Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How To Save Time And Money Over Any Holidays And Recover From Money Spent On Them

Updated January 3, 2013. Happy New Year, no matter what your circumstances have been and are and may 2013 see you and yours well.

To help you save time and money this and any year, remember the basics.

Cosmetics do not need to be expensive to work. They just need to work. Marketing cosmetics is about selling you a product at a profit, in many cases, regardless of how well it can work. Often that marketing entails stretching the truth as to how effective that product may be for the purpose intended and contains misleading information, that contravenes regulations, in effect, making the product a drug. Currently, there are only two recognized drugs for hair restoration and growth and they are both government approved and regulated. While scientific researchers are looking for new drugs that are effective for those issues, the hype continues. See this post for more details.

You do not need to pile on products to have great hair or skin. You can save both time and money by using less products more effectively. See this post for more details.

Not all products are best used, when certain scalp conditions or other conditions are present. See this post.

I get feedback from people who email me asking for recommendations for hair and skin care. By far in the majority of cases, simple hair and skin care has worked best. I have heard back from friends and others alike on cosmetic mineral oil being all that has been required to solve issues with both in many cases, whether it is used with other products like less conditioner or alone. It can return hair to a frizz-free softness, shine and manageability not seen or felt in years, even if the hair has been chemically damaged and abused and it is antistatic. Allergic reactions can cause hair shedding. Cosmetic mineral oil is not a known allergen or sensitizer. Cosmetic mineral oil is a natural product that has been purified. It is safe to use and does not clog pores.

"Chemical-free" cosmetics are not possible, since everything contains chemicals. It is a matter of whether the chemicals are safe to use in cosmetics. Not all are in the quantities used in a number of products. Safety also depends on where and how the product is made and preserved and whether regulations in place have been applied. Some countries do not have stringent cosmetic regulations. Some cosmetic products at first escape notification and inspection and later can be put on government advisories, as in this post, or as in the FDA Press Announcement linked below are seized and removed from the market.

While government regulations and actions taken regarding cosmetics and their safety are being improved, the allegation often made by cosmetic marketers, that consumers are unprotected by regulations in place is patently false. What is important to help regulations be enforced is consumer reporting of adverse effects and advertising claims, that go beyond what is regulated. Reporting can help others, by preventing them from having the problems you experienced. That is not restricted to informing the appropriate government agencies.

It is not a good idea, when you have a serious scalp or skin problem that needs medically qualified attention, to seek treatment advice via the Internet. The best advice you can get is to inform your doctor or dermatologist about everything you are using and may have used to self-medicate, which is vital to help them and you get to the source of a problem. A number of natural products are known allergens in scientific research literature available online and to medical professionals.

Consumers can experience allergic reactions and sensitization caused by unsuspected sources, like essential oils used in cosmetic products. Such reactions may also be caused by spice ingredients in cosmetics, even though you have not had problems with them used in small quantities, or infrequent use in food, in the past. If the doctor or dermatologist is unhelpful, get another medically qualified opinion. To me, a good medically qualified practitioner keeps up with the latest medical research and opinions, is willing to discuss treatment options with you and make you aware of possible side effects.

You can research information as well, that you can bring to your doctor or dermatologist's attention and ask questions. Do not be afraid to do so, as you ultimately decide what you are going to do and you are in charge of your health. However, self-medicating is not the way to go when medically qualified help is needed. There is a growing number of unscrupulous vendors, only too willing to help you for a price, that can be far too dear to pay.

The majority of cosmetics on the market are safe and are kept so by government regulations, as well as proper manufacturing and marketing practices, by reputable cosmetic companies. You can make a substantial contribution to that. By simply reporting complete details to your doctor or dermatologist and government agencies, you can protect others and yourself, from future cosmetic-related problems.

See Also
This forum thread, this one and this one
Newspaper article 2012
FDA Press Announcement 2012
Natural Standard Article on the FDA Press Anouncement
Alternative Medicine: Mayo Clinic 2011
Essential Oils and Allergic Reactions: Mayo Clinic 2011
Essential Oils and Dermatitis: Research Review 2012
Spices: Allergies and Cosmetics 2012
ACAAI: Newsroom 2012
Abstract 2011
Contact Allergy: Ginger 2011
Spice Allergies: Occurrence 2007
Spices: Contact Allergies 2002
Lead in lipstick: FDA 2012
Lead in food products: FDA 2011
Sulfates and preservatives 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Coconut Oil: Response To Email Questions On Comedogenicity, Shelf Life And Rancidity

While coconut oil can be a great oil to use, there can be a few issues with it. It is considered to be comedogenic, including fractionated coconut oil, on a number of online lists for cosmetic ingredients, supported here, and here regarding acne. Lauric acid is stated to be comedogenic on several such lists as well.

Regarding coconut oil going rancid, in spite of its shelf life being touted as long and it can be depending on the type of processing, shelf life is about unopened oil. Once opened, it depends on how the oil is used, possible contamination and how it is stored. In spite of a number of vendors saying it needs no special storage, there are numerous reports online of various brands of virgin coconut oil becoming rancid or going bad, even the more costly ones. Virgin coconut oil can become rancid.

