Parabens are preservatives, a class of compounds that prevent the inevitable overgrowth of a wide spectrum of bacteria, fungus and yeast from contaminating a skincare product. Parabens are effective, very stable compounds and lack side effects. Parabens are derived from PHBA, para-hydroxybenzoic acid, which occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables including carrots, onions, and blueberries. But they have a bad reputation.
In the 1990's, several studies suggested that parabens have very weak estrogenic activity. In 1998, a study concluded that the most potent paraben, butylparaben, had 10,000 to 100,000-fold less estrogenic activity than estradiol, a naturally occurring estrogen. In 2004, a British study found traces of parabens in breast cancer tissue but failed to look at the presence of parabens in the normal tissue. The study failed to show that the parabens caused the tumors or were harmful in any way. Regardless, the fear of parabens propagated rapidly and manufacturers were quick to appease consumers by offering "paraben-free" skincare products. To date, there is still no conclusive scientific data that proves deleterious effects of parabens. Nor is there epidemiological evidence linking parabens to breast cancer. Regulatory organizations in Japan, Europe, and the United States continue to support the use of parabens as a preservative.
THE BEST ANTI-AGING PRODUCT
Other than sun avoidance, sunscreen application is the single most effective anti-aging preventative.
Poison Ivy, also known as rhus dermatitis, is caused from an allergic reaction to the oil resin, urushiol, found in the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. It is very common in the summer months.
The classical rash is a red blistering eruption seen in straight lines due to the way the plant brushes against the skin. If contact to the resin is a result of touching a piece of clothing, or from touching a pet that has been romping through the woods, the rash may appear more spread out. Inhaling smoke from a burning poison ivy, sumac, or oak plant may even cause a dangerous irritation to the nasal passges and lungs.
Once the oil resin is on the skin, it can be spread to other parts of the body by sctratching. Rhus dermatitis is often a very itchy rash and if untreated may last for several weeks. The rash itself is NOT contagious.
If contact to any of these plants occurs, immediately rinse yourself off with lukewarm water. Use a cleanser to wash away any remnant oil resin from your skin. Oil from poison ivy can stick to many different surfaces. Wash the clothing that may have contacted the plant. Rinse off patio furniture, garden tools, golf clubs, and even the fur on a pet.
A mild case of poison ivy may be treated at home with calamine lotion, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream and oral antihistamines to control the itch. Do not open a blister as this may lead to infection. Cool compresses may help relieve the itchy symptoms. If the rash is severe or widespread, affects the face or genitals, if blisters are oozing pus, or if a fever develops, seek medical attention immediately.
BROAD SPECTRUM Explained
What does Broad Spectrum mean on a sunscreen label?
The sun emits two types of harmful rays: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA rays are the dominant tanning rays and are a major cause of skin aging and even skin cancer. UVB rays are predominantly the cause of sunburn and skin cancers, but can also contribute to the development of fine lines, dark spots and wrinkles. UVA rays penetrate through glass windows, UVB rays do not.
Broad Spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Purchase sunscreen that says "broad spectrum" on the label!
COSMETIC VS. DRUG
A skincare product is considered a cosmetic or a drug, depending on its intended use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines cosmetics as "articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied...for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance." By law, cosmetics cannot claim to alter the structure or function of the skin.
Moisturizing is a cosmetic claim. A moisturizer that claims to decrease the "appearance" of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the water content of skin is considered a cosmetic. Although skincare product manufacturers must follow the laws and regulations that apply to cosmetics, cosmetics do NOT require FDA approval before going to market. Skincare products must not be misbranded or adulterated but they do not need to PROVE efficacy or safety. They are recognized by the FDA as having no medical value.
Examples of cosmetics are as follows: facial and body moisturizers, including "eye" creams, "night" creams, "firming" creams, "toning" creams, "anti-aging" creams, and "anti-wrinkle" creams; lipsticks, fingernail polishes, and eye & facial makeup preparations.
Products that intend to change the structure or function of skin are considered drugs. The FDA defines drugs as "articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" and "articles...intended to affect the structure or function of..." skin. If a product claims to alter the skin's structure or function, for example, by actually "removing" wrinkles or increasing the skin's production of collagen, it is considered a drug. As a drug, the product must get FDA approval before going to market. In addition, the manufacturer must prove the product's safety and efficacy.
Manufacturers of over-the-counter (OTC) skincare moisturizers, including "eye" creams, "night" creams, "firming" creams, "toning" creams, "anti-aging" creams, "anti-wrinkle" creams, or rejuvenating serums, cannot claim that their product will change the structure of the skin itself. The product may claim to change the "appearance" of fine lines and wrinkles (by increasing the water content of the skin), but, by law, cannot claim to change the actual structure or function of the skin.
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Welcome to Fully Exposed
Hello, and welcome to FryFace!
I've been a New York based dermatologist for over 25 years. I love music. I love triathlons. I love chemistry. (I love petroleum jelly.) I study skincare ingredients and product formulation. I listen to skincare "advice" from self-proclaimed ......Read More