Hair is exposed to chemical and mechanical stress and stress from the environment daily. All this leaves the consequences of hair, such as weaker, brittle hair and lost hair shine. For the purpose of restoring the hair surface, we use cosmetic hair restoration products, especially hair balms. This time, in Slovenian cosmetics, we represent the brand Eterika, which created the entire line of hair restoration products.

First, some hair facts

Human hair is naturally the same as all epidermal appendix that are typical of mammals. Their main function is to protect the body from external factors. The scalp differs from the skin on other parts of the body, as it is full of large hair follicles from which long hair fibers grow. A large sebaceous gland is attached to each of the hair fibers. Each hair is composed of the shaft, the cortex and the core. The shaft of the hair is an envelope that protects against the ingress of water and consists of several layers of cells that overlap like tiles.

Straight and curly hair are composed of different cells

Two types of cells are present in the cortex: orthocortic and paracortic. Paracortic cells having a higher density are more resistant to moisture and are characterized by flat hair, and lower-density orthocortic cells are more sensitive to moisture and are characteristic of curly hair.

Chemical composition of hair

Like other tissues, hair is also made mostly from proteins. The hair consists of 85% keratin, which has a very high content of sulfur-containing amino acids (15% cystine). Hair fibers consist of 1-3% lipids, trace metal ions (aluminum, chromium, calcium, magnesium), water and pigments.

Fun facts about hair

Hair has two basic properties—strength and elasticity. It is remarkably resistant; a single hair fiber can carry a weight of 100 g without breaking, and can extend by 20–30% when dry and 100% when wet without breaking. This resistance is due to the presence, composition and organization of the cortex protein keratin.

Hair damage and how to deal with repairing the hair structure

The number of consumers with damaged hair continues to grow due to external factors. There appear:

mechanical damage: combing, hair straighteners

chemical damage: hair dyeing and bleaching

environmental damage: sun, pollution

Hair after this kind of damage needs to be corrected at several levels from the middle of the cortex to the shaft. Hair conditioners are usually composed of filmmakers, such as silicones. The filmmakers cover their hair with a fine waterproof layer and thus slow down or prevent the penetration of active substances into the hair’s interior.

The role of hair conditioners

Hair conditioners restore the structure and affect the appearance of hair. Also, the use of hair conditioners can make it easier to comb and reduce the tension between hairs. Balms also increase the shine and volume of the hair and improve their structure. Among the hair restoration ingredients are mostly cationic surfactants such as stearalkonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, dicytilimony chloride, PEG-2 cocochromic chloride and others.

The texture of the hair can also be restored in a completely natural way. In the case of Eterika, Anja created as many as 3 natural hair balms. The most important ingredients of Eterika’s Balm are emollients. These are lipophilic substances that give hair a shine. Emollients are distributed over the hair to form a transparent film that repels water.

Main ingredients in Eterika conditioners

Coconut oil

Aside from making a great moisturizer for hair and scalp, the oil has been used as a natural remedy to combat frizz, get rid of dandruff, remove and prevent lice and promote hair growth. Its antibacterial properties may ward off folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles, and may also fight fungal infections, such as ringworm of the scalp.

Funfact: Did it ever happen to you, that you got a chewing gum in your hair? Coconut oil can even be used to extract chewing gum from hair.

While pure coconut oil can improve scalp health, therefore improving the conditions for growing thicker, fuller hair, it does not treat the underlying cause of hair loss and cannot be relied on for treating baldness related to dihydrotestosterone.

Argan oil

Argan oil is a versatile oil that helps hydrate and soften the hair. Argan oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acid, but also contains high levels of squalene and vitamin E, which act as antioxidants. Argan oil should naturally increase the elasticity of the hair and consistently renew the shine of the hair. Vitamin E is a lipophilic antioxidant that protects against free radicals. Lately, vitamin E is said to be an ‘anti-pollution’ component, as it should prevent harmful effects of the environment.

Behentrimonium methosulfate

This ingredient in derived from rapeseed oil. It is a very mild yet effective ingredient known for it’s de-tangling and hair thickening properties. Because this ingredient directly deposits onto the hair follicle to smooth out the cuticles, it’s highly regarded for its conditioning abilities. It can be found in many hair products like conditioner, detangler, shampoo and styling gel. It also acts as an emulsifying agent, gentle enough to be used in baby products that are left on the skin. When used in lotions and creams, it gives a soft and powdery after-touch to the skin.

Kako uporabljati balzame za lase?

Po umivanju lase utremo z brisačo, da zmanjšamo navlaženost las. Balzam razporedimo po dolžini las in počakamo nekaj minut za boljši učinek (3-5 min). Nato balzam izperemo. Pri suhih laseh lahko nanesemo balzam po celotni dolžini las, pri mastnih pa le po konicah, saj bo drugače balzam preveč zmastil že tako mastno lasišče. Pri zelo suhih laseh je skoraj nujna uporaba mask za lase.

Nasvet za najboljši možen učinek balzama: Balzam nanesemo na za dlje časa, lahko tudi čez noč, tako da lase zavijemo v vlažno brisačo ali plastično folijo. V balzam pa lahko kapneš tudi nekaj kapljic keratina.

Najina izkušnja z Eterika balzami

Na voljo so trije balzami in sicer za vse tipe las z vonjem vanilije, proti razcepljenim in suhim konicam s pelargonijo in sivko ter za neukrotljive lase s kokosom. Glede na to, da gre za balzam ima zelo bogato teksturo, v bistvu je že skoraj kot maska. Po uporabi se lasje zelo enostavno razčešejo in so mehki, ter sijoči. Da o vonju ne govorimo, saj zelo lepo dišijo, vonj pa se na laseh obdrži še kar nekaj časa.

Celotno ponudbo izdelkov Eterika si lahko ogledaš tukaj.

Tajka Selan

For sure you have been asking yourself if you have to nourish your skin in any other way than usual. While being at the beach skin needs more care because we are exposed to the sun that can burn us and sea salt drains the skin. So how to nourish the skin at sea? How to act in case of sunburns? How to nourish the skin to maintain the tan we have?

How to act in the case of sunburns?

Today, we are already aware of the harmful effects of sunbathing, but the sunburn can happen. Either this is because of the insufficient amount of sunscreen or excessive sunbathing. Burn is an acute skin inflammatory reaction that usually occurs 1-24 hours after sunbathing. The burn depends on the intensity and the wavelength of light. Erythema may occur, which may be accompanied by pain, swelling or even blisters. Of course, the best way is to prevent all this with the appropriate UVA and UVB protective sunscreens.

Not only does exposure to the sun lead to faster aging (photoaging), it can also cause the formation of lentigues, teleangiectasia (spider veins), skin cancer, etc., if we are exposed to the sun without protection.

We can cure sunburns with anti-inflammatory extracts!

In a case of sunburns, we shower with lukewarm or cold water and gentle cleansing agents. After showering, we apply lotions or creams like aftersuns. In case we are burned, cosmetic products should contain the following extracts that soothe the skin.

ExtractsHow they work
Chamomile (bisabolol, hamazulen)anti-inflammatory, wound healing, soothe the skin
Italian strawfloweradstringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
Oatantimicrobial, antioxidant, soothes the skin, against itching
Pot marigold
anti-inflammatory, wound healing, antiseptic

Shea Butter

Due to the content of terpenoids, it acts anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. It also acts as an antioxidant and protects us from reactive oxygen radicals. It helps to restore the skin barrier and acts regeneratively.

