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Moisturizing Skin Facial For Healing Damage Caused By Harsh Drying Winter Weather

Photo courtesy of skincare-answers.com.

Skin damage is something we all face to some degree as we get older, regardless of skin type, esspecially during the harsh dry winter months.

In more noticeable cases of dry skin, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics call it the “winter itch” and describe the skin’s appear, saying, “The normally fine lines in the skin become more visible, the skin feels rough and appears dull and flaky.”

The university says that dry skin often happens when there isn’t enough water present in the outer layer of the skin, which can happen when the protective oils in the skin are lost because of dry weather, and the water that’s normally present in the skin is allowed to escape.

The university also explains other contributing factors to drying skin are too much soapy water, exposure to harsh chemicals, and the normal aging process that decreases the amount of protective oils in the skin.

Giving advice on the dos and don’ts of taking care of dry skin, the university says, “It’s natural to think that applying water alone to dry skin would help control the problem. However, water alone (especially hot water) can actually worsen the problem of drying skin by removing the normal protective skin oils.

“Hot soapy water depletes the natural skin oils to the greatest degree. Anyone who has tried to wash a skillet covered with bacon grease in cold soapy water knows how effective heat is in softening up oils and fats so they can be washed away. However, [cool] water, followed by the application of oil such as a moisturizer is of the greatest benefit.

“The oil in the moisturizer helps trap and seal water in the stratum corneum (outer layer of the skin) and makes the skin softer, smoother and less likely to become dry, cracked and itchy.”

Giving application advice, the university says that after a shower or bath, “within three minutes of getting out of the water, apply a moisturizer to seal the water in the skin before it can evaporate. Moisturizers should be reapplied liberally during the day and evening when possible.”

For severe irritations, the university adds that any red dermatitis (eczematous) patches should be treated with topical cortisone cream or ointment for a five-to-15 day course. When using both a cortisone product and a moisturizer, always use the cortisone first and the moisturizer second.

The university also cautions to “be careful using any anti-inflammatory and itch-suppressing creams or lotions. Many of these products contain chemicals that can irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions in dry, dermatitic skin.

“A good general rule is if anything that you apply to your skin causes more burning and itching than you started with, you should stop using it until you can talk with your doctor about it. Anti-itch products containing pramoxine (e.g. Prax, Pramosone) or menthol and camphor (e.g. Sama) are generally safe to use. However these products are not treating the cause of skin dryness, they are only temporarily treating the itching that accompanies skin dryness.”

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Adulterated Ingredients In Organic Cosmetics Discussed At Asia-Europe Industry Conferences

With the rise in worldwide appeal of natural and organic cosmetics over the last several years, issues have also risen about misleading marketing, adulterations of products , and issues unrelated to safety - like exploring new natural ingredients, such as those from marine origins, and issues related to pricing and distribution.

Image courtesy of blogbeyondbeauty.com.

These issues and more like them are going to be discussed in two Organic Monitor Sustainable Cosmetics Summits scheduled this month – the Asia-Pacific edition in Hong Kong on Nov. 12-13, 2012 and the European edition in Paris on Nov. 21-23.

Organic Monitor is a London-based specialist research, consulting, and training company, which focuses on the global organic and related product industries.

Since 2001, Organic Monitor has been tracking ethical and ustainable industries that include organic products, fair trade products, natural cosmetics, ethical textiles, and sustainable packaging.

The Asia-Pacific summit this month will cover areas including green ingredients, alternatives to animal testing, the potential of halal cosmetics, eco-design and sustainable packaging, measuring environmental impacts, and marketing organic skincare products.

The Asia-Pacific summit will have two interactive workshops – the first will focus on green ingredients and the second will focus on cosmetic packaging for sustainability.

The first workshop will cover major technical issues associated with reformulating products to meet natural and organic certifications standards, involving replacing synthetic emulsifiers, surfactants, and preservatives with green alternatives.

This workshop will also discuss issues of the relative performance, stability, safety, and costs associated with natural and organic ingredients compared to conventional ingredients.

Organic Monitor also discussed many of these issues in a paper in June 2012, titled Asia: Hidden Challenges of Green Cosmetic Formulations, where consumer demand, preservation, challenges of hot climates, performance, and costs were the main focus.

