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4. Movement Real breasts are mostly fat, which gives them a jiggle quality; implants don’t move that way. Look at the way her breasts shift (or don’t shift) when she she reaches back or stretches. If they maintain the same dimensions, instead of flattening out, then they’re probably fake. Observe how they follow her body movements, particularly when she’s moving and swinging her arms. Watch how they behave as she bends over, you should see them fall if they’re real.

If you’re looking at someone at who’s laying down at the beach or the pool or whatever, see if her breasts naturally fall to the side or if they unnaturally stick up.

5. Other Visual Cues Depending on what she’s wearing, you might be able to see some additional visual cues like the shape and location of her nipples. A bad boob job may put them too high, too low, or not pointing in the same direction. You might also be able to catch a glimpse of stretch marks that could be a byproduct of the surgery. (Of course, stretch marks can also occur naturally from weight gain and loss.) Cosmetic Surgery - 149 Take the Quiz Think you’ve got it now? Then take this online quiz on Augmentation Mammoplasty (http://www.controlledmedia.com/pages/mammoplastyhtm).

You get to guess if 30 different pairs of breasts are natural or augmented.

Good luck!

Can Brava Give You Better Boobs?

Andrea asks:

I would like to have a larger bust, but I really don’t want implants. I have heard of the Brava Breast Enhancement system, which seems to be endorsed by a lot of plastic surgeons, and some scientific studies. Do you have any inside info or insight?

The Left Brain responds:

If we keep getting questions about bras and breast enhancement I’ll have to add a special Boob category on the sidebar!

For those of you in the Beauty Brains community who are not familiar with the Brava system, it supposedly works by gently pulling on your breasts which keeps them under tension for hours at a time. This sustained tension causes the cells to grow new tissue that makes your breasts appear larger and fuller.

How does BRAVA work According to the the BRAVA website, the System consists of two semirigid domes, with specially engineered silicone gel rims, and a sophisticated minicomputer, called a SmartBox, that creates and regulates the tension within the domes.

Semi-rigid domes? Engineered silicone rims? Sophisticated minicomputer?

Is this a breast enhancer or some kind of Terminator Robot from the Future?

150 - Cosmetic Surgery But I digress. The real question is, does it really work? Since our forte is cosmetic chemistry, not breast enhancement, we asked our friend Dr. Rob Oliver over at Plastic Surgery 101 to give his expert opinion. Based on his experience, Dr. Rob says that Brava doesn’t work well, it’s uncomfortable, and must be worn for weeks before you see results if you see any at all. He’s aware of very few people who use or endorse it.

The Beauty Brains bottom line That’s good enough for me - I’ll take the opinion of a doctor and scientist over the hype from the company selling the product any day. Dr. Rob said he’d try to post more details on his blog, so keep your eye on Plastic Surgery

101. If you haven’t used it, I suggest you save your money.

Cosmetic Surgery - 151 Cosmetic Surgery And The Suicide Connection

There was a fascinating New Scientist article about a possible connection between cosmetic surgery and suicide. According to researchers women who get breast implants are 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide than woman who don’t. This same connection was found in 5 independent studies suggesting there may actually be something to it. There was even a suggestion that this value may be higher because women who have breast implants were also more likely to get into fatal car accidents. These would typically be reported as accidents when they could possibly be suicides.

So it leads to the question, why would there be a connection? The following were proposed as possible reasons.

1. Undiagnosed psychological problems This was said to be the most likely cause. Women who elect to get cosmetic surgery like this are more likely to have some kind of psychological disorder.

This includes a condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in which a person obsesses about barely noticeable or non-existent flaws in their appearance.

2. Drugs & Alcohol Women who get breast implants are also more likely to partake in drugs & alcohol. It could be that these are the real culprit and the breast implants are just coincidence.

3. Implant leaks While the scientists say this is highly unlikely it hasn’t been ruled out. It is possible that the chemicals in breast implants are leaking out, affecting the brain, and triggering suicide.

Amazingly, 291,000 American women had breast implants last year. This side of the Beauty Brains has to wonder, Is it really worth it?