Aloe vera against erythema

The study tested 97.5% aloe vera gel and 1% hydrocortisone in the cream, and 0.25% predicarbate in the cream, both of which are corticosteroids. The effect of natural extracts is delayed. Corticosteroids reduced the erythema after 24 hours, while the gel of aloe vera reduced the erythema only after 48 hours. Although it seems that the percentage of aloe vera gel is high, it did not show any hypersensitive reactions to the testee. So, the aloe vera gel reduces inflammation, but it is not necessary that the gel could be used for chronic inflammatory diseases. It can be used as an additional care, especially in after-sun products, instead of gels / creams containing hydrocortisone.

Usually, oils rich in omega-3 and / or omega-6 are commonly used to treat sunburns, as they work regenerative and anti-inflammatory. We can also use the right antioxidants that prevent the harmful effect of ROS on our DNA. Some studies have shown that vitamin D also helps to relieve the burns produced in the sun.

Tan preservation

Well, the other option is to succeed in getting a healthy tan, because the sun does not always burn us to red. We want to keep the tan as long as possible. One option for maintaining a tan are self-tanning products, where the difference in colour is noticeable, but is washed within 1 week.

How to prolong the permanence of tanned skin?

Carrot oil, which was present in the formulations at concentrations of 2, 4 and 6%, has been shown to have SPF factor. The measured SPF values ​​ranged between 4 and 7. This, of course, is not sufficient for proper SPF protection. Carrot oil also works antioxidant and rejuvenating, and at the same time it nourishes the skin properly. It is used as an oil that helps to extend the intensity of the tan. It usually leaves traces on clothes, as the right carrot oil has an orange colour, which does not disappear in the formulation, even if it is present only in 3%.

Cocoa butter

It has an SPF of about 3, which is not enough to protect us from sun rays, but it still works photoprotectively. At the same time, it works antioxidant and regenerative, as it contains phytosterols and vitamin E. It helps us preserve the tan that we already have.

How to take care of the hair?

We are sure that you have already noticed how our hair colour, whether natural or dyed, fades away while we are at the seaside. People with darker hair struggle with melanin photoxidation, and others with lighter hair with degradation of amino acids in keratin, which is the main structural protein in the hair. Darker hair is somehow better protected against fading than lighter shades.

UVA rays are mainly responsible for the loss of colour in dyed hair, as they penetrate all the way to the cortex where melanin and colour pigments are located. UVB rays are blamed for the fading of the natural hair colour as they percolate into all layers of hair.

Keratin is via cysteine converted into cysteic acid in the final phase. This, however, reduces the resistance of the hair and its elasticity. Therefore, the hair is drier, less shiny, and more difficult to brush through.

Hair cuticle which is the exterior layer is most exposed. Melanin is located in the cortex and is not capable of protecting  the cuticle against UV radiation. Radiation destroys proteins and lipids in the cuticle. Hair cuticle opens and the hair loses their softness. In UV radiation, ROS also develops and further destroys the hair.

Are cosmetics with UV filters the solution for hair care?

Until now, there was no excessive enquiry for such products on our market. But there are shampoos and balms with UV filters. In fact, an entire hair care line with UV filters. In hair cosmetics the same UV filters can be used as in sunscreens, but there are also quaternary and polysilicones that exhibits UV protection for hair, but not for the skin. Of course, there are natural oils and extracts that also help protect your hair from UV radiation.

UVA is mostly promoting the formation of ROS, while UVB destroys pigment named melanin (destroying it or bleaching it), and for changing mechanical abilities, as it breaks bonds in our hair (cysteine ​​present in keratin), which makes our hair fragile.

How to groom the face?

At sea, you do not usually need ” heavy care”. For most skin types, the use of rich and nourishing creams and oils in summer is simply too much. Overly enriched care can lead to the formation of clogged pores and pimples. Therefore, it is better to reach for moisturizing formulas. In addition to daily sun cream, it is also recommended to use serums with antioxidants, which will additionally support the function of the sun cream.

Mosquitoes are one of theworst ”pains in the neck” in the summer. The most disturbing noise is surely their “bzzzz” at night. In this blog, we’ll explain why the mosquito bites, why the bites itch and what we should use to get rid of the annoying and itchy mosquito bites.

Firstly something about mosquitoes!

There are nearly 3,500 different types of mosquitoes. When we say that we have been bitten by a mosquito, in most cases it’s by a female. Females are usually the ones that suck the blood of mammals. Women are drama queens, again :). Males are mostly fed with nectar only. The mosquitoes feed themselves from early dusk until the sunset.

Mosquitoes can be carriers of various diseases, most known to everyone is certainly malaria. The mosquitoes also carry dengue fever and yellow fever. Mosquitoes manage to transmit a disease to more than 700 million inhabitants per year. Only malaria kills 3 million people a year. It is true that tropical and subtropical areas are more exposed and the possibility of disease is greater, but this does not mean that Europeans are immune.

Tiger mosquitoes

They are a new species in Europe that originally came from Southeast Asia. It was first detected in Europe in 2006. It is mostly found near water and is really problematic.

Why are mosquito bites itchy?

We don’t notice the mosquito bite immediately, but only after a few minutes/hours. So, it’s not the mosquito bite that itches, but the immune reaction that follows the bite. Before the mosquito gets to the blood, it releases its saliva into the body. Substances in saliva prevent blood clotting during the sucking (anticoagulants), making their work much easier. Saliva also contains substances that are very immunogenic. Our body responds to these substances by making antibodies.

There are various types of immune responses. The reaction is carried out in a way that nothing happens at the first contact with the matter (first mosquito bite). At the first bite, the body is sensitized and memory cells are formed. But when have we ever gotten away with a single bite? When a mosquito bites us the next time, our body has already prepared memorial cells that then migrate to the point of the sting. At each subsequent sting, the immune response is faster.

Myth: ”Mosquitoes bite me because I have sweet blood”

The mosquitoes are said to more often sting younger people with hot skin and a strong body smell (not necessarily odor). They’ll love you even more due to the increased CO2 concentrations or in case you are wearing dark clothes or glitters.

How do get rid of mosquitoes with synthetic repellents?

DEET

N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide is a commercial ingredient used in repellents and it’s very effective. It is used for repellent activity against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other insects. According to studies, it irritates the skin.

How does it work?

There are 3 hypothesis, but in every case, it masks the scent and, consequently, the insects do not detect a person. DEET can only mask the smell that mosquitoes does not recognize or it changes to confuse the mosquito, and consequently, the mosquito does not recognize us as a host and will not sting.

Some repellents up for sale also contain up to 45 % DEET, which is an enormous amount and that can irritate the skin a lot.

A well-known synthetic repellent is also icardin, which also works against many types of insects. They are said to be less aggressive. Icardin is used in repellents up to 20 %.

Natural ingredients with repellent activity

Since the synthetic ingredients in repellents are unfriendly both for the ecosystem and for us, they have been looking for alternatives for repellent action in nature.

Essential oils of the camphor tree

The essential oil of camphor tree has proven to have a repellent effect. It also acts insecticidal, antifungal, antibacterial and as an antioxidant. Terpenoids and phenylpropanoids, found in leaves and bark, additionally contribute to the bioactivity of the camphor tree.