Judi Beerling, technical research manager at Organic Monitor found that “green formulation is becoming increasingly popular in Asia” because of growing consumer concerns largely associated with potentially harmful preservatives such as parabens.

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California Finding Many Nail Products Claiming Toxin-Free, But Lab Tests Showing Otherwise

There has been a lot of attention given lately about toxic chemicals in nail polishes, especially those known the toxic trio – toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Many nail product manufacturers have either reformulated their products to remove these chemicals or just stopped making them altogether.

Image by Christy Thompson at Shutterstock.com.

Other manufacturers have only claimed to reformulate their products, but an investigative report done by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) found that, “Some of the toxic-free products actually contained higher levels of DBP or toluene than products which made no toxic-free claims.”

Deborah Raphael, director of the DTSC, said in a letter that the tests revealed that “most of the surveyed products were not free – as claimed – of toluene, which is restricted in cosmetics sold in the European Union. Most of the tests on the products that made the claims (of being toxic-free), in fact, revealed high concentrations of toluene, which may be harmful to women of child-bearing age.”

“DBP, which is banned from cosmetics in the EU, was also present in some products, one of which claimed to be DBP-free. Both toluene and DBP are listed as known to the State of California to cause reproductive toxicity,” added Raphael.

Regarding the toxic-trio, the report said that, “California has recognized that exposure to these chemicals is associated with cancer, birth defects, asthma, and other chronic health conditions.”

To obtain the data, the DTSC randomly sampled 25 nail care products from six different San Francisco Bay Area locations.

Twelve of the sampled products claimed to be free of at least one of the toxic-trio chemicals. However, the report found that 10 of these 12 products did contain toluene, and four of the 12 contained DBP.

“Toluene was found more frequently, and in higher concentrations in products with toxic-trio related claims than in traditional products,” said the report.

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Scientists Looking to Biosynthetically Reproduce Natural Sunscreen From Coral Into Pill Form

Some of the greatest discoveries in history – like penicillin, the microwave, and superglue – all happened by accident when scientists were doing something else. The same may soon be said about the sunscreen pill.

Scientists from King’s College London have been studying how coral produces a natural sunscreen that protects it from damaging ultraviolet rays.

This is part of a long-term study to create a substance that would make crops more UV-tolerant and better able to better withstand harsh sunlight in tropical regions. The potential for creating a natural sunscreen for people came secondary.

Dr. Paul Long, senior lecturer from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science at King’s College London said, “the long-term goal of the King’s study is to look at whether these processes could also be used for developing sustainable agriculture in the Third World.”

“If we do this in crop plants that have been bred in temperate climates for high yield, but that would not grow in the tropics because of high exposure to sunlight, this could be a way of providing sustainable nutrition-rich foods that are of particular need in Third World countries,” he continued.

The scientists are also researching how the coral’s natural defense mechanism against UV-light works so they can biosynthesize a sunscreen pill for human use.

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Children’s Sunscreens Outperform Effectiveness of Adult Sunscreens In EWG Review For 2012

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just came out with its 2012 Sunscreen Guide and the results are surprising.

Stock photo.

After researching and rating about 1,800 products within 257 brands, the guide found that “many brands formulate children’s sunscreens with safer, more effective ingredients than those in other (adult) products.”

“About 63 percent of kids’ sunscreens contain effective mineral ingredients that provide good UVA protection, compared to 40 percent of other (adult) sunscreens,” according to the EWG.

The sunscreen guide found that compared to adult sunscreens, most of those with the words ‘baby,’ ‘children,’ or ‘kids’ on the label were less likely to contain allergy causing fragrances or hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The guide found that that about 72 percent of the kids’ sunscreens were fragrances-free, compared to 54 percent of adult sunscreens. Also encouraging was that the potentially hormone-disrupting chemical ‘oxybenzone’ was only found in 37 percent of kids sunscreens, compared to 56 percent of adult sunscreens.

On the less encouraging side, the EWG also said, “We uncovered 16 brands that list the same exact ingredients in their children’s products as in their other products – down to the exact percentage of active ingredients.”

For these brands, “the word ‘children’ on the label may be just a marketing gimmick,” added the EWG, also advising that mineral sunscreens are “the right choice for children, people with sensitive skin and others who want the best UVA protection without potentially hormone-disrupting chemicals like oxybenzone.”

Mineral sunscreens contain sun barriers that aren’t absorbed into the skin, but lay on top, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

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