Thankfully, there are push-up bras and other non-surgical options to make them look bigger. On the other hand, people should just accept each other for how they are. But be sure to keep using make-up and other cosmetics. You wouldn’t want the Beauty Brains to be out of a job right?

152 - Cosmetic Surgery Chapter 11 Cosmetic Concerns Are Your Cosmetics Poisoning You?

“Women absorb up to 5 pounds of damaging chemicals a year from their beauty products.” I saw this newspaper headline and was amazed, astonished, and perplexed. I just couldn’t believe it. Being a skeptical Brain, I figured the article was just a typical “scare” piece designed to spook us into fearing chemicals, but they actually provide a reference to their headline and quotes from a biochemist. So, this Beauty Brain was intrigued. Are we really absorbing pounds of chemicals through our skin? I had to see their proof. The actual quote from the article

is as follows:

Cosmetic Concerns & Perilous Products - 153 “The average woman absorbs 4lb 6oz of chemicals from toiletries and make-up every year, the industry magazine In-Cosmetics recently reported.” Question the source Here’s where it gets interesting. First of all, In-Cosmetics is not a peerreviewed scientific journal, it’s a magazine published in conjunction with an annual trade show where companies that sell cosmetic ingredients go to show off their newest products. Secondly, the quote appeared in this article “Trends in natural and organic cosmetics and toiletries.” It turns out, the notion that women absorb 5 pounds of chemicals from cosmetics comes from a scientist who runs a natural company called Spiezia Organics. According to Dr. Mariano Spiezia and his wife Loredana “everything we need to be fulfilled and healthy is provided by nature. Today’s research suggests that the human body will absorb most of what is applied to the skin, meaning that up to 2kg (5 pounds) of chemicals a year from toiletries and skincare preparations used daily.” There is no other reference provided. No studies are cited. Dr. Spiezia makes this assertion without any data at all. Then the reporter completely believes the statement and quotes it as fact.

It is not fact. It is nonsense. It is the kind of junk science that some Natural or Organic companies try to dupe you with so you won’t feel bad about spending your hard earned money on their over-priced products.

Do you absorb 5 lbs of cosmetic chemicals through your skin?

Based on our knowledge of the barrier properties of skin, this claim seems ridiculous. It suggests skin is a sponge that absorbs any chemical it’s exposed to.

In fact, skin is the opposite. It is actually a barrier that prevents chemicals from getting inside your body.

It’s not a perfect barrier because some compounds do pass through the skin like some sunscreens (eg. benzophenone-3) and drugs like Nicotine.

154 - Cosmetic Concerns & Perilous Products Even caffeine can enter your blood stream through your skin. So scientists are concerned about chemicals on the skin. But safety studies are conducted chemicals all the time and the vast majority don’t behave as such.

For the most part, cosmetic raw materials do not penetrate the skin so deep that they are absorbed into the blood stream. They typically absorb into only the top layer of skin (stratum corneum) and are naturally removed over time.

The Beauty Brains bottom line No, your cosmetics are not poisoning you. While chemicals can absorb into your skin, it is true of only a small number of them and these have not been shown to cause problems. You certainly don’t absorb 5 lbs of chemicals through your skin; we’ll try to assess how much you really do absorb and report back after a bit more research. But the important thing is when you hear claims like this in the media, be sure to check the source.

Occasionally, it’s backed up by science, but usually it is propaganda by a biased source. Proof is found in scientific studies not in the opinions of naturalproduct selling “experts”.

Cosmetic Concerns & Perilous Products - 155 Common Cosmetic Skin Irritants

How many of you Beauty Brains faithful have experienced some kind of temporary skin rash, reddening, or itchiness? That condition is known as allergic contact dermatitis and a recent study by the Mayo Clinic lists the top 10 ingredients that can cause this condition. The list includes metals, antibiotics, fragrance ingredients, and various preservatives. If you experience this condition the best solution is to avoid these ingredients!

