Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When to throw away your cosmetics/makeup ?

All medicine have an expiry date and we all follow it religiously but what about your make up ? Have we ever given this a thought.Have you ever thrown away your cosmetics after they have outlived their utility ? Most importantly do you know what are the safety guidelines ?
Read on.....
There are no regulations or requirements under current United States law that require cosmetic manufacturers to print expiration dates on the labels of cosmetic products. Manufacturers have the responsibility to determine shelf life for products, as part of their responsibility to substantiate product safety. FDA believes that failure to do so may cause a product to be adulterated or misbranded.

Makeup shelf life guidelines :

First off, if it smells, stinks, has a distinct odor that should not be, throw it away! I am amazed at how long women will keep cosmetics that have a bad odor. Do yourself a favor and trash it.

Another good rule of thumb, if you can't remember when you purchased it, trash it. Makeup should not stir up memories from ten years ago. If you makeup bag does, throw it out!

Shelf life of common makeup :

  • Oil free Foundation : 1 yr
  • Cream or Compact Foundation: 18 months
  • Concealer :12-18 months
  • Powder:2 years
  • Blush and Bronzer: 2 years
  • Cream Blush: 12-18 months
  • Powder Eye shadow: 2 years Cream Eye shadow: 12-18 months
  • Eyeliner : 2 years
  • Liquid eyeliner: 3-6 months
  • Mascara: 3 months
  • Lipstick: 2 years
  • Lip liner: 2 years
  • Lip gloss: 18-24 months
  • Nail Color: 1 year

Tips to lessen the contamination of makeup and extend its use:

  • Use common sense.
  • Basic hygiene is key: Before applying makeup, wash your face and hands with soap.
  • Instead of directly touching your makeup by placing your fingers in the product, pour a little into your palm or scoop a little out with a disposable spoon or applicator.
  • Don't share your makeup with others.
  • Keep makeup containers tightly closed when not in use.
  • Throw makeup away if the color changes or an odor develops (makeup has preservatives, similar to that in food, which can break down over time).
  • Don't use water or, even worse, saliva, which could introduce bacteria that could easily grow out of control. If makeup has lost its original texture or consistency, the preservatives have probably broken down.

If you are using natural cosmetics, these should be thrown out sooner. Regular cosmetics contain ingredients that do help prolong shelf life. But of course natural cosmetics do not.

Oils and bacteria get trapped in the bristles of the brushes. Wash natural-bristled brushes once a month, and synthetic brushes three to four times a month. Lay the brushes flat to dry so that the bristles don't break, and to maintain the shape of the brushes. There are brush cleansers out there, but you can also use mild soap. You may also use baby shampoo to wash your brushes.

Cosmetic makeup sponges are disposable tools. Wash after every use. Toss within 1 month, or when the sponge begins to tear.

Be vigilant and take care when next you buy your cosmetics (makeup).

Bye and take care !!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who is a Trichologist ? Hair raising facts !!

