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«publishing brains Brains Publishing – New York, Chicago Copyright © 2008 by Brains Publishing All rights reserved. Published in the United States ...»

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The Beauty Brains Bottom line There are many, many great hair conditioners on the market that will moisturize your hair. Mane n’ Tail, Le Kair, and Queen Helene won’t do anything bad to you. The important thing is to find the ones that feel right for your hair and that you can afford. But don’t worry too much about special ingredients like proteins. Oh, and by the way, the coconut oil you’re using has an added benefit. It penetrates through the cuticle to strengthen the inside side part of the hair called the cortex. But that’s a topic for another post.

45 - Hair Myths Cosmetic Safety - Will Hair Dye Give You Cancer?

Every so often you hear about how chemicals in your cosmetics are responsible for cancer, birth defects or even autism. Unfortunately, the sources for these conclusions are rarely cited and when they are, they are typically a biased political committee or marketing group.

This article about hair dye and cancer caught my eye. Reading the title is downright scary “Can dyeing your hair really give you cancer?” The article continues to discuss a major conference that is being held in Belfast in which they’ll discuss the long-term link between bladder cancer and people with dyed hair. It even states Evidence exists to indicate regular and long term use of hair dyes can be associated with the development of the cancer which kills more than 4,000 in the UK each year.

Now, if this article was all you read on the subject, you might conclude that hair dye causes bladder cancer. You might also get the impression that experts are in agreement. After all, they did get their information from Questor a European Environmental Research Centre.

Being the skeptical Beauty Brain that I am, I went to see what the medical journals had to say on the subject. A search of ‘hair dye’ resulted in 649 hits.

The most current research is most useful and for answering questions like these, review articles are best. Review articles are designed to summarize all the work that has been published before.

Does hair dye cause cancer?

This article about hair dye and cancer published in late 2006 in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health concludes Results for bladder cancer studies suggest that subsets of the population may be genetically susceptible to hair dye exposures, but Hair Myths - 46 these findings are based on small subgroups in one well-designed case-control study. Replication of these findings is needed to determine whether the reported associations are real or spurious.

This is a bit different than the definitive bladder cancer/hair dye link suggested in the newspaper article. Essentially the researchers say certain genetically predisposed people may have issues, but even this isn’t a certainty. A more thorough study is needed. But the important implication is that for most people, this isn’t a problem. Hair dye will not cause cancer.

The Beauty Brains bottom line What you read, see or hear in the mainstream media rarely tells the whole story. When it comes to issues about health and safety you would not be wrong to immediately reject their conclusions. If you want to know the real story do a little research from yourself using the least biased sources you can find. Research in this case would find that the majority of research shows no established link between hair dye and cancer. So, feel free to color with abandon. I know I will.

For a more thorough summary of the cancer/hair color research look at this article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association*.


–  –  –

Chapter 4 Skin Treatment From Silly to Sublime The Best Skin Moisturizing Oils In The World

Pamela Ponders:

Since the weather is getting drier, I’ve decided to look for some cuticle treaments to help them from drying. I’ve noticed that a lot of them include very similar ingredients, like jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, shea butter, and in particular sweet almond oil and lavender oil. Do these ingredients really help to moisturize and what exactly do they do? I’ve noticed a lot of body care products emphasize shea butter. I’ve also noticed them some body lotions have coconut oil in it, is this another beneficial ingredient?

48 - Skin Treatments - From Silly to Sublime

The Right Brain Responds:

All the oils you mentioned can moisturize skin - but they’re not the BEST moisturizers. What are the best, you ask? Ah, that is the question. But first

you have to sit through this quick explanation:

How oils moisturize Moisture evaporates from your skin by slipping though tiny cracks and fissures oils form a barrier layer on top of the skin that prevents the water molecules from escaping. It’s all about stopping evaporation! This property is called occlusivity and it’s measured by a rating called Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL. (pronounced “tool.”) The TEWL value has been measured for various oils, and the ones that have the highest rating (in other words, the

ones that stop the most water from escaping your skin) are as follows:

Top 5 moisturizing oils

1. Petroleum Jelly (in a minimum concentration of 5%, reduces TEWL by more than 98%)

2. Lanolin

3. Mineral oil

4. Dimethicone (a type of silicone)

5. Others including other oils (like coconut), fatty alcohols, and waxes The Beauty Brains bottom line Some of the other oils you mentioned are still beneficial - they can make skin feel softer and smoother. But if you really want to keep your skin moist, you need to reduce evaporation with one of these top 5.

–  –  –

Kay’s Question:

Is there a difference between moisturizers for your hands and for your face?

Relatedly, is there a reason to use specially formulated anti-wrinkle creams rather than ordinary moisturizers that you would use on your hands?

The Right Brain saves face:

Yes, Kay, this is one of these cases where there is some really science behind the marketing hype. Here’s why facial lotions should be different

than hand lotions:

1. Skin on hands and face are different Skin is very thin on your face and thicker on your hands. Also, your hands don’t (usually) develop acne or blackheads. Therefore, they need to be treated differently.

2. Drying conditions are different for hands and face You may wash your hands in harsh soap many times a day; you may only wash your face once or twice with a gentle cleanser. Hands are in and out of dish water or laundry water, your face is not. The cumulative effect is that your hands can be much dryer, even cracked and bleeding, and therefore they need stronger moisturization.

3. Hands and face have different cosmetic needs You might want to tighten the little crows feet wrinkles around your eyes but this isn’t the case on your hands.

The Beauty Brains bottom line For the reasons above and more, you need to use products designed to suit your skin’s different needs. Hand lotions should be heavier barrier creams to protect from harsh conditions. Facial moisturizers should be lightweight, noncomedogenic, and may have film forming agents that tighten skin to 50 - Skin Treatments - From Silly to Sublime help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While hand and face products may share some of the same basic ingredients, the functions they need to perform can be significantly different. Using the right product on the right skin will give you better results.