Top 10 Skin Irritants

1. Nickel (nickel sulfate hexahydrate): Found in jewelry or on your clothes.

2. Gold (gold sodium thiosulfate): Yes, the same stuff used to make jewelry.

3. Cobalt chloride: A metal used for many applications like medical products, hair dye, and antiperspirants to name a few.

4. Neomycin sulfate: An antibiotic used in various first aid creams. Less commonly used in cosmetics.

5. Bacitracin: Another antibiotic.

6. Thimerosal: An ingredient used in antiseptics and vaccines

7. Balsam of Peru (myroxylon pereirae): A natural fragrance ingredient derived from tree resin used in perfumes and skin lotions. Who said “natural” was better?

8. Fragrance mix: Common fragrance allergens found in cosmetic products.

Manufacturers in the US must list this on the ingredient statements.

9. Formaldehyde: A much maligned preservative. You might remember the smell of this stuff from high school biology class.

10. Quaternium 15: Another preservative used in some cosmetic products.

The study was done using a method called patch testing in which human volunteers allow researchers to stick patches of these chemicals on their bodies for hours and days on end. For this the volunteers usually get paid about $50 bucks (US). Some people will do anything for a buck. Of course, I’ve personally participated in these kinds of studies purely for the advancement of science.

We here at the Beauty Brains are willing to suffer for our craft.

156 - Cosmetic Concerns & Perilous Products Should You Worry About Pee In Your Make Up

Meagan Muses:

I love your site– it makes me feel smarter all the time. I’ve got a question about diazolidinyl urea. I see it on labels for lotions and cleansers all the time. Doesn’t urea come from urine? That seems disgusting to me. What’s the story?

The Right Kidney, uh, Right Brain, Replies:

You’re sort of right Meagan, but not really.

What is urea Let’s start by explaining that “diazolidinyl urea” is a preservative and it’s used in many cosmetics to keep microscopic bugs from spoiling the products you bought with your hard earned money. It so happens that urea is one of the compounds used to make this ingredient. In addition, urea is also used in some creams and lotions as a moisturizer. So urea is used in cosmetics, but does urea really come from urine?

What is urine Well, urine DOES contain urea. That’s because urea excretion is just one of the ways your body gets rid of the excess nitrogen waste material that it generates. Different animals process this waste in different ways: Aquatic organisms excrete it in the form of ammonia. Reptiles and birds excrete it in the form of uric acid. And we humans excrete it in the form of urea.

Does urea come from urine But fret not - the source of the urea used to make cosmetic ingredients is not someone’s bladder. Industrial urea is synthetically made in large chemical reactors which are rarely, if ever, peed into. As a matter of fact, urea was the FIRST organic chemical ever to be synthetically created from inorganic starting materials. Back in 1828 chemist Friedrich Woehler reacted potassium cyanate with ammonium sulfate to create urea! Ah, there`s nothing quite like a piece of chemical trivia like that to put a sparkle in my eye!

Cosmetic Concerns & Perilous Products - 157 So in summary, the basic message of today’s post is that we should all get down on our knees right now and thank Dr. Woehler for inventing urea so we don’t have to worry about whether or not some stranger had to pee in our Clinique lotion in order to stop bacteria from growing in it.

Or something like that.

The Perils Of Parabens

Snapdragon77 asked:

Everyone is afraid of PARABENS! The product line that I use (Bioelements) lists methyl-paraben and propylparaben as the last ingredients, and I know that they are preservatives, but what do I tell a frightened clientele who have just heard “Parabens=Bad!”

The Left Brain Responds:

What are parabens?

Parabens are preservatives used in nearly every kind of cosmetic. They are put in formulas in small amounts to prevent the growth of disease-causing microbes. Without preservatives, cosmetics would be much more dangerous to use. They have been used in cosmetics for at least 20 years and are quite effective at killing microbes.

It’s not surprising that parabens raise so many questions. Stories about these ingredients and the perils of using products that contain them are found everywhere on the net. A quick google search of parabens and cancer results in over 300,000 hits! Some sites extol the evils of parabens while others state a much different, less alarming position. So who should you believe?

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