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Can bedtime products really help your baby sleep? Episode 123

Skin care and the sound of musicbaby-869259_960_720


Cosmetic marketers are always trying to innovate but sometimes I think they take it a bit too far. This new innovation from Shiseido seems to be one of those times. According to a report in Cosmetics Design, Shiseido has developed some music software that supposedly enhances the power of touching the skin. They call it Acoustic Beauty Care. They say that when sound is introduced to the process of treating skin, it improves the experience and allows the customer to appreciate the comfort of skin care and the feel of cosmetics even more keenly. So I guess that would mean if you listen to music your cosmetics will work better?

To be fair it doesn’t seem like they are claiming that. They just say that they can improve your overall experience by listening to certain types of music while getting a treatment. This doesn’t sound like any great big surprise. I mean if you go to a spa and they are playing death metal music, you’re going to have a different experience than if they were playing soothing water droplets with soft violin undertones. The lesson we can all take from this is that if you want to have a better experience while applying cosmetics, you should play some music. And that sparked an idea. How about we release our own Beauty Brains cosmetic application music? So feel free to play that song any time you apply your cosmetics and it will make them work better. Our lawyers tell me that we need a disclaimer that this claim hasn’t been verified by the FDA.

An iPhone beauty app that really works


I loves me my smart phone. But when it comes to beauty apps for smart phones we haven’t seen many that really provide a benefit. The one that always comes to mind is the mole detecting app that could actually be downright dangerous.
 But I found one that may really be helpful for your health.

Like the pump packaging I talked about two weeks ago, this one also comes to us from the fine folks at L’Oreal who has developed a UV radiation detecting patch that works with your smart phone.
 It’s called, cleverly enough, My UV Patch and it’s a tiny, thin, stretchable patch that contains photo sensitive dyes with a built in layer of electronics. As the patch absorbs UV throughout the day it changes color. When you want to know how much UV you’ve been exposed to, you snap a picture of the patch with your phone and the app decodes your total UV exposure. I presume it gives you some sort of context like…you’ve accumulated enough exposure to begin damaging your skin. Or maybe it gives you some indication that it’s time to reapply sunscreen?

We’ve seen color change used as an indicator of UV exposure before (on a bottle? I’m not sure). It’s tough to do this accuralty because the reading a color shift can be subjective. Maybe the electronics help calibrate the camera somehow to give you more consistent readings? 
 At this point it hasn’t been determined if this will be a stand alone product that you can buy or if it will come free with purchase of another skin care product. It’ll also be interesting to see how they make this kind of wearable fashionable so people don’t feel like an idiot wearing it.

The top beauty power brands (according to WWD)


Here are the top 10 power beauty brands according to Women’s Wear Daily.

10. Lancome – a prestige beauty brand ranked number two in sales in the US.

9. Dove – This brand increased value 10 percent in the last year.

8. Estee Lauder – An oldie but still growing. Third largest prestige brand in the US.

7. Benefit cosmetics – They are one of the best on social media.

6. Maybelline New York – Another old brand but somehow they have remained youth-oriented. They apparently are really strong with search engine optimization & rank #2 on the digital ranking index.

5. Urban Decay – They killed it last year with their Naked series of palettes

4. Neutrogena – Here’s a surprise but beauty editors love this brand. They are winning in the mass market skin care market.

3. Chanel – Just goes to show that old doesn’t mean irrelevant. This brand has been around forever and is still the number one fragrance player in the US.

2. MAC – Makeup reigns supreme and MAC is the king. They are the toped ranked prestige color brand in the US.

1. L’Oreal Paris – They have top 10 sellers in 13 different categories. Hair, skin, makeup, they’ve got it all and that’s why they are number one.

Some other brands lower on the list.
Where’s Pantene?

Blackberry and Dill – a natural anti aging breakthrough?

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If I told you that blackberry and dill extracts are effective anti-aging ingredients, what would you say? That’s what I would have said…until I saw this study published by J&J that shows these materials may actually increase elastin in your skin. First some background – Remember that elastin (along with collagen) is responsible for creating the scaffolding of your skin. It’s the fiber that gives skin structure, holds it up so it doesn’t collapse and form wrinkles.