Curcumin

Is considered to be a cheap, non-toxic and easily accessible substance. You probably are much more familiar with the use of it in the kitchen. It is also a yellow dye that acts repellently and is used in cosmetics. It has positive effects on certain diseases, abnormalities, and syndromes.

Lemon eucalyptus

It produces citriodiol, which is an active ingredient in repellents. It irritates the skin minimally and works for 2-3 hours (maximum 6 hours). In repellents, it appears in concentrations up to 55 %.

Lavender

In a study, they tested 5 %, 10 % and 20 % concentration of essential oil. Essential lavender oil at a concentration of 5 % was sufficient for 40 minutes of protection against insects. While higher concentrations of essential oil were sufficient for 120 minutes of protection.

Peppermint

As a mosquito repellent a 1.5 % peppermint oil can be used, even in topical repellents. Peppermint essential oil also works against other insects. It works antifungal and antibacterial.

Other oils to repel insects within a natural way

Among them are citronella, eucalyptus, cinnamon, cloves, geranium, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, bergamot, red thyme, marjoram, spearmint and creeping (breckland) thyme.

Clove oil, creeping thyme oil and red thyme oil are the most effective repellents if used in the form of 3% essential oil. Polish thyme oil combined with citronella oil is an effective repellent combination that protects against insect bites up to 91 %.

Synergistic action

Oxford University tested basil and lantana extracts as repellents and found that they exhibit synergistic activity. In combination, they are longer effective against peak mosquitoes than individually. At the same time, the use of both together allows us to use lower concentrations of the extracts. They protect us from bites up to 120 or 150 minutes.

Safety warning for using synthetic repellents

In the study they used 20 % concentration of active ingredients, such as DEET and essential oils, in order to detect skin irritation and penetration. Pro-insect protection lasted up to a maximum of 8 hours. Repellents may contain substances that greatly irritate the eyes, so contact with eyes must be avoided. Some repellents can penetrate the skin. One of these is DEET, which can penetrate the skin up to 14 %. While essential oils can penetrate into the skin only up to 3 %. Essential oils also minimize skin irritation compared to DEET, which moderately irritates the skin.

Repellents should only be used on the exterior parts of the body.

  1. Don’t apply it to children under the age of 2 years.
  2. Never apply repellents on hands of children, because they are frequently in the contact with their mouth / eyes.
  3. Do not put in on your clothes.
  4. When we no longer need the repellent, we recommend showering with soap to remove the repellent from the skin as soon as possible, in order to avoid unwanted effects.
  5. If irritation occurs, the area must be rinsed with water and soap.
  6. The instructions must be followed closely.

If you can, avoid the hours when mosquitoes are active in order to prevent contact with them. If you want to go for a walk it is better to use repellents with essential oils, since they don’t irritate the skin so much and they also smell really nice.

You must have heard that hemp in cosmetics has positive effects on the skin. It is an increasingly popular ingredient for the treatment of skin diseases and the care of sensitive skin. Which parts of hemp are at all allowed for use in cosmetic products, what is CBD and what are cannabinoids, what effects does hemp in cosmetic products have on the skin?

Cannabidiol or CBD

First, we explain the basic terms. Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that exhibits biological effects and acts against anxiety and nausea, and also has antitumour effects. Cannabidiol has no psychoactive effects. It has many positive effects on the skin, such as the ability to inhibit the formation of sebum and anti-inflammatory activity, as it inhibits immune responses to inflammation.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids were also proven to have anti-inflammatory and sebostatic (ability to inhibit the formation of sebum) properties. Cannabinoids are capable of inhibiting the maturation of keratinocytes, which is highly desirable in skin diseases, where the maturation of keratinocytes is abnormal, as in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Endocannobinoids have psychotropic effects. THC is the only cannabinoid that is psychoactive, and there are still about 60 (according to some data, even 113) cannabinoids that do not show such effects.

Hemp seeds

In Chinese medicine and nutrition, hemp seeds have been used for more than 3000 years. Seeds are rich in vitamins A, C and E, and β-carotene, proteins (all essential amino acids), carbohydrates, fibers and minerals. The oil is obtained from seeds by cold pressing or by solvent extraction.

The seed also contain terpenoids and cannabidiol, which exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. The oil does not contain THC, unless it is present as an impurity. Concentration of THC in the oil depends on the cultivation itself and on the cleaning process. According to European legislation, the concentration of THC in oil must be less than 0,2%.

Fun Fact # 1: According to some data, Budha only ate cannabis seeds for 6 years. Seeds have an extremely nutritional value, thanks to proteins and unsaturated fatty acids.

Extract from cannabis seed

In the study on men,there was a cream containing 3% extract from hemp seed tested. After application of the cream with this extract, the secretion of sebum was significantly reduced. In men who had erythema, the redness decreased significantly.

What is hemp oil?

Marketing term for cannabis oil is the term “hempseed oil” so that it can be separated from cannabis used as a drug. Hemp oil is not obtained from leaves, but from cannabis seeds. This, of course, leads to the conclusion that hemp oil will not exhibit relaxation effects, as the seeds do not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), except as mentioned above, as an impurity. THC is present only in cannabis leaves.

Fun Fact # 2: Cannabis with low THC value is estimated at $ 100-2000 million per year. What in the euro would mean about 90 – 1800 million euros. Crazy number, huh?

Composition of hemp oil

We have repeatedly mentioned the importance of oil composition. Hemp oil consists of all three of the most important fatty acids that act regenerative and / or antimicrobial. These fatty acids are very unstable because they contain double bonds that are highly reactive.

Linoleic acid – 57% (omega-6) is regenerative and anti-inflammatory

α-linolenic acid – 16% (omega-3) acts regeneratively

γ-linolenic acid – 3% (omega-6) acts anti-inflammatory

The ratio between linoleic and linolenic acid is 3: 1, which is the ideal ratio for dietary and cosmetic products. This oil can also serve as a natural source of antioxidants (vitamin E).

Atopic dermatitis and hemp?

Atopic skin has one disadvantage, namely, there is a defective action of δ-6-desaturase. It is responsible for the enzymatic conversion of linoleic acid into γ-linolenic. So, if desaturase does not work properly, we have an elevated level of linoleic acid, and the level of γ-linolenic acid is reduced. It is therefore desirable to use oils for the care of atopic skin, which also contain γ-linolenic acid, and thus add it itself because the skin itself does not produce it.

One of these oils is a hemp oil containing γ-linolenic acid. Due to the fatty acid composition, it helps to improve all skin diseases in which the skin barrier is weakened.

Studies also show the positive effects of cannabis on the skin

In Finland, a study was carried out in patients with atopic dermatitis, in which the test subjects orally used cold pressed hemp oil (30ml). They found that cold pressed hemp oil in an 8-week study, improved dryness of the skin and itching. The use of hemp oil reduced the use of topical medicines among test subjects. Olive oil was used as a control in which no such skin improvements were detected.

The endocannabinoid system in our skin

It is a biological system consisting of endocannabinoids. These are nonspecific lipid-binding carriers that bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed in the central nervous system (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of various physiological and other processes, including fertility, pregnancy, appetite, feeling of pain, mood and memory.

The effect on the endocannabinoid system would help to improve skin diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, skin fibrosis, skin cancer, and itching.

What about hemp in cosmetic products?