2 of my esteemed collegues viz.Dr.Venkatram Mysore & Dr.Uday Khopkar have originally authored this article (Check if your trichologist is a doctor: Need for educating the public). God bless them for this !!
I am going to share with you the important for public information.
Many dermatologists have been approached by their patients with the question, "do you treat hair problems also?" as if only trichologists treat hair diseases and dermatologists do not treat hair diseases. Following these developments some dermatologists have even described themselves as "consultant dermatologist and trichologist'. This situation reflects the power of advertisement and propaganda on the one hand and the gullibility of the uninformed, unsuspecting public on the other. It also demonstrates perhaps, the limitation and lack of will on the part of us-, the professionals, to engage in efforts towards public health education. Trichology is defined as "the branch of medicine that deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp. Trichologists themselves are not normally medically qualified although members of the medical profession can undertake courses and/or careers within trichology.
However, the fact that one does not need to be a doctor to become a trichologist and most trichologists are not qualified doctors is not common knowledge. In fact many of the trichology courses are distance learning packages, very different and far removed from the intensive clinical training of medical school. The Institute of Trichologists, which was founded in 1902, provides a two-year distance learning package backed by clinical observation. The International Association of Trichologists (IAT), a non-profit corporation, was established in 1974 to promote the study, research and legitimate practice in all aspects pertaining to the treatment and care of the human hair and scalp in health and disease and to supply comprehensive instruction and training in the professional application of this scientific specialty. A trichology course was developed at the University of Southern California during 1974-75.
The trichology courses were established at various centers including in the UK basically because there were too few dermatologists to take care of all the hair patients and because general practitioners did not have adequate knowledge of hair diseases to treat patients with hair problems Hence trichologists act as a useful bridge between patients, general practitioners (GP) and the dermatologists.
Trichologists are not cosmetologists, nor are they practitioners of alternative medicine. Trichologists are not medically qualified. They cannot issue prescription drugs. Since 1902 (when the profession was established), trichology primarily (but not exclusively) attracted hairdressers, in its initial years and hence the profession has been incorrectly labeled as part of that craft. However, the majority of the Trichological Society's current graduate trichologists are not hairdressers and 94% of its current student intake holds degrees in science subjects. There are also a few medical practitioners who have been certified as trichologists. Most of the certified trichologists in the UK practice trichology within the parameters stated above, but many of them work in hair cosmetic industry and wig manufacturing laboratories etc.
A trichologist helps people who have problems with their hair or scalp by careful questioning and microscopic examination of hair. The trichologist must then decide if treatment is necessary and whether the problem is within his or her realm to treat or should be dealt with by a medical doctor. Treatment by the trichologist might consist of the application of a particular cream or lotion to the scalp or the use of nutritional therapy and appropriate counseling. If it needs a prescription drug or a surgical procedure, he then refers the patient to a dermatologist or any other required specialty.
So it is obvious that trichologists are not doctors (unless they have acquired medical qualification as well) and hence do not treat hair problems with prescription drugs, which is the prerogative of the dermatologist. However, in the UK, they do perform a definite and useful role as a bridge between patient, GP and the dermatologist.
However, what has been happening in India in the last couple of years is very different. The advertisements in the Indian media appear to have projected an impression that only trichologists are the real experts to treat all hair diseases. Advertisements with misleading statements about how trichologists can help solve all hair problems appear repeatedly in the press. These trichologists have also advertised about trichoscans or hair scans. The scan is a dermoscopic examination of hair which can give some information about hair density and detect miniaturization of hairs. But these scans are projected as a magic tool to detect the cause of hair loss. Often unproven treatments are offered in the form of packages, costing several thousand Rupees.Obviously this issue concerns the dermatologists; after all dermatology includes trichology and dermatologists are trichologists too !!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Selling Fairness in India - an Unfair Game !

I was being interviewed by a magazine a few days back about the role of fairness creams and their abuse in India and neighbouring countries. I am sharing the answers given by me.Would really love to get your inputs.

Q.Can fairness creams really make one fairer ? Is it temporary or permanent?

A. It should be noted that skin color is determined by the amount and type of melanin, the pigment in the skin. Whether you are fair or dark is dependent more on genetic rather than environmental causes.
A fairness cream that has side effects can further damage your skin and remove the possibility of enhancing your skin tone.
Time and again it has been proved in scientific journals that fairness creams do not make one fair. Here is what they can do --
They may help maintain status quo
They may contain sunscreen which controls tanning
They may contain hydroquinone, a chemical that has a bleaching effect.
However, fairness creams may also contain chemicals that can be harmful.

Q. If they do not make one fairer, on what basis do all these fairness creams promote their products?

A. Let's face it whether you call it a colonial hangover or plain obsession of getting fairer there is a huge demand for these products and all my reasoning falls onto deaf ears as far as intelligent and well meaning advice to my patients about complexion is concerned. Beauty pageant winners in India are all extraordinarily tall and breathtakingly slim, have light honey-colored skin, and peddle Western ideals of beauty.Advertisements aim to produce a hierarchy of values based on the notion that “fairness” is an object of desire.