Creating new elastin is complicated and involves three key processes:
1.) Increasing the production of the components that make new elastin fibers (these are things like tropo-elastin and microfibrils)

2) increasing the levels of enzymes that promote cross-linking of the elastin fibers so they set up the proper matrix in the dermis and

3) decreasing the enzymes that break down elastin. If you can do those three things you should have more elastin and therefore younger looking skin.

J&J researchers hypothesized that Blackberry Leaf extract could decrease the “bad” enzymes AND boost the production of tropo-elastin (wasn’t that the mouse on the Ed Sulivan show? There are about 3 people in the audience who will get that joke.)

And that dill extract could increase LOXL1, an enzyme that cross links these pieces into functional fibers.

Then they did some tests on human cells in the lab to validate this hypothesis:
They showed that Blackberry Leaf extract does inhibit the “bad stuff” that breaks down elastin (human leukocyte elastase Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). It also promotes new elastin formation.

They cited other in vitro test results – not sure if theirs or not – which showed that dill extract does increase both the good enzyme and actual elastin production.

So there’s the data that appears to validate the mechanism.

Next they did a clinical study on real people. They applied a combination of the extracts to the subjects’ arms for 12 weeks and then looked for increased elastin under actual use conditions. These were measured two ways: they looked at tissue samples to see if more elastin fibers are visible and they measure skin elasticity which is an indirect measure of elastin. The results were positive in both cases.

This is about as robust as it gets in the cosmetic world – they have a theoretical mechanism for how it works, in vitro data to demonstrate the theoretical efficacy and clinical data to show it works when applied topically.

There are a few questions/issues:
First, all the clinical data appears to come from a single study that’s fairly small (n=49.)

Second, in the data I saw they didn’t always show whether or not the results were statistically significant. In for the case where they did show statistical significance, only one of the two results (net elasticity) reached the 95% level. (The other gross elasticity was 90%) That means we’re less sure that the results are reproducible and not just a fluke.

Third, there’s no context for these results. Was the degree of improvement consumer perceptible in any way? Also, there’s no indication of how these results compare to other elasticity-boosting ingredients. Are blackberry and dill any better than peptides? Are they worse? It’s always nice to have a natural alternative but we would want to know that we’re not sacrificing efficacy just to get a natural claim.

Finally, it’s hard to say how this might translate into a finished formula. The levels of extracts that showed impactful results was higher you typically find in creams and lotions. They tested different levels but saw best results at 20% and higher (Your run of the mill product with a pinch of blackberry and dill would not provide these results.) But then again maybe this could be optimized.

Overall I’d say this is very interesting!

Rainbow freckles


Have you seen the hot new trend sweeping the nation? Rainbow-freckles. While women used to try to hide their freckles, some are now embracing and enhancing them with colorful version. They use pencil eyeliner to create faux freckles with all the different colors of the rainbow. And you know the trend is catching on because model Kendall Jenner posted pictures of herself with them on Instagram. You can see what I’m talking about by searching Instagram for #rainbowfrackles and #coloredfreckles. I think we need a Beauty Brains rainbow freckle picture up on our Instagram channel. Randy, can we get you to do that? It’s good to see kids experimenting with cosmetics.

Can bedtime products really help your baby sleep?


In what seems now to be a regular segment for the show, I’ve got story about another lawsuit against a cosmetic company. This one comes from right here in Illinois and it’s against the Johnson and Johnson company – a woman is suing them for NOT putting her baby to sleep.

According to the article, this woman has filed a suit claiming that J&J’s Bedtime Bath and Lotion products are making misleading claims. She says that she bought these products after seeing ads that claim they are “clinical proven to help babies sleep better.”

This benefit was so important to her that she was willing to pay a higher price for these products (they’re priced $1 more than other J&J baby products). But, after following the products’ instructions she found that they did NOT help her baby sleep better. So of course, the next logical step would be to sue. BTW, there’s a proposed class action lawsuit in NJ for this same reason. I don’t want get bogged down in the legal issues here – I just want to talk about the claims. At first I couldn’t even believe they would make claims about improving baby’s sleep. But actually, they do. Here’s what their website says:

“Sometimes babies have trouble sleeping. This 3-step nighttime baby bath routine is clinically proven to help your baby go to sleep easier and sleep better through the night in just 7 days.*
*With a bath using JOHNSON’S® baby BEDTIME® bath, a gentle massage using JOHNSON’S® baby BEDTIME® lotion, and a few minutes of quiet time, you can let your baby drift off to a better night’s sleep. Make bathtime a gentle and calming time, with NATURALCALM® essences that blend aromas to soothe your baby.”