In cosmetic products, oil from cannabis and hemp seed is allowed. Any extracts, tinctures and oils from flowers or fruits are prohibited. On the basis of the Regulation on cosmetic products no. 1223/2009 leaves and trunks are also prohibited. They belong to Annex II on cosmetic products where substances are prohibited in cosmetic products. On the list “Narcotics, natural and synthetic” we find cannabis resin, extracts and cannabis tinctures, which are also prohibited.

Sources:

Río, C. del, Millán, E., García, V., Appendino, G., DeMesa, J., & Muñoz, E. The endocannabinoid system of the skin. A potential approach for the treatment of skin disorders. Biochemical Pharmacology 2018. 

Singh, D., Fisher, J., Shagalov, D., Varma, A., & Siegel, D. M. Dangerous plants in dermatology: Legal and controlled. Clinics in Dermatology 2018; 36(3): 399–419.

Dhadwal, G., & Kirchhof, M. G. The Risks and Benefits of Cannabis in the Dermatology Clinic. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2017; 22(2): 194–199.

Pacher P, Bátkai S, Kunos G. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006; 58(3): 389–462.

Montserrat-de la Paz, S., Marín-Aguilar, F., García-Giménez, M. D., & Fernández-Arche, M. A. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seed Oil: Analytical and Phytochemical Characterization of the Unsaponifiable Fraction. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2014; 62(5): 1105–1110.

This time in the Slovenian cosmetics category we’ll get to know Skinfairytale. It’s been released to the cosmetic market with a different purpose, which is: to relieve the skin condition in patients with dermatitis. To be clear Skinfairytale products are not only for those with skin diseases but also for those who are fighting with dry skin and various allergies.

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease that can be inherited or because we have a predisposition for it. It can be stimulated by several factors, among which are stress and various allergies. The most visible problem in atopic dermatitis is eczema, which is usually red and rough if we touch it. A slightly less visible, but very annoying problem in patients with dermatitis is itch.

Individuals with dermatitis usually have a damaged skin barrier, which means that the substances we get in contact with easily get into/out our skin. It sounds great, but if it’s easier for good things to pass, bad ones (allergens, irritant substances) also pass. As problematic substances pass easier, there is a greater chance that they will cause immune reactions in the skin. In case we get in contact with an allergen or an irritant the inflammatory cells are activated, causing inflammation.

My atopic dermatitis before and 3 days after using Skinfairytale AtopicBalm

Why is Skinfairytale so special?

Skinfairytale is a cosmetic line that was first formulated to treat atopic skin. The market is currently flooded with products that are supposed to be adapted to atopic skin, but checking on ingredients often reveals the content of potentially irritant substances that can only worsen the condition. Skinfairytale is another story.

Atopia is nowadays a growing problem, according to some studies it affects 20-25% of children. The frequency of this disease decreases by age. Usually disappears until 5 years of age.

We both got atopic dermatitis in adulthood, unfortunately. Probably because of stress. It’s not a severe form, but still very disturbing. During exam time outbreaks are more frequent and the attacks of itching are on a daily basis (especially before bedtime).

And now serious businesses. We’ll describe the products that we’ve tested and their most important ingredients that benefit the atopic skincare.

Atopic BALM

Calamine

Calamine is a combination of zinc oxide and 0.5 % iron oxide. It’s an ingredient that shows antiseptic and astringent properties. It’s proven to reduce pruritus and skin irritation. Calamine is the most effective while evaporating from the skin because it cools down. After only one application, it offers long-lasting effect, so it calms the skin down.

Mango butter

Mango butter is rich in linoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. In addition, it shows also antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It’s very easy for application and very soft for our skin.

Cannabis extract

It contains 3 most important fatty acids for the skin. These are α-linolenic and γ-linolenic acid and linoleic. They act anti-inflammatory and/or regenerative. In addition, it also contains arachidonic acid that reduces inflammation and helps to heal the wounds.

AtopicCREAM

Black cumin oil

Linoleic acid represents half of the fatty acid composition of the oil. The essential in this oil acts antimicrobial. This prevents the invasion of microorganisms through a weakened skin barrier and prevents inflammation. The oil can also be used for oily skin because it supports normal skin action and doesn’t leave grassy feeling.

Evening primrose oil

It’s a gold standard for anti-age skincare and it’s more and more recommended for the care of atopic dermatitis. It contains 74% linoleic acid and 10% γ-linolenic it contains also phytosterols that help restore the skin barrier. Because of the fatty acid composition, this oil works anti-inflammatory and regenerative.

Zinc sulfate

Local zinc and its salts are used as photoprotective agents, for calming down or as a substance in anti-dandruff shampoos. The use of zinc salts is now used also in many dermatological conditions, including infections (warts), inflammatory dermatoses (acne vulgaris, rosacea), pigmentation disorders (melasma) and neoplasia (baseline cancer). It has antimicrobial and astringent properties.

ProtectBALM

Katarina from Skinfairytale also made Protect Balm, which is not so much for atopic dermatitis, but for several different skin problems. As the name itself says it protects the skin. Especially if we have some dry areas (lips, elbows …) or some scratches, etc. It also protects the pregnant belly, before the stretch marks and cracks appear.

Jojoba oil

This oil is very similar to human sebum. Why is that important? Because our body recognizes oil as part of the skin and for that reason doesn’t cause allergies or unwanted interactions. It works anti-inflammatory and can be used for several skin conditions, from aging to healing wounds. It also helps other active ingredients to absorb quickly, precisely because the body recognizes the oil as its own.

Squalane

While squalene acts antioxidant the squalene derivative squalane shows moisturizing properties. It’s a very good emollient and is absorbed into the skin, which gives us a light feeling on the skin. It can also work as an occlusive and makes a layer on the skin, which also prevents evaporation of the water and keeps more water inside the skin. At the same time, it works as a physical barrier for substances from the outside, which can not enter the skin that easy.

Allantoin

First of all, allantoin acts as a moisturizer and it also helps wounds to heal faster and calms the skin down.

Choice of atopic care products

People with skin diseases must be careful when choosing cosmetic products. It is recommended not to use products that contain fragrances, dyes or many preservatives.

Atopic balm is pink, I’ve made a very strange grimace, because I thought Skinfairytale missed a very important rule – the products should not contain colorants. But because of the content of calamine, which is slightly pink, the balm is colored, but unintentionally and doesn’t harm, because the color is not artificially added.

A slightly different world, as we usually mention, right? We mostly struggle with wrinkles, pigment stains, and greasy/dry skin. Atopia is a completely different problem and we almost don’t talk about it. Many don’t take it seriously. The disease is curable and with the right choice of the products, we can improve the stage of the disease.

What is our experience with Skinfairytale products?

First of all, we were a little in doubt about how these creams can help us when sometimes even corticosteroids (systemic medicaments for atopia) can’t help us. At the first attack of the itch, we have put some Atopicbalm and the pruritus disappeared. We couldn’t believe it because for us it was already completely normal to scratch almost until the bleeding before going to bed. We don’t have this problem anymore. After the first application, we thought that it was just a coincidence, but at the next application we found that this is always like that, itching disappears, end of the story.

Protect the balm is very useful for some of the slightest abrasions. From an exercise, I was doing on concrete I had irritated the skin on my palms and knees. The skin was reddish and burning sensation. After using Atopic balm there was only a bruise, but the flush and burning sensation were gone.