The reason why these companies are able to get away with these bogus claims are the well researched sales figures from these markets for these creams.
Major markets for fairness creams are :
India - is the largest market
Saudi Arabia
Far East.
Other factors are 24 x 7 ad campaigns whose claims are never checked, these images of a fair girl/man getting a favourable response from the opposite sex, getting better prospective grooms/brides, getting better jobs, getting the respect of their peersetc. These adverts glare at you from the billboards, magazines, newspapers, televison and whatever is left through radio channels.
They create hype about their product. Many leading manufacturers have expanded their range to include lotions, cold creams, and soaps. Manufacturers of fairness creams advertise their products so aggressively that people really expect a radical change in their complexion. When that doesn’t happen, it’s a huge disappointment. The emotional turmoil is at times greater than the adverse physical effects of using fairness creams.
Unsubstantiated claims made by so called beauty clinics (run by unqualified beauticians calling themselves "Doctors" which are run by industrialists calling themselves "Health Barons" whose only motive to be in this line is to maximise profits by hook or crook) These "Quacks" along with the self styled super homoeopaths, ayurvedic experts and other so called natural healers (who claim a lot - but in any other part of the world would be on the wrong side of the law except in India) These people have further propogated these false hoods with which the young and the impressionable are swayed and go for these overpriced and sometimes dangerous medications - all in the name of getting fairer.
There is no such thing as 100 per cent herbal. Herbal creams should be freshly made and should not have any preservatives or colourants for them to be truly herbal.Herbal creams have the same effect as other fairness creams since the fundamental process is the same — hindering the generation of melanin.This can lead to burning, itching and skin irritation.

Q.Do fairness creams contain bleaching agents? If yes, what damage canthey cause to the skin?

A. With the plethora of products and brands available in the fairness cream market, the knowledge of the ingredients, their functions and impact can help consumers make an informed choice.

Ingedients of fairness creams include :

Hydroquinone --An effective whitening agent, but known to cause skin irritation. Normally used in fairness creams in very small concentration (less than 1 percent)
Kojic Acid, a Vitamin C derivative with characteristics to block melanin production in the skin. Melanin is responsible for darkening the complexion.
Retinoic Acid, a Vitamin A derivative which helps peel off the surface layers of skin, thereby getting rid of dark pigmented skin cells, is also used sometimes. In the process, the lower layers of the skin, which are somewhat lighter, come up to the surface.
Plant extracts -- These which have mild whitening qualities such as liquorice, blackberry, mulberry, grapeseed etc.
Mercury salts,
Bismuth subnitrate
Hydrogen peroxide
Magnesium peroxide
Zinc peroxide.
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide)
Mixture of US FDA- and EU-approved UV-A and UV-B sunscreens.
Ayurvedic herbs
Fairness creams usually contain skin-bleaching agents such as hydroquinone, mercury salts, hydrogen peroxide, magnesium peroxide or zinc peroxide. All fairness creams have two to four per cent of hydroquinone. Continued exposure to this can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. A fairness cream inhibits the generation of melanin. But as soon as one stops applying the cream, the skin goes back to its original colour and sometimes even becomes a shade darker.Hydroquinone can induce a pigmentation of its own where there is a deposit in the lower layer of the skin. This is known as ochronosis and the skin becomes bluish black in colour.Moreover, as the creams are not evenly applied on the face, they can lead to uneven pigmentation and a blotchy complexion.
Dermatologists claim that there is no such thing as a fairness cream, certainly not without using skin-bleaching agents. Some ingredients used in many fairness creams can cause serious health hazards.
Nephrotoxicity or kidney damage.
Mercury toxicity -- Mercury toxicity includes effects like metallic taste, increased thirst, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, nephritis, decreased flow of urine, colitis or constipation, tremors, anaemia, and skin problems. Mercury has adverse effects on the developing brain of a foetus.
Experts say an estimated 40 percent of the users of the creams suffer from various skin abnormalities like facial hair growth, acne, skin thinning, increased skin aging, skin tanning, skin rash, pigmentation, contact allergy, or eczema even cancer.Long-term use of such creams can even lead to leucoderma.
Cosmetic manufacturing companies do not declare the ingredients used in fairness creams under the guise of trade secrets. As they are registered under cosmetics license, they are not bound to disclose contents. There are hundreds of fairness products around the world, many of them illegally produced, which promise their users fairness but often end up destroying their skin and causing serious diseases like melanoma or skin cancer and kidney problems.