How do color correcting conditioners work? Episode 88

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Listen to the podcast for this week’s question and answer session. Plus, another game of Improbable Products!

How do color correcting conditioners work?smiling_rainbow_hair_by_eds77-d4gligr

Audrey asks…How do color correcting conditioners work?

Color correcting conditioners work two ways: For darker hair they contain a red or brown dye that will provide a little staining effect. For blonde shades they contain a purple dye known as D&C Violet # 2. The purple dye cancels out some of the brassiness and supposedly brightens blond hair.

The problem with this approach is that it’s very difficult to deposit very much dye from a rinse out system. When we’ve evaluated these products we haven’t seen much of an effect but they do work to some extent.

Listen to the show to hear our complete response.

Are wine baths good for your skin?

Chemical & Engineering News asked about a player for the NBA (Amar’e Stoudemire) who recently posted a photo of himself soaking in a tub full of Spanish wine. They asked me if wine baths really work.

According to the company’s website,  “you will soak in a tub and enjoy the antioxidant benefits and relaxing experience of soaking in red wine. Does this really benefit your skin? There are a lot of unknowns here but I doubt it. 
How much wine is used in the bath? (Is the bath ALL wine or is the wine diluted with water?)
 What is the level of antioxidant material in the wine? (polyphenol content varies with the type of wine and how it was produced.) 
How “fresh” is the wine bath? Antioxidants are good at scavenging electrons from oxygen and other sources. The longer the wine bath is exposed to air, the fewer active antioxidants will be left.
For the sake of discussion, let’s say that they optimize the amount of antioxidants the bath by using ONLY wine in the bath tub, by choosing wines that are proven to be rich in antioxidants, and they replace the bath with fresh wine every 30 minutes. (after each bath.) Then is it good for your skin? I still doubt it.

Antioxidants benefit skin by stopping sun-induced damage. So for optimal protection you need antioxidants on your skin during sun exposure. These can be best delivered from a cream or lotion that puts the antioxidants in contact with your skin and keeps them there until they’re used up. Taking a dip in antioxidants which are then rinsed off your body is unlikely to have a sustained effect.

Is lanolin the best moisturizer?

Dana asks…My question is about Lanolin. I’ve read that, because it comes from an animal, it is molecularly closer to human skin and one of the best moisturizers. If this is true, does it make sense to use pure lanolin alone to moisturize at night? Other than the greasy pillow case factor, why should or shouldn’t I slap some on my face before bed?

Lanolin is a good moisturizer but it’s not as good as petrolatum. It’s also important to note that some people are allergic lanolin. Also, just because from an ingredient comes from an animal doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best ingredient to use. Collagen comes from animals. Squalene comes from shark liver oil. Hyaluronic acid used to come from rooster combs. That doesn’t mean these are the most effective ingredients. And to be honest, in today’s climate if THE most effective ingredient came from animals I’m not sure any company would market it.

The anti-sunscreen?

Hillary asks…I’m curious about sun care products that don’t contain SPF, like Institute Esthederm’s products. They claim to work by building resistance to the sun vs. working like traditional SPF’s. How would an SPF free product work to keep me from burning and would they work better than traditional sunscreens?

I’ve never heard of this brand but apparently it’s been around 30 years and it’s driven by the discoveries of a Dr Jean-Noel Thorel who has a number of patents on various cosmetic science technologies. I looked at a couple of their products and here’s what I found:

A deeper, quicker and long-lasting tan. Skin’s natural sun defenses are strengthened. Skin is better prepared and better protected.

  • Prepares skin for tanning by activating the pigmentation process
  • Protects skin cells without filters or screens
  • Optimizes cells’ energy environment

I couldn’t find any ingredient list so I can’t tell you what it contains. Their website refers to a patent: This product is…”formulated without filters or screens. It perfectly allows the skin to enjoy all the positive benefits of the sun yet protects it from the harmful sun effects. The patent contains heat shock proteins that protect the skin’s DNA and act as air conditioners for the cells.”

But, the product does contain this warning statement:

Caution: This product contains no screens or filters and should be used with your regular sunscreen in case of prolonged exposure or strong sunlight.

Here’s another product: Institut Esthederm Adaptasun Face Cream Sensitive Skin Extreme Sun

This one claims…

  • Protects skin from UVB and UVA rays
  • Activates the natural pigmentation process
  • Protects cell DNA
  • Prevents photo-aging…
  • “Sensitive skin is able to adapt more effectively to the sun and tans with more ease. Naturally protected, it tans more quickly while preventing sunburn.

Yet it contains zinc oxide and octyl methoxycinnamate both of which are proven sunscreens.

This brand makes me very nervous. Hey Dr. Thorel if you’re listening, please send me a link to your patent for this product or the results of some clinical trials, or something!

How much retinol does this cream have?

PMA asks….They say this IOPE cream has 2500 UI of retinol… what’s the % of retinol?

According to this site, 1 IU (international units) of retinol = 0.3 micrograms of retinol. Therefore, 2500 IUs = 750 micrograms or 0.750 grams of retinol.
 I assume this is the amount in one tube which has a net volume of 40 mls.

Assuming the specific gravity of the cream is about 1.0 (which is close enough) the percentage of retinol in the product is 0.00075 gr retinol/40 gr product = 0.00001875gr retinol/gr product =  0.001875% % retinol.

That seems WAY to low to be effective so I’m wondering if one of my assumptions is wrong. Maybe the product contains  2500 IU per ml?  But that would make the % too high. Or, maybe it’s per application? That might be about right. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything on their website that specifies this.

I wonder why they chose to express their active ingredient concentration in such a confusing way? Maybe the company is in the pharmaceutical sector? Or just to look smart?  Or maybe even to deliberately confuse the consumer?

Another retinol question…

Koko6944 in Forum says…
I found the company “InstaNatural” who make products with all the proven anti-aging ingredients like retinol, vitamin c, niacinamide etc with the highest concentrations i have ever seen (like 2,5 % retinol and 5% niacinamide) and the products are actually super cheap. Is this too good to be true? I didn´t even know that a retinol product this high in percentage is allowed to be sold over the counter.

I’d never heard of this company so I checked their website and found this:

“Our other retinol products use an encapsulated retinol. This means that the molecules are contained in a lipid covering that dissolves after absorption by the skin, allowing the retinol to penetrate the deeper layers of skin. It’s also gentler on the skin this way because it prevents the retinol from oxidizing, allowing us to use it in higher concentration. Retinol is this form has a higher pH than standard retinol.

2.5% retinol DOES seem high. Typically encapsulating retinol allows you to use a lower level which makes it less irritating and increases the chances that you’ll use it frequently. (So it works better.)

I noticed that they also sell a salicylic acid product a pH of 8 which is worthless because it’s no longer in the acid form and it won’t exfoliate. Besides, 8 is pretty high for your skin anyway! .

Improbable Products – The All Tampon Edition

Two of these tampon-themed products are real, one is made up. Can you spot the fake? Listen to the show for the answer.

  1. Personalized tampons printed with the name of your choice
  2. Glow in the dark tampons
  3. A video game in which you shoot tampons at your enemies

iTunes Reviews

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