–  –  –

The Right Brain Boasts About Biore:

A pore strip, like Biore’s, is a very dramatic way to clean your pores. It works by adhering tightly to your skin so tightly that when you pull it off it also pulls out the oily, dirty gunk that is clogging your pores.

Pore strips really work The cool thing is that you can actually SEE the pore poop stuck to the strip after you take it off. The first time the Beauty Brains tried this product they sat staring transfixed at the forest of tiny nasal pore discharges dotting the landscape of the freshly spent pore strip. Some white heads were barely visible to the naked eye; other black heads where ominously thick and dark.

We still get shivers just thinking about it.

Even if you don’t feel you need them, we recommend trying pore strips as an experiment just so you can see for yourself.

The problem with pore strips When used correctly, Pore Strips can be a powerful weapon in your battle against blackheads. But don’t use them too often because they can irritate Skin Treatments - From Silly to Sublime - 51 your skin. Three times per week max, that’s the limit. Any more than that and you risk damaging your skin. You should heed the warnings on the box about not using them on any area other than the nose and not to use them over inflamed, swollen, sunburned, or excessively dry skin. If you use pore strips too often, they can actually irritate your skin and trigger more breakouts.

5 Things You Need To Know About Retin-A

Beauty Bug begs an answer:

I’m currently reading Free Gift with Purchase, by Jean Godfrey-June, the beauty editor for Lucky. The books says that Retin-A helps with wrinkles and Beauty Bug wants the Beauty Brains to comment. Does Retin-A really get rid of wrinkles?

The Left Brain responds:

What is Retin-A Retin-A is the brand name of a prescription drug called Tretinoin which is a derivative of vitamin A. In 1971, the FDA approved the topical application of Tretinoin to treat acne and sun damaged skin. This drug works by irritating the skin, which triggers the basal layer to produce fresh skin cells, thus increasing cell turnover. (Mmmm, turnover!) As new cells more rapidly replace the old ones, the skin takes on a younger, smoother appearance. So it does work, but there are a few issues you should be aware of.

5 Things You Need to Know About Retin-A

1. It’s a prescription drug so you can only get it from your doctor.

2. It doesn’t work over night. Wrinkles start to decrease or disappear after three to six months.

3. Some of the drug is absorbed into the body and may cause problems with pregnancy.

4. It can be so irritating that it burns and causes redness.

5. While it does help reduce wrinkles that doesn’t mean it gets rid of ALL your wrinkles. As they say, results will vary.

52 - Skin Treatments - From Silly to Sublime The Beauty Brains bottom line Unlike so many wrinkle creams, this drug has been proven to really do something (despite the issues cited above.) And don’t fall for the claims of other products that are really just regular cosmetics with Vitamin A derivatives.

–  –  –

The Right Brain goes sour:

Michelle, thanks so much for your email. We had to edit it to fit today’s post, but we’ve started a forum thread with your entire email in case anyone’s interested in learning more. Now on to your answer… Could buttermilk be responsible for your youthful appearance?

Mmmmmmaybe. But doubtful. Here’s why.

What the heck is buttermilk, anyway?

For those of you who aren’t up to speed on your dairy products, buttermilk is a thickened, sour type of milk that is made by adding bacteria to regular milk.

The bacteria cause fermentation which changes the milk sugar (aka lactose) into lactic acid. Sound familiar? It should! Lactic acid is an alphahydroxyacid (or AHA) the same chemical that’s used in anti-aging lotions to exfoliate your skin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like buttermilk is better than lotions you can buy.

Skin Treatments - From Silly to Sublime - 53 Why isn’t buttermilk better?

Milk contains 4 to 6% lactose. When it’s converted to buttermilk, you end up with about 3 or 4% lactic acid. Lactic acid skin creams contain about 12% lactic acid, about 3 times as much as buttermilk. So while it’s theoretically possible that buttermilk could be helping, you’d probably see more benefit from a relatively inexpensive lactic acid cream like Lac-hydrin.

So, if it’s not the buttermik, why does your skin look good?

There could be several other reasons you skin looks so good. First, genetics plays a large role in the health of your skin. It might also be your healthy lifestyle. By staying out of the sun and not smoking you’ve avoided two of the major causes of premature aging. Finally, you said that you’re using other beauty products like Revive and Origins along with the buttermilk. If any of these products contain sunscreen that could be prevent your skin from aging too. But the important thing is - keep up whatever you’re doing. It’s working for you!

And if anyone is still interested in buttermilk but you don’t like the stench of sourmilk on your face (and gee, who doesn’t want that??) you also might try Burt’s Bees Buttermilk Lotion. It’s 98.31% natural so it MUST be good.


54 - Skin Treatments - From Silly to Sublime Are Oral Supplements Good For My Skin?

Cheong Asks:

Do oral skin supplements like Imedeen really work?? I do believe that you are what you eat, and a healthy diet does help your skin, but can taking things like collagen or bird’s nest soup or ginseng really give you better skin??

The Left Brain Begets:

Thanks for a great question. We get these kind all the time asking if various food supplements are going to help skin, hair, weight loss, and even longevity.

Supplements are unregulated…that’s bad The claims on some of these things are so wild, it seems that just popping a pill everyday should fix every problem you’ve got. Of course, this is nonsense.

Remember, food and health supplements are NOT REGULATED. They can say ANYTHING they want, even if it is a LIE, and no one will likely do anything about it. So, when it comes to supplements the first reaction for every Beauty Brainiac should be one of skepticism.

What’s Imedeen’s story?

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