In fact, there is something about this name Skinfairytale. We are very critical, but seeing this, we can only say: Well done! You certainly have made our lives easier while battling with atopic dermatitis.

You can take a look at all Skinfairytale products here.

Alcohols are on a bad voice, just like silicones and parabens. When we see an ingredient with an alcohol ending on the product, we automatically categorize it as bad. But can all products containing any kind of alcohol be declared as bad or are we just being too general?

What are alcohols and what is their function?

Alcohols are compounds having an -OH (hydroxyl) group attached to a carbon atom in the alkyl group. The group may be attached to a primary, secondary or tertiary C atom, so we separate primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols.

Primary alcohols include methanol, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and others. Secondary alcohols include 1-propanol and 2-propanol and others. There are also alcohols with two, three or more -OH groups, which we call diols, triols, etc. Among the most famous poliols are glycerol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, erythriol, and others.

Alcohols have several functions in cosmetic products. They are mostly used as solvents or co-solvents, and in high concentrations they posess antimicrobial properties, and therefore products do not need a preservative.

“No alcohol” doesn’t mean no alcohol

For many years cosmetic manufacturers have marketed certain cosmetic products that do not contain ethyl alcohol (also known as ethanol, or grain alcohol) as “alcohol free”. However, “alcohols” are a large and diverse family of chemicals, with different names and a variety of effects on the skin. This can lead to some confusion among consumers when they check the ingredient listings on cosmetic labels to determine alcohol content.

In cosmetic labeling, the term “alcohol,” used by itself, refers to ethyl alcohol. Cosmetic products, including those labeled “alcohol free,” may contain other alcohols, such as cetyl, stearyl, cetearyl, or lanolin alcohol. These are known as fatty alcohols, and their effects on the skin are quite different from those of ethyl alcohol.

Should any alcohol be avoided?

When we think about “bad” alcohols, alcohol denat, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and SD Alcohol (which means “specifically denatured alcohol”) are the first we think of. These alcohols are commonly used as solvents for cosmetically active ingredients that are insoluble in water. The use of these compounds in cosmetics leaves a cool feeling on the skin, as the alcohol evaporates faster than water, while giving the products a “light-weight” texture. They also help with the penetration of cosmetically active compounds into the skin. Everything okay until now, right? But these alcohols are reputable to irritate the skin and dry it.

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol

Ethanol is widely used in all types of products to which our skin is directly exposed. Scientific literature contains contradictory evidence of the safety of such topical alcohol applications.

Ethanol is known to improve the penetration of other substances and can be used in transdermal delivery systems. In his study, Bommannan found that ethanol enters the skin in vivo and removes measurable amounts of lipids from the surface of the skin. Removing the lipid layer can reduce the function of the skin barrier, which makes the skin more permeable. Because the skin is more permeable, a larger transepidermal loss of water and less hydration of the epidermis results in further skin dryness. Longer use can cause dry, leaking skin due to a reduced amount of lipids and moisture and also causes local inflammation.

Alcohol denat

Alcohol denat is an abbreviation for denatured alcohol, which is used in cosmetics and personal care products. Denatured alcohol is a denaturant containing ethanol. The usual denaturants in cosmetic products and personal care products are: denatonium benzoate, t-butyl alcohol, diethyl phthalate and methyl alcohol. The method of denaturing alcohol does not chemically change the ethanol molecule.

Denatured alcohol is generally noted as alcohol Denat or SD (especially denatured) alcohol.

It acts as anti-foaming agent, adstringent, antimicrobial agent and solvent. One of the main reasons for the use of denatured alcohol is its adstringent action. Adstringent is a substance that reduces the permeability of the mucous membrane or skin and capillaries, thereby reducing the inflammatory response and sensitivity to external influences. Adstringent interacts with certain functional groups, in particular sulfhydryl, on the surface of the proteins, and thus causes their precipitation. Adstringents cool the skin and cause temporary toning effect.

Use of denatured alcohol

Denatured alcohol is commonly used in acne treatment. The product containing denatured alcohol dries faster, which gives it a cooling effect and immediately degreases the skin. However alcohol-based products can actually encourage sebaceous glands to produce more oils, which causes the skin to become even oilier than before. Excessive sebum production combined with irritation that may be caused by denatured alcohol can lead to increased acne production.

In case of long-term use of skin care products containing high concentrations of denatured alcohol, dryness and irritation may occur. Denatured alcohol can also cause erosion of the surface layer of the skin, leading to a weakened skin barrier.

Denatured alcohol is common in post-shave products, where the skin needs an adstringent effect. Often it is also found in sunscreens because it is a good solvent for UV filters in plays a role in their distribution over the skin.

Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol or 2-propanol is a flammable liquid that is obtained from propylene. It is a solvent that acts as a anti-foaming agent, an adstrigent and a viscosity reduction agent.

A spray with an isopropyl alcohol concentration of 80.74% did not show any possibility of dermal sensitization in 9 human participants. In one of the studies, it has been shown that isopropyl alcohol strongly irritates the eyes of rabbits, at a concentration of 70% of the solution in water.

Isopropyl alcohol, which some consumers consider that dries skin, is rarely used in cosmetics.

Let’s not throw everyone in the same basket, not all alcohols are bad!

So, many products on the market are labeled ” free of alcohol ” and then a look at the INCI list reveals compounds that end with the name alcohol. Is this a trap? Should we throw a bad light on such products? No. Not all alcohols are bad. Many cosmetic alcohols, such as cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol and lanolinic alcohol, are also used in cosmetics.

These are long-chain aliphatic alcohols (usually between 12 and 18 carbon atoms), which are often used in lotions and creams. They serve as emollients, plasticisers, emulsion stabilizers, foam stabilizers and viscosity control agents.

Cetyl alcohol is used primarily as a softener to prevent drying and cracking of the skin due to its water binding ability.

What do you think about alcohols in cosmetics?

Sources: Lachenmeier DW. Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside the oral cavity. J Occup Med Toxicol., Final Report of the Safety Assessment of Alcohol Denat.,
Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Cetearyl Alcohol , Cetyl Alcohol , lsostearyl Alcohol , Myristyl Alcohol , and Behenyl Alcohol, FDA

The didn’t discover the effects of hydroxy acids yesterday. According to some testimonies, Chleopatra bathed in milk, as they already knew about the effects of lactic acid against aging.

How do we categorize the hydroxy acids?

Category Example Occurence/source Antioxidant
Alpha-hydroxyacid (AHA) Glycolic sugar cane NO
  Lactic sour milk, tomatoes NO
  Citric lemon, orange YES
  Malic apple YES
  Tartaric grape YES
Beta-hydroxyacid (BHA) Beta-hydroxybutanoic urine NO
  Tropic plant NO
Polihydroxy acid (PHA) Gluconic Commercially derived from corn YES
  Gluconolactone Commercially derived from corn YES
Aldobionic acid Lactobionic Lactose from milk YES
  Maltobionic Maltose from strach YES
Aromatic hydroxy acid (AMA) Salicylic acid Ester form in winter green leaves NO


Alpha-hydroxy acids

AHA’s are one of the most studied hydroxy acids on the market and in the 1990s were considered miraculous compounds. Nowadays, for use in cosmetics they are synthesized. Mostly used in cosmetics are glycolic and lactic acid. α-hydroxy acid is a common name of a low molecular weight organic acid which, in addition to -COOH, is an OH group at the α site.

