Are face toners really necessary?

Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a small commission for purchases made via affiliate links. Basics Toners, otherwise known as astringents, are quite the controversial skincare product. Partly due to the fact that earlier formulations were particularly drying (due to the presence of alcohols). These products were originally marketed as pH balancers which were necessary to remove the alkaline residue of cleansers and soaps. In the beginning, toners were designed for people with oily, acne-prone skin due to their drying nature (despite this approach often causing more breakouts). Since then, the formulation of toners have changed drastically, and with that, so has…

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Hyaluronic acid benefits – low vs high molecular weight

Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a small commission for purchases made via affiliate links. Hyaluronic acid basics First of all, hyaluronic acid isn’t as corrosive as it sounds – this molecule is naturally abundant in the dermis and epidermis of our skin. The hydration of the skin critically depends on the hyaluronic acid-bound water in the dermis and epidermis. The most superficial layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum (SC), plays a crucial role in retaining this hydration. The SC acts as a barrier to water loss. Signs of dehydration begin to appear when SC water content falls below 10%. If your skin…

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Does moisturiser actually do anything?

Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a small commission for purchases made via affiliate links. Many of us use moisturiser on a daily basis, perhaps even mindlessly….because, well, that’s what we’ve been brought up to know. But, do we actually need moisturiser? This post will explore the science behind moisturisers to see if they actually do anything for our skin. Setting the record straight First off, let’s set some records straight. Let’s start with our terminology – ‘dry’ and ‘dehydrated’ skin might appear to describe the same skin condition, but are actually quite separate skin states. The main difference between these skin…

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How does ibuprofen reduce period pain?

Why do we get period pain? So it’s that wonderful time of the month. But, have you ever took a second to think why am I actually popping ibuprofen for my period pain?! Well, read on to find out! During our period, compounds known as prostaglandins are released from the uterine lining (endometrium) which triggers uterine muscle contractions (in order to expel the lining). Furthermore, it is thought that higher levels of prostaglandins can cause more severe cramping in some women. What is ibuprofen and what has it got to do with period pain? Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug,…

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A-Z skincare ingredient cheat sheet

Here is your go-to cheat sheet of skincare ingredients – this post should help you identify and learn the role of some key ingredients in skincare products. AHA Aka alpha hydroxy acid, a chemical exfoliant. These compounds are water-soluble acids that help get rid of dead skin cells. Alpha-Tocopherol Aka a type of vitamin E (see below). Antioxidant Antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are reactive species which damage cells and might contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The body can be exposed to free radicals from environmental exposures (as well…

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Bakuchiol: a better alternative to retinol?

What is Bakuchiol? Everyone and their grandmothers are talking about bakuchiol right now. So what’s the big deal? You’ve probably heard bakuchiol being discussed in the context of retinol – i.e. that it’s a great alternative to it. You may have heard bakuchiol has all the anti-ageing perks of retinol but manages to avoid the irritation that can come with the use of one. In this post we will explore whether bakuchiol is a better alternative to retinol and how they compare. So what’s bakuchiol? Despite being compared to retinol, bakuchiol is in no way related to retinol in structure…

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What is vitamin D and what does it do?

What is vitamin D? Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids (essentially a steroid where one of the bonds in the steroid rings is broken). Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. In addition, this vitamin is also responsible for regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and innate and adaptive immunity. There are two major types (there are more types which are out of scope for this post) of vitamin D – vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Our major source of vitamin D comes from the synthesis of vitamin…

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Myth: 80 per cent of skin ageing caused by UV rays

From the daily mail to high-quality, reputable journals, the statement ‘UV rays account for 80 per cent of skin ageing’ is plentiful. First of all, there are many causes of skin ageing such as the natural ageing process, pollution, gravity, diet, smoking, illness and stress. So ‘UV rays cause 80% of skin ageing’ is a pretty bold statement to make. It seems almost absurd that anything could have more of an effect on skin ageing than the inherent ageing process. So let’s explore this claim. Skin basics Firstly, let’s explore the structure of our skin. For a more in depth…

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Chemist reviews Dr Bronner’s Castile soap

Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a small commission for purchases made via affiliate links. As a practising organic chemist this post will explore the effectiveness of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap as well as the ingredients list. I started using Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap to wash my body roughly one year ago; I was looking for something that would be a bit more ‘kinder’ to the skin than typical shop-bought shower gels. Something with fewer unnecessary ingredients. Also, something more effective, I find a lot of shower gels to be a bit ineffective. One year on and I don’t use anything else.…

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Retinoid vs Retinol: What’s the difference?

Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a small commission for purchases made via affiliate links. What are retinoids and retinols? I presume you’re reading this because you are aware of all the great things retinoids and retinols can do for your skin, but are confused over the terminology. This is where a PhD in organic chemistry comes in handy. Let me deconstruct their differences and why it matters. Retinoid and retinol are different but also the same. Huh? Let me explain. Often, Retinoid is used as an umbrella term for any compound derived from vitamin A (a vitamin A derivative). A vitamin…

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