

Amazing, isnt it? Here’s how it works: The needles cause an inflammatory response which triggers a complex series of reactions involving chemotactic factors, neutrophils, and fibroblasts. This process leads to the creation of new skin cells that promote collagen deposition. But here’s the catch: for this procedure to be effective the the needles need to be at least 1.5 mm and have a diameter of 0.25 mm. So, because of potential side effects (not to mention potential pain), only a trained dermatologist should administer the procedure.

DIY Danger

The distinction in needle length is an important one: some companies who make these rollers are very clear about the difference between the professional models for medical use and the home models for cosmetic use. But other less scrupulous companies blur the difference and imply that the home model will provide all the benefits of the medical treatment. Some are even so bold as to state that their needle rollers will cure cellulite and baldness. I’m surprised no one is marketing this technology as a breast enlargement treatment!

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Poking your face with needles (when done by a trained professional) is a legitimate treatment to increase collagen. But the Do It Yourself version is another story all together. If the roller has the proper type of needles to be effective then it is a medical device that should only be used by a trained professional. And if it uses smaller needles, then it may be safe for you to use on yourself as an exfolliant, but it won’t provide the same collagen stimulating effect. So either way, when it comes to DIY face needling, let the buyer beware!

References:

Derma-Roller FAQ’s: http://www.derma-rollers.com/24/derma-roller-faqs

Oral Maxillofacial Surg Clin N Am 17 (2005) 51 – 63 Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Collagen Induction Desmond Fernandes, MB, BCh, FRCS(Edin) The Shirnel Clinic and Department of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, University of Cape Town, 822 Fountain Medical Centre, Heerengracht, Cape Town 8001, South Africa

American Academy of Dermatology 67th Annual Meeting March 6–10, 2009 P3514 Skin collagen induction and photoaging Gabriella Fabbrocini, Department of Dermatology University Federico II of Naple, Napoli, Italy; Antonella Tosti, Department of Dermatology University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; Giuseppe Monfrecola, MD, Department of Dermatology University Federico II of Naple, Napoli, Italy; Maria Pia De Padova, MD, Ospedale Privato Nigrisoli, Bologna, Italy

 

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Karen is curious… I live in Asia currently and this one of the most popular products on the beauty aisle now.It is made by Japan Gals Co. Ltd, and its acts like a facial massager (it’s called the “ion shotnizer“). It has two switches and the red light releases a positive ionic wave and enables “deep cleansing of negatively charged dirt particles which are impossible to remove by normal facial washing”. While the green light releases a negative ionic wave which “brings skincare products into deep layers of skin”. It does not vibrate or use light. Does this sound like hocus pocus to you?

The Beauty Brains respond:

Hocus pocus? Naw.
Psuedoscience? Yep!

What is iontophoresis?

The idea that electric charge can help ingredients penetrate skin is not new. Around the turn of the 20th century the French physician Stéphane Leduc proved that electricity could be used to move compounds through the skin. In an experiment that would be considered appalling by today’s standards he connected two rabbits to the same electrical circuit. The first rabbit was connected to the positive pole which was covered in a pad soaked in strychnine sulphate; the second rabbit was connected to the negative pole which was saturated with potassium cyanide. When the switch was flipped the positive electrode repelled the positively charged strychnine ions into the first rabbit causing it to go into convulsions. Likewise the negative electrode repelled the negatively charged cyanide ions into the second rabbit which poisoned it. When the current was reversed, neither rabbit was harmed because the electrodes attracted the strychnine and cyanide rather than repelling them.  This experiment shows that if an organism is connected to a complete electrical circuit, the electrodes can “push” ions with the same charge through the skin.

Does this mean the ion shotnizer really works?

No, it doesn’t. First of all, the shotnizer does not form a compete electrical circuit (it can only act as the positive or negative side.) Second, it’s unlikely that the two AA batteries that power the unit will produce sufficient energy. Third, even if there was a complete circuit and enough power, only certain types of ions (those with the right size, solubility, and charge) will penetrate skin.

