Silicone Mythbusting (with Video)

Silicone Mythbusting Video

This post is sponsored by Grant Industries. Silicones are one of the Big Bad ingredients in skincare, make-up and haircare. They’ve been demonised by natural brands, and there are more warnings about them than you can count. So I was delighted when Grant Industries (ingredient manufacturer, maker of Granactive Retinoid, physical sunscreens and of course, silicones) asked me to do a …

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Sunscreens in your blood??! That FDA study

sunscreen-jama-study

You’ve probably seen the recent influx of articles about the new FDA sunscreen study, usually titled something like “sunscreens can make it to your bloodstream!” The study itself is fine and good and necessary as a first step in the FDA’s new zeal for sunscreen regulation. But the more I read the coverage around it, the more annoyed I get, …

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Top 7 Sunscreen Myths (Video)

7 SPF Myths

Every summer brings with it sunshine, and more SPF myths than you ever asked for. This video breaks down 7 of the top sunscreen myths I see around. Check it out here. I’ve listed the references under each myth here, along with where I’ve covered it before (if applicable). Note: not all references are equally good, and in general you …

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Video: How to Get Vitamin D and Stay Sun-Safe

Video: How to Get Vitamin D and Stay Sun-Safe

I’ve posted a new video on vitamin D and sun exposure. Like most skincare addicts I’ve long thought that the sun was evil and should be avoided at all costs, but it turns out that’s an outdated viewpoint!  Vitamin D is important for pretty much everything in your body, and a lot of people are deficient in vitamin D. Does sunscreen …

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Video: Do Collagen Supplements Work for Wrinkles and Younger Skin?

Video: Do Collagen Supplements Work for Wrinkles and Younger Skin?

Supplements are one of the big new “it” categories in beauty, and collagen supplements are one of the most popular. Oral collagen supplements are supposed to be anti-aging, get rid of wrinkles and plump up skin so it looks younger. What’s the science behind them and do they really work?

I made a video on the topic! In it I talk about the way collagen supplements could theoretically work, and then break down the clinical studies on eating and drinking collagen.

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Common Rosacea Questions with Dermatologist Dr Estee Williams

Common Rosacea Questions with Dermatologist Dr Estee Williams

Rosacea is one of the most common skin conditions. It happens when sensitive skin isn’t just sensitive – there’s redness too, and it usually rears its head between the ages of 30 and 60. The most common form of rosacea causes flushing and affects about 15% of Caucasian women.

To get a practical perspective on rosacea since I don’t have it myself (I hope and think… touch wood), I enlisted the help of Dr Estee Williams, a New York-based dermatologist who deals with many rosacea patients (you can find her on Instagram as @DrEsteeWilliams).

Common Rosacea Questions with Dermatologist Dr Estee Williams

Common Questions About Rosacea

Q: What are the signs of rosacea?

EW: The two main signs of rosacea are facial redness and sensitivity.

Facial redness can vary from a flush-and-blush look to “broken capillaries” around the nose, and even actual pink bumps that resemble acne (even doctors sometimes have a hard time making this diagnosis).

Sensitivity is a key feature and can present as dryness, tightness, and even painful skin. Rosacea can also cause burning, stinging, and dryness of the eyes (called ocular rosacea).

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Video: Why DIY Sunscreen Doesn’t Work

Video: Why DIY Sunscreen Doesn't Work

Video: Why DIY Sunscreen Doesn't Work

Here’s a new video on why DIY sunscreen doesn’t work. It’s a much more detailed version of my post on DIY sunscreen from a while ago. It’s a topic that’s quite important to me, since it’s one of those cases where having the wrong information can cause serious harm!

This video has been a bit delayed due to the rest of my life getting a bit hectic, but I managed to get it out before the Northern Hemisphere summer finished, so go me…

I bought a lapel microphone and some new editing software, so everything is a bit more polished I hope! Check it out here.

Extra notes and references

Since I know there are a lot of nerds out there who like references and extra information, here are some of the sources for specific things I mention in the video (I got lazy with my citation style, sorry):

Skin cancer stats are sourced from the Cancer Council Australia and the Skin Cancer Foundation, who list the original sources at the bottom of their respective sites.

SPF testing guidelines: FDA (USA), TGA (Australia), EC (EU).

Dangers of UVA: Blog Post: Why You Should Protect Yourself From UVA

More info on sunscreen formulation

Sunscreens are very unlikely to cause endocrine disruption in practice: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (open access – quote: “Mathematic modeling indicated that it would take 277 years using a sunscreen containing 6% oxybenzone used at 2 mg/cm2 (the dose recommended for sun-protection factor [SPF] testing by the FDA) or 1 mg/cm2 (reported real-life use) to achieve the systemic levels of oxybenzone achieved in the study in rats”), Australasian Journal of Dermatology (looks at other filters apart from oxybenzone)

Nanoparticles in sunscreens are safe: TGA Literature Review (very comprehensive)

More (open access!) papers on zinc oxide: Nanotechnology Science and Applications, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials

People stay in the sun for longer when wearing sunscreen: JID paper (open access)

Reporting illegal medicines: FDA report form, TGA report form

Do oils increase UV penetration?

This is a topic that I thought deserved a longer write-up.

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Meditate Your Way to Better Skin: The Science of Stress

Meditate Your Way to Better Skin: The Science of Stress

It’s pretty obvious that psychological stress impacts on your physical health and skin, but exactly how they’re linked isn’t well understood. “Stress” is a bit vague and difficult to measure. But there’s more and more research on how stress impacts your body, and how reducing stress can help.

Meditate Your Way to Better Skin: The Science of Stress
The stock images I’ve found for “stress” are legit amazing.

A small amount of stress can actually be a good thing. Humans have evolved over thousands of years to become quite adept at dealing with short-term acute stress, like escaping from alligators and mammoths. As part of our adaptation, a lot of our bodily functions actually perform better in periods of acute stress: your heart beats faster to transport more oxygen to your body, your liver products more glucose to fuel your muscles for a fight-or-flight response – your body essentially adjusts to give you the best chance of survival, and once you’re away from danger, your body can recover and replenish the stores it used up.

However, humans haven’t evolved to handle constant activation of the stress response. Late night emails, work deadlines, traffic jams and all the other irritating aspects of modern life contributes to a prolonged background of chronic stress. This leads to problems with your heart, immune system, digestive system, and of course, your skin as well.

How Does Stress Affect Your Skin?

Stress has been linked to flare-ups of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, as well as breakouts. However, even if you don’t have these issues, your skin can still suffer when you’re stressed out!

Meditate Your Way to Better Skin: The Science of Stress
“Stress”

Chronic stress decreases the amount of lipids your skin secretes. Remember the brick and mortar structure of your skin, where the dead outer layers (stratum corneum) consist of dead cell “bricks” with oily lipid “mortar” in between? The oily lipids are necessary to keep your skin flexible and hold in water. Additionally, your skin produces less of the proteins that hold your cells together (corneodesmosomes). These effects combine to make the skin less cohesive and more susceptible to damage.

Meditate Your Way to Better Skin: The Science of Stress
So stressed she’s lying down on a giant metaphor for her non-cohesive skin.

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