That wording is very important – they’re not directly claiming there’s anything about the product itself that is sleep inducing. Rather, they’re saying that following a specific routine (which by the way uses these products) improves sleep. That seems much more reasonable than having a product with some kind of narcoleptic fragrance effect. BTW, the ingredients are very standard.

SO, I figured someone must have done a study of the effect of bedtime routine on baby’s sleep and sure enough I found one referenced on WebMD. It was a study involving 405 mothers with babies between 7 months and 36 months old which showed that “babies who followed a nightly bedtime routine went to sleep easier, slept better, and cried less during the night.” The study is all about standardizing activities – Steps include playing quiet games, make every activity peaceful and calm, bathe right before bedtime, and so on. It has nothing to do with using specific products.
Maybe J&J ran their own version of this study using their own products but there’s nothing to suggest that one product would work better than any other – and they’re not claiming their products work better than any other.

So from a claims support standpoint I think they’re in good shape. EXCEPT for ONE word: Clinically proven to help YOUR baby go to sleep easier vs clinically proven to help babies go to sleep easier. The specificity that comes with “your” could make the claim seem more misleading.

It’ll be interesting to see how these lawsuits are resolved.

Ingredients: Water (eau), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Polysorbate 20, PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride, Parfum

J&J lose lawsuit over baby powder


It’s a tough time to be J&J. Not only did they get sued for their baby products that aren’t making babies sleep better, they recently got slapped with a ruling giving saying they have to pay $72 million in a case that linked their baby powder to ovarian cancer.

A Missouri jury awarded the money to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer. She had brought the suit claiming that using J&J baby powder was the cause.

Her son, who took over the case after she died, said that his mom used the baby powder ever day for decades. And even though there is no scientific evidence supporting the notion that talc can in any way cause cancer, the jury still reached a conclusion that it had.

This is so frustrating! Why are juries who have no background in science being asked to make judgements about science?

Anyway, if this holds up it could be huge for J&J since they have more than 1000 similar cases country wide. No doubt they will appeal.

One of the key pieces of evidence that was introduced in the trial was an internal memo from a J&J medical consultant who suggested that “anybody who denies the risks” between hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer would be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer. “Denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

Which I guess goes to show that even medical consultants can be misinformed.

Incidentally, talc is a natural material. What does this do to the idea that “natural” is automatically good for you?

Anyway, there must be something more to this because the science is on J&J’s side. There is no evidence that talc can cause cancer.

This will have to be appealed and overturned. Can you imagine what would happen to the industry if it isn’t? Anyone with cancer can bring a lawsuit against any company and get a settlement. I just don’t see how any company could make cosmetics any more. It is so easy to convince an non-scientifically educated populace that any ingredient could be implicated and any company could be sued.

iTunes reviews

Mashville says…These guys have helped me see past all the “hype” to make my own informed decisions. Yay science! Many people mention the banter isn’t so great. They aren’t the Tappet brothers, but not everyone is. They make an effort, and I applaud them for it.

Gabtract says…I’m in school at the moment studying to be cosmetic chemist myself and this show was a great find. I love how informative and fun these guys are and they make me excited about my future career

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lauren March 15, 2016, 11:06 pm

    FYI definitely pronounced “Mac” and not “M. A. C. “

    • Randy Schueller March 16, 2016, 8:30 am

      Thanks Lauren (to be honest I was just teasing…)

  • Pam March 16, 2016, 9:24 pm

    I’m imagining some sleep-deprived woman, hanging on to her last shred of sanity, buying the J & J baby products, and saying to herself, “At last the baby will FALL ASLEEP!” Later at 2 a.m., rocking a wide-awake baby, filing a lawsuit seems entirely logical. Someone needs to tell her about Benadryl. (Just kidding about the Benadryl, of course.)