α-hydroxy acids can be divided into:

Mono-carboxylic: glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid

Di-carboxylic: malic and tartaric acid

Tri-carboxylic: citric acid

For free sale, AHA can be purchased at concentrations up to 10% in case they are not rinsed. At this concentration, they exhibit keratolytic effects, stimulation of epidermis renewal, stimulation of collagen synthesis, and increased skin moisture. For professional use, AHA can be used at higher concentrations (30%) – at such a high concentration of these compounds exhibit epidermolysis. Epidermolysis is a chemical peel for the removal of acne scars and pigmentation abnormalities.

Beta-hydroxy acids

BHA is a common name for low molecular weight organic acids having an -OH group at the β site relative to the -COOH group. Some beta-hydroxy acids are present in the tissues as an intermediate product of cellular metabolism and as an energy source (β-hydroxybutanoic acid). The market share of BHA in skin care is limited, as these acids are poorly commercially accessible and expensive.

Salicylic acid is not a beta-hydroxy acid

Yes, almost everyone classifies salicylic acid as BHA. Salicylic acid is a derivative of benzoic acid, which belongs to hydroxy acids in a broader sense, but exhibits different effects than other hydroxy acids. Salicylic acid is, in principle, a classic keratolytic, which causes peeling of the corneocytes – a layer and layer from the surface to the interior of the stratum corneum. AHA and BHA, in contrast, have an effect on the inner (lower) parts of the skin. Salicylic acid reduces the thickness of dermis, while other hydroxy acids stimulate the synthesis of dermis components and increase its thickness.

In cosmetics it can be used in concentrations up to 2%.

We also know the lipophilic salicylic acid derivative, named β-lipohydroxy acid, which penetrates the skin more slowly and works exfoliatively at low concentrations. It works antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticomedogenic.

Salicylic acid and its lipophilic derivative substantially penetrate the skin better than glycolic acid. In the table below we presented the absorption of individual acids in the skin.

% of used product4% glycolic acid, 24 hours1% salicylic acid, 16 hours
Stratum corneum2,75
Other layers of epidermis13,546

Poli-hydroxy acids

Polyhydroxy acids are organic carboxylic acids having in the molecule two or more -OH groups. Some are intermediates of carbohydrate metabolism in tissues. Among PHA we count gluconic acid and gluconolactone.

Poli-hydroxy bionic acids

These acids are composed of a sugar (monosaccharide) unit that is linked to polyhydric acid. They have a higher molecular weight than other hydroxy acids (about 360 Da), but they still pass into the skin. Representatives are:

Lactobionic acid = galactose + gluconic acid

Maltobionic acid = glucose + gluconic acid

Characteristics of hydroxy acids

The ability to bind water

Polyhydroxy and bionic acids are very hygroscopic compared to AHA and BHA, which means they can attach a large amount of water to themselves. PHA and bionic acids are gentle and non-irritating cosmetically active ingredients that are also suitable for sensitive skin care.

Antioxidant properties

Most PHA and bionic acids exhibit antioxidant activity, and some exceptions can be found in AHA – especially those with at least two -COOH groups. Gluconolactone, lactobionic and maltobionic acid inhibit the oxidative degradation of hydroquinone and banana peels.

On the in vitro photoageing model, gluconolactone (PHA) offers up to 50% protection against UV damage (demonstrates the ability to chelate metal ions).

Lactobionic acid is used as an antioxidant in the solution for the storage of organs for trasplantation because it inhibits tissue damage under the influence of hydroxyl radicals (Fe 2+ cell).

Does daily use of AHA and PHA increase skin sensitivity for damage under the influence of UVB radiation?

The use of AHA and BHA acids increases the sensitivity of the skin to damage under the influence of UV radiation. It is necessary to use SPF with acids. Polyhydroxy acids should not increase sensitivity to the sun as they exhibit an antioxidant effect. But, better than sorry, use sunscreen.

Do hydroxy acids exhibit anti-aging effect?

Metalloproteases are enzymes that destroy the extracellular matrix. With aging and under the influence of UV light, the activity of metalloproteases is increasing and the inhibitors are declining. Lactobionic acid is an inhibitor of metalloproteinases in the skin and helps protect against UV damage.

AHA, PHA and bionic acids make surface skin peeling and accelerate the regeneration of the skin. At appropriate concentrations, the condition of photoaged skin is normalized by increasing the thickness of the epidermis and dermis, improving the barrier properties of the skin, increasing the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and other glycosaminoglycans, increasing the overall thickness of the skin.

The daily application of AHA to the skin of the forearms caused an increase in the thickness of the dermis (without further application this effect lasted for several months).

Cosmeceutical use of hydroxy acids

Hydroxy acids exhibit beneficial effects on dry skin, in wrinkles and photoaged skin, in keratoses and in the depigmentation effect, in acne skin care (removing the “plug” from the pores – salicylic acid, azelainic acid).

Glycolic acid when using high concentrations 1 x per week under the supervision of an expert demonstrates a comedolytic effect and helps eliminate pimples.

2% lipohydroxy acid exhibits a potentially comedolytic effect on the skin prone to acne. Lipophilic hydroxy acid penetrates well in s.c. (especially in the production of sebum rich in sebum).

The efficacy and safety of hydroxy acids

The effectiveness of hydroxy acids depends on the concentration, product pH, type of acid, vehicle, time of application and skin type. For optimum effect, the pH of the preparation should be between 3.0 and 3.5 (with increasing pH, the acidity of the acid decreases, but the irritation is reduced). Possible side effects: irritation, burning sensation on the skin, redness of the skin, burns, blisters, rash, itching, bleeding and discoloration of the skin.

Safe preparations with AHA at concentrations up to 10% must have a pH greater than 3.5. Professionals can use them in concentrations above 30%.

This time in Slovenian cosmetics we will talk about a brand that makes very nice smelling organic kinds of butter for skin care. Butters is a Slovenian company specializing in the manufacturing of all kinds of butter by a cold process.

What are vegetable butters?

Vegetable kinds of butter are mainly a mixture of different triglycerides, which represent more than 98-99%, and other components (1-2%) like phytosterols, phospholipids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, carotenoids, vitamin E. The composition is influenced by the botanical species and the subtype of the plant, climate, location, season, day, plant part and plant treatment on the ground and after transportation from the field and proper storage.

Vegetable butter consists mainly of fatty acids with 16 to 18 C atoms: palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid. Butters consist of mostly saturated fatty acids. These have a higher melting point than unsaturated fatty acids, that’s why butters are solid at room temperature.

How Butters company produces their butters?

Kinezika company have developed a special process to manufacture kinds of butter by themselves. Two of the most common methods of obtaining oils and kinds of butter, a warm (standard) and cold process are known.

Usually, all kinds of butter are heated in order to pass from a solid aggregate state into a liquid, adding some other substances. But in this company butters are manufactured by a special cold process. By mixing kinds of butter are converted into a creamy texture. The creamy texture makes it easier to apply the product. A good side of the cold process is that they retain all butter’s special properties, which would be lost for sure by heating to high temperatures.

We tested all four kinds of butter that Butters released recently. Three of them: Toffee Butter, CBD Butter and Amaretto-banana Butter are based on shea butter. And one special butter – Pineapple Butter, which is based on the cupuacu butter.

We’re for something tropical, right?