I store unopened virgin coconut oil in a cool, dark cupboard, away from any heat source and moisture. That linked information on storage is fairly standard for the most part and can be found on several reputable websites that go into detail on the topic. I keep virgin coconut oil in the fridge after opening it, to be on the safe side. I use it in food. For oil shampoo, I scraped off what I needed with a clean spoon, put it into a small plastic scoop to mix with shampoo and melted it, by running warm water on the sides of the scoop and then tilted it, to warm the bottom of the scoop. That worked in less than 30 seconds or so. For use in food, I place the oil jar from the fridge into the same storage cupboard until the coconut oil has softened, spoon out what I need and put the rest back in the fridge.

With any cosmetic, or products for cosmetic use, I do not dip my fingers into a container. I use a clean implement, like a small plastic spoon or spatula made for such use, or in the case of coconut oil, a metal teaspoon, to avoid contamination, even if my hands are just washed. To me, it is a precautionary habit now. Years ago, I had a cream eye shadow palette become contaminated after continuous use with my fingers for application, instead of an applicator and I had a resulting problem with a minor eye lid infection.

I have read quite a few reports on forums and elsewhere online, about coconut oil smelling bad, when it has been used on hair, after a period of time, between hair washes, while in the jar, it may have looked, tasted and smelled perfectly fine. To me, either the coconut oil was close to going rancid, or the conditions once on the hair, promoted that happening. For such conditions, See this blog post.

A comment about coconut oil used topically for treating acne, with results being different seasonally can be found in response to this very interesting article, with a video, on "bio nanotechnology"and lauric acid. The comment supports the information in the blog post, linked above.
Update June 4, 2013. That comment is now gone. The gist of it was that while pure coconut oil worked well otherwise, it had the opposite effect on acne during the summer.

See Also this blog post.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lipoid Pneumonia And Oils: Important Health Information

Lipoid pneumonia is sometimes referred to online as a reason for not using cosmetic or food grade USP/BP mineral oil. I have extensively researched scientific literature on the subject and here are the results.

I first wrote about the topic in this blog post.
"Of the types of oils that can be aspirated, animal oil causes more problems than vegetable oil, which causes more than mineral oil."  
More details on oils and lipoid pneumonia can be found here

The abstract for the lip gloss reference, dated 1984, in other study references can be found here. While there is a second reference here for ChapStick, dated 1972, neither the full text nor an abstract for it is available online. The use of any formulation of lip balm, lipstick or lip gloss on a regular basis has not been reported in recent case studies in research articles, that I have seen for lipoid pneumonia. Here is an overview of lipoid pneumonia, dated 2010, that contains details not in the other links. It does not take the following into account.

This article dated 2005, this one dated 2008, this one, dated 2009, and this one dated 2010. They further illustrate that in a number of cultures, while mineral oil may be recognized to be a cause of lipoid pneumonia because it has been more publicized and studied more rigorously, vegetable and animal oils are still considered to be safe used as remedies for a number of conditions and traditional practices. That is simply not true and the evidence supports this fact.

Mineral oil like any other oil needs to be used with safety in mind. The fact is that any oil can be aspirated or taken into the lungs, by those with an impaired or temporarily impaired swallow response. Giving an oil by mouth, or by other methods to the very young, or the use of one by older individuals, the two most vulnerable categories for such a response can have serious medical consequences. However, the causes of lipoid pneumonia are not restricted to taking oils by mouth directly, or the other methods described in the links above.

Lipoid pneumonia caused by silicone injection for cosmetic enhancement: 2006

Lipoid pnemonia caused by silicon injection to the breast: 2010

Lipoid pneumonia, glycerin oils and Electronic Cigarettes: 2012  from here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Surprising Research On The Topical Use of Cosmetic Mineral Oil Versus Vegetable Oils

I will be adding to this post.

This research article, dated 2012 is an easy read, very well referenced and contains some surprising to me, information. Aside from vegetable oils feeding yeasts, See this blog post, their degradation once on skin can be a potentially serious issue. This information makes cosmetic mineral oil use for hair and skin even more of a better choice and again, its moisturization properties are highlighted.

While the thrust of the article concerns infants, there is information that olive oil for example can and has been reported to cause contact dermatitis. I am constantly reading about and hearing from people with scalp issues. The causes of some of those problems may in fact be the results of products used, they may not have connected to the problems. For any dandruff or suspected dandruff or other scalp conditions that cause severe symptoms, like extreme itching or worse, consulting a doctor or dermatologist is best. I do not give advice when medical intervention is required, except to recommend that if you are unhappy with your doctor or dermatologist, seek another medically qualified opinion. I like the fact that a number of the article reference abstracts are linked and can be easily viewed.

Highlights From The Above Linked Research Article Text

"Not all vegetable oils are appropriate for use on skin [118]. Vegetable oils can vary in composition ... the ratio of linoleic to oleic acid. Some vegetable oils, including certain olive, soybean, and mustard oils, can be detrimental to the integrity of the skin barrier [119]. Some unsaturated free fatty acids can act as permeation enhancers [120], an effect that may cause contact dermatitis in adults [121124]. 