But what about their claim that it will get rid of “negatively charged dirt particles which are impossible to remove by normal facial washing?” This claim makes no sense because that’s not how the charge interaction between skin and dirt works. When skin is damaged it has more of a negative charge which means that positive charged particles are more likely to stick to it. They basically have it backwards. Besides, who’s to say that any kind of ionic treatment would remove dirt particles better than a mild detergent?

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Unless the good folks at “Japan Gals Co. Ltd” can produce evidence that this gadget does what they say, I have to say that the ion shotnizer is hocus poo-poo.

Reference: Iontophoresis and Desincrustation

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This week I challenge Perry to another game of Beauty Science or BS. Plus we banter about a bevy of beauty science news stories. 

Click below to play Episode 42 or click “download” to save the MP3 file to your computer.

Show notes

Beauty Science or Bull Sh*t – a special sunscreen-themed episode

Can you guess which one of the following Refinery29 headlines is fake?

  1. Your Hair Products Are Causing Your Scalp Sunburn
  2. Text your way to sunburn free skin
  3. Chemical-Free Sunscreens For A Health-Conscious Summer

Listen to the show for the answer and to find out if you can beat Perry at this game.

Beauty Science News Stories

1. Microbead ban not so bad

A ban on micro beads may not be such a big deal since there’s no evidence that the beads do a better job of exfoliating than a regular cleanser with a washcloth.

2. Should titanium dioxide be pulled off the market? 

The Public Interest Alliance (PIA) has won a California lawsuit requiring five leading skin care brands to re-label or remove titanium dioxide (TiO2) from their products. The PIA points to the link between TiO2 inhalation and tumor growth but they admit there’s no evidence that products containing TiO2 are dangerous to people. They say they just want to raise awareness of the safety issue.  The affected brands include DermaQuest, Dr. Hauschka Skincare, Melaleuca and Murad.

3. Is feline acne a thing?

Yes, your cat can get acne. Especially if it has bad hygiene. And, no, you don’t need to put benzoyl peroxide on its whiskers.

4. Is Abercrombie’s scent making you sick?

Abercrombie’s Fierce fragrance is making shoppers anxious, according to researchers at Concordia University in Canada. Professor Bianca Grohmann says that if a scent is mismatched to the space it is smelled in, it will increase anxiety. For example, “open” smells like the seashore or apple orchards, shouldn’t be used in enclosed spaces. Likewise “indoor” scents, like buttered popcorn or firewood shouldn’t be used outside. Abercrombie has announced it would cut its fragrance emissions by 25 percent.

5. Is Neutrogena’s Cloudscreen just a smokescreen?

Neutrogena is marketing a standard sunscreen product as a “cloud screen” that’s meant to protect your skin from the sun on cloudy days. Is this a legitimate attempt to get people to use more sunscreen or just more marketing BS?

6. Salon brands are not always who you think.

Salon hair care brands are fiercely independent using cutting edge knowledge….right? Well 3 salon brands were just gobbled up by the German surfactant company Henkel: Alterna, SexyHair and Kenra in $370 million deal.

Henkel also owns Dial, Schwarzkopf, Right Guard, and Got2Be (to name a few.)

7. The genetics of  being blonde

Just a single mutation on a gene determines if you have blonde hair. (This is called a single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNIPs for short.) Even though most humans have the same basic genetic makeup, SNIPs make us all different. In the future could you make yourself a blonde through genetic manipulation?

LIL buy it now button

Buy your copy of It’s OK to Have Lead in Your Lipstick to learn more about:

      • Clever lies that the beauty companies tell you.
      • The straight scoop of which beauty myths are true and which are just urban legends.
      • Which ingredients are really scary and which ones are just scaremongering by the media to incite an irrational fear of chemicals.
      • How to tell the difference between the products that are really green and the ones that are just trying to get more of your hard earned money by labeling them “natural” or “organic.

Click here for all the The Beauty Brains podcasts.