Tropical Pineapple Butter is basically a cupuacu butter with coconut oil and pineapple aroma. The product just like a mousse, it’s soft and easily absorbed into the skin, without leaving a greasy feeling.

Cupuacu butter or Theobroma grandiflorum seed butter is an alternative to the problematic lanolin (wool sheep wax that causes many allergic reactions). Cupuacu butter is capable of retaining moisture, but at the same time, it penetrates very quickly through the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and it’s suitable for vegans.

Interesting fact: Cupuacu butter is able to bind 440% of water. So, 1 kg cupuacu butter absorbs 4,4 kg of water.

Source: Fleck, C. A., & Newman, M. (2012). Advanced Skin Care – A Novel Ingredient. Journal of
the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists, 4(4), 92–94.

Effects of cupuacu butter

It’s an emollient that helps to increase the elasticity of the skin. In addition to emollient action, it also exhibits antioxidant and moisturizing effects. In fact, they call it “super humectant”. It makes the skin softer, more elastic and flexible.

As we have said many times, to oils and butters we can’t attribute SPF values, but many studies prove that they absorb harmful UVA and UVB rays. This is especially important in case of photo-aging because the skin is unintentionally protected from the sun. It calms our skin, which is why it’s also suitable for taking care of sunburned skin.

Cupuacu is suitable for the care of dry and oily skin.

How is this even possible?

1. Dry skin – contains phytosterols and sterols that are regenerative and have a beneficial effect on dry skin

2. Oily skin – this butter has the ability to moisturize, which is a MUST for every type of skin

Some use cupuacu butter to treat eczema and psoriasis. The fatty acid composition of this butter is special, it contains up to 35% oleic acid, up to 25% of lauric and stearic, up to 6.5% linoleic and fatty acid, which made it so special – called arachidonic acid (up to 4.5 %). Arachidonic acid is omega-6 acid, which is necessary for the functioning of cells in our body (nerve and immune cells, joint cells). It indirectly helps to reduce inflammation and wound healing.

Butters based on Shea Butter

Shea Butter is already well known.

The fatty acid composition of shea butter is quite different from cupuacu, containing up to 49% oleic acid, up to 38% stearic acid and up to 5% linoleic acid. The specificity of this butter is the high content of terpenoids (30,000 mg/kg) that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also contains phenols that have antioxidant properties.

Due to the content of terpenes (in butter) in laboratories have been demonstrated anti-inflammatory and preventive antitumor activity. Antitumor action of the butter is not very accurate, but good prevention can’t hurt anyone. Because it’s regenerative it’s also very popular for the care of atopic skin it helps to establish a broken skin barrier. Unrefined butter has a strong smell (like goat’s milk) but that’s exactly that kind of butter has the best quality.

Interesting facts about Shea butter

Interesting fact # 1: Shea butter helps to prevent mosquito bites. According to a study, the probability of a mosquito bite was reduced by about 40% after applying Shea Butter. Especially in the summer, this would be a very good solution, right? We can probably just add a drop of essential oils of lemongrass or lavender and the unpleasant itching will be gone for quite some time!

Interesting fact # 2: Shea butter is apparently more effective in unclogging the nose when we catch a cold than conventional nose droplets.

All Butters products with shea are soft and spreads very well. After application to the skin, they are absorbed quickly and don’t leave a greasy feeling.

Which are the new Butters products based on shea?

CBD Butter – behind the name shea butter with hemp is hiding. Cannabis in cosmetics is becoming more and more popular because it actually has a positive effect on the skin. It very efficient in improving the condition of skin diseases.

Amaretto-banana Butter is butter that smells like ice cream. It has a sweet, but fresh smell. Very appropriate for cuddling.

Toffee Butter is shea butter with a caramel flavor. The smell of butter gives you the feeling that you are having a bath of caramel, but unlike the real caramel, you aren’t sticky and the feeling on the skin is pleasantly soft.

Which body butter do you like the most? Check out Butters.si for a good smelling body product!

Have you ever showered with a shower gel that gives such silky feeling that you don’t want to ever leave? Well, silicones are responsible for this feeling. Also silicones can be found in most primers. They are ˝guilty˝ for the smooth effect and we can’t blame them. #sorrynotsorry

What are silicones ?

Silicones are synthetic organic polymers of silicon. They can form silicones, silicates, silanes, or siloxanes. These can connect to larger molecules, which are normally flexible.

  Chemical structure State of matter
1. Silicone oils (dimethicones, cyclomethicone…) Liquids
2. Silicone waxes (alyildimethicones) Resins
3. Silicone emulsifiers (silicone polyether) Elastomers (dimethicones)

Approximately 85% of all silicones in cosmetic products are classified as silicone oils. That’s why we’ll give them a little more attention.

Silicone oils

Dimethicones

Dimethicones are waterproof ingredients, that distribute well over surfaces and are inert (they don’t react with other compounds). In one of the studies, more than 60 different dimethicones were observed to see which one is most common in cosmetic products. The most commonly found are dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crospolymer (in 457 cosmetic products) and dimethicone crospolymer, which was present in 442 products.

Cyclomethycones

Cyclomethycones are volatile compounds, but they don’t leave a cold feeling while evaporating as ethanol does. They are odorless and non-toxic. Usually they are used as solvents or carrier systems for other silicones. With their incorporation into lipsticks, we can prolong their persistence.

Silicone waxes

Alkyldimethicones

Alkyldimethicones improve the compatibility of ingredients with oils and increase the stability of cosmetic products containing silicones. They work as moisturizers as well. They are used in many cosmetic products such as lipsticks, creams and lotions. They are very welcomed in suncreens since they are able to increase their effectivness.

When can we use silicones?

Silicones are safe and compatible (aren’t complicated and can get used to the new environment quickly). They are excellent ointments and lubricants, antifoams, emulsifiers, emollients and surfactants. Almost everything, right? But recently they are not that ˝in˝ anymore, since almost every package has a ˝without silicones˝ inscription.

Where can we use them?

Silicones are very common in decorative cosmetics and in skin care products. They are also found in products for children and products for sensitive skin, because they don’t irritate the skin. They are also suitable for application to deeper skin layers. Their origin isn’t animal so they are also suitable for vegans.

1. Hair: accelerated drying, increased shine, easier combing, regeneration

2. Give a good sensory feeling on the skin

3. Moisturizing (formation of a film that can beathe)

4. Skin protection (waterproof)

5. Cleaning ability (silicone powder – the ability to absorb lipophilic substances, including sebum)

6. Increase the effectiveness of active ingredients

7. Matting effect (for oily skin products, since silicones aren’t comedogenic)

8. Adhesion of pigments (used in primers under our make-up)

What are their advantages?

Silicones can get very well distributed and well smeared. They are surface-active (surfactants) substances that are colorless, tastless and odorless. Absence of color, taste and smell is very important in the formulation of cosmetics. They are inactive, temperaturely and chemically stable (they don’t interact with other substances).

Studies show that silicones are very safe for the consumer. They belong to the “Clean Beauty” substances. Clean Beauty is a platform where you can find safe products, they can be made of natural or synthetic materials. The point is, they are safe for the user.

Myths about silicones

“Silicones are toxic to nature because they rinse into rivers and seas.”

Health Canada has concluded that cyclomethicone (a type of silicone) has a low or no probability of environmental pollution and there is no necesity for any restrictions about the use of this substance. Very volatile silicones quickly evaporate and degrade in the air under the influence of the sun. Smaller quantities that remain in solid or liquid state are hydrolysed.

