Witch Hazel has been a 'go-to' herb for many natural skin care lovers, a reliable tonic that helps reign in and calm problem skin thanks to its toning and tightening chemistry. But our appetite for astringent chemistry has waned over the last few years, we now talk of microbiome balancing, of hydrating our skin back to health rather than seeking to suppress its natural secretions. Has Witch Hazel had its day or is there still a little something left to discover?
Most of us would tend to agree that babies are somewhat cute but as a parent of one they can, more often than not, leave you feeling a little stressed, not least about their skin! Our concerns might start on the day the over-due baby arrives with their dried-out skin, over-developed fingernails and under-developed co-ordination skills (often leaving them with an abundance of minor scrapes). Or maybe it's a few weeks into life when skin eruptions and rashes leave baby looking more like a pimply teenager than a new-born. For others, it is later on when things get messy, when they start to need something more than just warm water and a wash-cloth to cleanse them - the weening and toddler years when things get messy! It is around this point that the skin can really start to feel like a challenge. Let's first have a look at how a baby's skin differs from that of an adult and then look at how to manage the skin through babyhood.
I remember those early days of being pregnant. The morning after the two lines appeared on the test when I stood in the shower looking down at my still empty-looking stomach, hands hugging the space where my baby had just started to grow, wondering what changes were ahead of me and whether I was ready. I wondered if I would I recognise 'me' in a few months, when baby's growth had really kicked in. I wondered if I would I ever look like me again, would I cope, and could my body really fit a baby inside? I let all of the emotions come and go freely as I stood there that morning comforted by the rhythm and warmth of the water raining down on my skin. That morning, in the shower in the tiny bathroom of our first house all those years ago is when I realised that life would never be the same again and by the time I'd finished my shower I was ready to accept that.
For many the bright lights hustle and bustle and vibrancy of the city is exciting and full of opportunity and promise. That may well be true but what's also true is the fact that big city living may well be conspiring against our skin, ageing us prematurely and leaving us itchy, dry and a little bit more wrinkled. This, my friends, is a story about urban pollution.
According to the climate council of Australia 205 weather records were broken across the country this summer and boy did our skin feel it! Whether it's hot and dry, hot and wet or hot and humid our skin has to adjust and acclimatize to the conditions in order help maintain its barrier function and with so many extreme days our skin definitely had its work cut out. But now the winds have shifted and the calendar has flicked over to autumn, an in-between season, and a break from the extremes maybe. But rather than sit back and feel like our skin and our beauty routine can have a rest the best thing we can do now is take this opportunity to get busy.
Coenzyme Q10 is one of those ingredients that are easy to over-look. It has been the subject of scientific study since the 1970s when its role as a cellular energy booster was scrutinized and put to the test to 'cure' or relieve a number of different medical conditions. While not all of the trials worked out perfectly this research led up to Coenzyme Q10 being a validated, TGA approved active ingredient - no small feat! Trials showed COQ10 to be an energy booster to the cells and as such it was earmarked as a potential anti-ageing active very early on. However, attempts to demonstrate an 'energy boosting' effect on skin cells failed leaving scientists to conclude that this functionality is only available and demonstrable when the active is ingested. For that reason you can't currently list Coenzyme Q10 as an active in a topically applied TGA registered product, which begs the question, what is it good for?
In a world where fashion is fast and trends come and go in the blink of an eye the beard trend has become something of a standout for longevity. Maybe it is because they look so very good or maybe the boy’s just love the way they feel. I took a closer look into the world of beard oils to find out what role they are having in this hirsute revolution.
Bad things are said about water in skin care products:
'Just look what the first ingredient in the list is..... water.... You are literally just buying water when you buy a moisturizer'
Personally I don't drink. I used to drink a bit but it has never agreed with me and I don't particularly like effect it has on my body - I go from feeling fine to instantly hung-over after a few sips - and as such abstaining is not a problem. But as a chemist I don't abstain from alcohol (ethanol in this case), I use it in a number of formulations, not always but often enough to appreciate the benefits it can bring to a formula. But do these benefits come with risks? Does alcohol damage the skin? I have had enough clients turn their nose up at an INCI listing that includes 'alcohol' to know that it is an issue and have even had people wish to add alcohol to their 'free from' list, sometimes for religious reasons but mainly not. The main reason customers give is because of underlying concerns that topically applied alcohol will somehow damage the skin. I think it is about time that we investigated whether this really is the case.
According to the Danish Asthma and Allergy Association as many as 10% of the Danish population suffer from contact allergies attributed at least in part to cosmetic exposure. That is a huge number and one that I have some sympathy for being a contact allergy sufferer myself (although I take responsibility for that having chosen a career as a chemist in spite of my dermatologist telling me that it was a crazy idea being an eczema suffering, hay fever blubbering wreck of a human without too much extra encouragement).Anyway, suffice to say that contact allergies are no fun at all and by the look of it lots of people are suffering.