 

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The chemistry of hair color

Earlier this year I did a talk for a cosmetic science class at the University of Toledo which outlined the hair research I did which eventually resulted in this patent.  It was all about the process of how we went through some basic research to determine why colored hair fades and ways to prevent that from happening.  It was fun to remember that time.  While putting together the research I had to review the chemistry of hair colors and I thought I’d share that information with the Beauty Brains community.

Types of hair color

Natural hair color is the result of two types of melanin pigments, eumelanin which is responsible for the brown and black colors of hair and pheomelanin which creates the orange or blonde hues.  Together, these two molecules are responsible for every hair color on the planet, except for the artificial ones or grey hair which is the absence of any pigment.

There are a number of options for synthetic hair color and these are classified by the types of color molecules used and the length of time that they last.  They include the following

  • Temporary hair color
  • Semi-permanent / demi-permanent hair color
  • Permanent hair color
  • Bleaching

We’ll go through each of these and explain how they work.

Temporary hair color

Temporary hair colors are ones that are meant to be applied and worn for only a short amount of time.  They are great forperry romanowskioccasions when you just want to try out a new color.  They also have many more color options than you can get with most other hair colors.  Here’s a picture of when I tried a pink colored temporary hair color.  The thing about temporary hair colors is that they only coat the surface of the hair (they can’t penetrate) so they are easily removed with one or two shampooings.  The colorants used are acid or basic dyes.  Many of them are the same colorants used for food.  Acid dyes are more easily removed because they are less compatible with hair.  Basic dyes may be slightly more substantive but they too a readily removed.

Semi-permanent hair color

Semi-permanent hair colors can penetrate the surface of the hair into the cuticle layer.  These products will last for a few more washings than temporary colors but they too will eventually be washed out.  The vast majority of dyes used for semipermanent colors include nitrophenylenediamines, nitroaminophenols and aminoanthraquinones.   The first two compounds create yellow to violet colors while the last provides violet to blue hues.  Semi-permanent hair colors work great for people who just want to experiment with a new color.  They also work well for grey hair coverage.  One of the challenges for semi-permanent colors is that they do not completely cover the natural hair color so this tends to limit the color pallet that is available for the consumer.  That also means hair is not as damaged but it’s a trade off.

Bleaching

When a consumer wants to go lighter in color, one way to permanently do that is to bleach the hair.  Beaching essentially is an oxidation reaction with the hair melanin that causes it to lose color.  Strong bleaching requires a combination of ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and ammonium persulfate.  This will properly open up the hair shaft and break down the melanin.  Hair color is typically described on a 12 point scale with a 12 being ultra blonde and a 1 being black.  The maximum level of bleaching you can achieve with one treatment is a change of a 6-7 level.  Also, once this bleaching is done the hair is permanently changed in color.  New hair at the roots will be the natural hair color but the bleached hair will remain bleached unless otherwise colored.

Permanent hair coloring

The most common hair color is permanent hair coloring.  This process involves a change in hair color that is “permanent” or at least until new hair grows.  The process involves a couple of steps including bleaching out the natural hair color (by 3-4 levels) and adding the new color.  The dyes used are actually dye precursors.  These small molecules are monomers which are able to penetrate into the hair all the way to the cortext.  Common compounds used include p-phenylenediamine and p-aminophenol.  Permanent hair color is a three step process that begins with colorless monomers.

  1. Oxidation of the monomer to a reactive species via peroxide
  2. Addition of a coupler to give a dye intermediate
  3. Oxidation of intermediate to create the final dye

This is a polymerization reaction so the dye molecules become too large to easily come out of the hair shaft upon washing.  Thus, you get a permanent coloring.

The significant issues with this type of coloring is that it damages the hair structure and you have limited colors that can work.  Also, a patch test needs to be done to ensure that the person getting the hair colored does not have a negative reaction.

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Sunscreen savvy for Sunday

Since it’s now August and we’re well into the summer (at least here in the northern hemisphere), I thought it might be a good idea to recap a few our favorite sunscreen-themed posts. (Instead of our regular beauty science news of the week.) Enjoy!