“We inhale silicones inhale and can be loaded in the lungs.”

Approximately 95-99% of the particles in sprays are bigger than 10 μm. According to the study, the particles inhabited by mistake are located and remain in the nasal cavity. They don’t go anywhere, regardless of the amount of silicones we inhale. So the chances of inhaling silicones, which can get and stay in the lungs is equal to almost 0.

“Silicones can clogg the pores.”

Silicones as substances aren’t occlusive (we still know what that means, right?), So they can’t clog the pores. They help to protect our epidermis and are also allowing our barrier to “breathe”. There are no reports proving that silicones irritate our skin, they actually do all the contrary, the feeling they leave is very ligh and soft.

However, due to the whole chaos, they are looking for alternative forms. Substances that are recently replacing silicones are olive oil derivatives, argan oil derivatives, coconut derivatives, alternatives to silicone elastomers, wheat sprouts.

In one study, however, it was confirmed that silicones pass the skin barrier and are loaded into epidermis. It’s expected to have negative effects on the epidermis, which we can see as a reduction of it. However, the whole study is imprecise, as they didn’t specify which parameters they took into consideration, so it’s difficult to be sure about the relevancy of this study.

Conclusion

If you are still afraid that the use of cosmetic products with silicone will clogg the pores, don’t worry, it won’t. Whether silicone compounds cross the skin barrier or not we know that such large compounds don’t cross neither healthy or damaged skin. Silicones have many advantages, even though they aren’t natural.

We already opened the shorts season, when travelling in Sicily and Morroco. And by this we opened the season of hairless legs. Hairs have their purpose to protect us from mechanical and thermal effects of the environment. But nowadays because of the impacts of the society and aesthetical reasons we remove the hair with several different depilation and epilation techniques.

Let’s get to know our hairs!

On our body there are two types of hair: fluffy and terminal. Terminal hairs are longer (more than 1mm), thicker, more pigmented, usually there is one hair for pilosebaceous unit and have longer life cycle. Fluffy hairs are shorter, thinner, there are more hairs growing in a pilosebaceous unit, are non pigmented and have a shorter life cycle.

Phases of hair growth

Hairs go through 3 different phases. First is anagen phase or phase of growth, that lasts approximately 6-8 years and depends on gender, age and health. Second is catagen phase or phase of transition – in this phase the growth in hair bulb starts shutting down and slowly stops. Last is the telogen phase is which the hair dies off, the hair bulb moves towards the surface and the hair falls out. When the last phase elapses, new cycle begins.

Photography: Neja Stojnič

Methods of hair removal

We know depilation and epilation techniques. And many people use this two terms wrong. With the term depilation we always think off removing hair with the wax, but this is wrong.

Depilation methods remove hairs without the effect on a hair bulb, the effect of depilation lasts around two weeks. Under the term depilation we count shaving and chemical depilation.

Epilation methods remove hair, including the bulb, the effect lasts around 6-8 weeks. Under term epilation we count waxing, pulling, laser methods and electrolysis.

Physical methods shaving, waxing, pulling hairs with tweezers, use of abrasives
Chemical methods chemical and enzymatic depilation

Shaving

We will not discuss this for long, like the effect of the shaving doesn’t last long (maybe 3 days). Shaving is the most popular method, because it’s fast, simple, cheap and the least painful. Hairs are removed only from the skin surface.

Shaving accelerates hair growth and makes them thicker.

Photography: Neja Stojnić

Waxing

Waxing counts as a epilation method. The effect last around 6-8 weeks.Waxing does not accelerate hair growth. For this methods hairs need to be at least 3mm long. It is unsuitable for diabetics and patients with vascular diseases. It can also cause some side effects like folliculitis, hyperpigmentation and scars.

Ingredients in waxing cosmetic products are usually: resin, bees wax, paraffinum, camphor, local anesthetics and ingredients with antibacterial effect.

Hot waxing is the process, where we heat up the wax and then apply it on the skin so it surrounds the hairs so they become a part of the wax. We remove the wax in the opposite direction of the hair growth. In cold waxing there is no need to heat up the wax.

Chemical methods of hair removal

Hair removing runs with chemical compounds and enzymes. The procedure happens without pain and it’s effects are visible for 2 weeks. Chemical compound penetrates in the hair cortex, where the reduction of disulphide bond in keratin happens. Simply, this means that the bonds that hold the hair together splits and this causes the hair to fall out. Hairs are removed on the skin surface or little underneath.

Active ingredients for hair removal
Active ingredientPropertiesSide effects
Sulfide (barium sulfide)– most effective
– strong unpleasant smell
Toxic for the skin, hair grows back into the skin
Sulfite– less irritation and absence of the strong smell
– ineffective
/
Mercaptans– methyl, butyl, benzyl-mercaptane have very strong smell
– less smell from polar mercaptans (tiolactic acid, tioglycolic acid) – slower but safer
Skin irritation, inflammation, chemical burns, scars
Photography: Neja Stojnić

Cosmetic products for depilation based on thioglycolates

First ever patented depilatory creams were based on thioglycolates and until today they still present a standard for chemical depilation. Most commonly used it calcium thioglycolate in combination with calcium hydroxide. A reversible reaction happens between hair keratin and alkaline thioglycolate. Depilation effect happens after 5-15min, pH rises above 10. These compounds are safe in concentrations up to 15%, show low systemic toxicity and are stable (in concentrations between 2,5-5%).

Side effects may be: skin irritation, inflammation, chemical burns and scars.

Laser hair removal

Discovery that lasers unspecifically destroy hair follicles was made more than 60 years ago. Laser enables selective photothermolysis – hair removal without damaging the surrounding tissue.

How does a laser work?

Exact certain wavelength of light and the duration of laser pulse leads to thermal damage of target tissue, that contains a chromophore. Melanin in hair follicle absorbs the laser light. Laser energy in the form of a light transforms into heat, that causes selective destruction of a hair follicle.

With this procedure the final destruction can be done to the hairs, that are in the moment of procedure in growth phase (5-15% of all body hairs), that’s why this procedure needs to be repeated (5-8 repetitions).

Nd:YAG laser

This laser can have a continuous source of light or pulse with wavelength of 1064nm. Melanin badly absorbs light with wavelength as high as this, that’s why this laser is ineffectual for permanent hair removal. Fast warming causes photomechanical damage to melanocytes in a hair bulb, wherein there is no damage done to the hair follicle. This is the safest and most efficient laser for dark skin (type IV). It only causes the delay of hair growth not the permanent removal.

Effectiveness of laser hair removal

One treatment only delays the hair growth for a short period of time. Before the treatment hairs need to be removed with shaving. While doing the treatments with the laser you should avoid exposure to the sun. Laser is the most effective on light skin with dark hairs, and not so effective with light or blonde hairs.

Fotografija: Neja Stojnić

IPL technology

IPL regulates the spectre of light with wavelength from 550nm to 1200nm with filters and so adjusts considering the skin phototype and hair color. More treatments lead to permanent hair removal. At IPL technology the light effects all the skin surface, not only hair follicles like the laser does. Because of this fact the risk of skin damage is higher with IPL. Effectiveness of IPL compared to laser is lower, because the energy is more scattered and is not concentrated just on the hair.