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Africa’s Best No Lye Relaxer – Look at the label

Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System is a top seller on Amazon.com. Is its “No Lye” claim truthful? Let’s look at the label to find out.

I worked with the chemist who developed Motions and other world class relaxers. If you want to support the Beauty Brains please use our link below to shop for No-lye Relaxer or ANY product that you want from Amazon. Perry & I really appreciate your support!

Is Africa’s Best Relaxer really no lye?

Lye, in case you didn’t know, is another name for sodium hydroxide which is the most effective ingredient used in modern relaxers. Unfortunately, it’s also the most harsh. No Lye relaxers use a calcium hydroxide combined with guanidine carbonate. The result is a relaxer that is a little more forgiving – you can leave it on a bit longer before it burns your scalp and fries your hair. Of course the trade off is that it doesn’t straighten quite as well. If you’re getting your hair relaxed by a professional in a salon a lye relaxer is good because it’s so effective. But if you’re doing it yourself at home, a no-lye product does a pretty good job and gives you a little extra cushion of safety.

Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System ingredients

Super Activator: Aqua (Water) , Guanidine Carbonate , Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein , CI 16035 (Red 40) ,

Creme Relaxer: Aqua (Water) , Petrolatum , Cetearyl alcohol , Ceteareth-20 , Calcium Hydroxide , Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil) , PEG-75 Lanolin , Polyquaternium-6 , Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil , Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive) , Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter , PEG-50 Shea Butter , Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil , Cholesterol , Tocopherol , Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Jojoba) , Silk Amino Acids , Mustela (Mink Oil) , Ovum (Egg Powder) , Lactis Proteinum (Milk Protein) , Mel (Honey) , Zea Mays (Corn) Oil , Bht , BHA , Neutralizing Shampoo: Aqua (Water) , Sodium Laureth sulfate , Cocamidopropyl Betaine , Cocamide DEA , Polyquaternium-47 , Trideceth-7 Carboxylic Acid , Carboxylic Acid , Phenolsulfonphthalein , propylene glycol , propylparaben , MEthylparaben , Articum Lappa Root Extract , Trigonella Foenum-Graecum Seed Extract , Commiphora Myrrha Extract , Betula Alba Leaf Extract , Hedra Helix Extract (Ivy) , Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract , Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract , Arnica Montana Flower Extract , Nasturtium Officinale Extract , Urtica Dioica Extract (Nettle) , sodium chloride , Citric Acid , Deep Conditioner: Aqua (Water) , Dimethicone Copolyol , PPG-1 Trideceth-6 , Polyquaternium-37 , Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate , Dicaprate , Hydrolyzed Collagen , DMDM HYDANTOIN , panthenol , fragrance , d-limonene , tetrasodium edta , Lyral , linalool

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White Rain Shampoo – Vintage cosmetic video

“Nice shot,” says the Golf Pro to the Sunshine Bright Blonde.  “And take a look at the beautiful hair!”

Sure, it’s an awkward come on line but she doesn’t seem to mind. It took him until the 8th hole to get up the courage for even that lame overature. She laughs and agrees to let him buy her a drink. By the end of the commercial they’ve polished off  three Mai Tai’s and she sends him off for another round. After all, this is Golf Day and she’s not nearly ready to go home yet.

The beauty science bit is that apparently the White Rain of the 1950s was not a cream, a dulling bar or a drying liquid. Rather it was a “lotion shampoo.” What the heck is a lotion shampoo? Since this was before two-in-one shampoo technology was invented I assume that they added an opacifying agent to the shampoo which gives it that rich, pearly look.

It’s also interesting to consider the claim “The only shampoo guaranteed not to dull or dry your hair.” How could they prove that White Rain was the ONLY shampoo that wouldn’t dull hair? They didn’t have to prove that – if you read the claim carefully you’ll realize they’re simply claiming to be the only brand that makes that guarantee. Presumably, if some other company had started making the same promise, this White Rain commercial would have been null and void.

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