In addition, many vegetable oils are unstable and degrade by hydrolysis and oxidation. Degradation can increase the likelihood of microbial growth and spoilage, especially in hot, humid environments. Cutaneous Propionibacterium acnes and Propionibacterium granulosum secrete lipases, enzymes that hydrolyze sebum triglycerides to free fatty acids [125]. By extension, Propionibacterium acnesPropionibacterium granulosum, and possibly other cutaneous bacteria may hydrolyze vegetable oils present in topicals into free fatty acids, accelerating the degradation of vegetable oils on the skin surface. ... 

Emollients that contain inert, stable ingredients such as mineral oil are preferable for use on the maturing infant skin. Mineral oil, a semiocclusive ingredient that penetrates the upper layers of the SC [126] ... is noncomedogenic [127], has a long record of safe use [128] ... unlikely to go rancid even in hot, humid climates. Mineral oil helps to enhance the skin barrier as shown by a reduction in TEWL following topical application of the oil [126]."

Properly preserved cosmetics are crucial to skin and scalp health.

"Several studies have found very high concentrations ... of microbial contaminants in consumer products that are poorly preserved or preservative-free [135136]."  

"Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)Treatment Skin Care at Home", 2016, bolding added by me, @NIAIDNews
"Lubricate or moisturize the skin two to three times a day using ointments such as petroleum jelly. Moisturizers should be free of alcohol, scents, dyes, fragrances, and other skin-irritating chemicals. A humidifier in the home also can help."  

"Patient information: Atopic dermatitis (eczema) (Beyond the Basics)"
Keep the skin hydrated", 2016, bolding added by me via @sharethis  
"best emollients ... for atopic dermatitis ... Eucerin, Cetaphil ... Nutraderm or ointments ... petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, and Vaseline"

"Systematic review ... What are the effects of different models of delivery for improving maternal and infant health outcomes for poor people in urban areas in low income and lower middle income countries?", 2012 color and bolding added by me
"the use of sunflower seed oil (albeit not as effective as Aquaphor) is likely to be more sustainable as treatments costs are at a level that is much more affordable to people in Bangladesh paying out of pocket for medicine – $1.55 per month compared with $29 per month for Aquaphor (the average monthly salary is $39). There is a strong case, however, for public funding of Aquaphor, given the highly favourable cost-effectiveness ratio.

Further reading on infant mortality rates and the use of Aquaphor and sunflower seed oil: Aquaphor use resulted in a lower infant mortality rate.
World Health Organization International Bulletin 2010, bolding added by me 
"The 26% reduction in mortality with SSO ... translated to 19 deaths averted per 100 neonates" SSO is "sunflower seed oil" ... "Aquaphor reduced mortality by 32% ... 23 deaths averted ... per 100 neonates"

See Also 
Vegetable Oils and Animal Fats | Emergency Response | US EPA", 2016@EPA
"Like petroleum oils, vegetable oils and animal fats and their constituents can:
Cause devastating physical effects, such as coating animals and plants with oil and suffocating them by oxygen depletion; 
Be toxic and form toxic products; ... Form products that linger in the environment for many years." 

And this blog post

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Replies To Frequent Email Questions

I reply to emails privately. I reply publicly to email questions that are frequent, to help others with similar issues.

Mineral Oil Baby Oil Use
1. Only use mineral oil baby oil on damp to wet hair if your hair is dry or lacking moisture for the best results. Use it on dry as opposed to damp or wet hair, if your hair is not lacking moisture.

2.Try to find a baby oil with as few ingredients as possible, preferably just mineral oil and fragrance or without fragrance, if you are sensitive to it. In Europe, Johnson's makes one called Natusan. Any extra additives can be sensitizers, create build-up or if they are added oils, leave hair greasy easily. Vitamin E listed is a stabilizer and is not a problem.

3. If mineral oil baby oil is not easily found there are laxative mineral oils in pharmacies and Ikea makes one for wooden cutting boards. That size bottle should last a very long time. Mineral oil has an indefinite shelf life.

4. If cosmetic or USP/BP mineral oil is used, you do not need to separately use a pre-wash oil treatment to help prevent protein loss. When the mineral oil is being washed out, it helps prevent tangles and protein loss from tangling abrasion and helps reduce the amount of water that enters the hair shaft.

5. Usually, mineral oil does not need reapplication between hair washes. However, if sections of the hair have been overlooked during the initial application, redampen or rewet the areas of the hair (misting works well for this) and add the extra amount needed, if the hair is dry (lacking moisture). If the hair has a great moisture level, just apply the extra needed amount to those areas on dry hair.

Coconut Oil
1. Most fractionated coconut oils contain no to almost no lauric acid, making them unsuitable for treatments and oil shampoo, where deep penetration of the hair shaft is the goal. I have added this information as a "Note" in the appropriate posts.

2. Both refined and virgin coconut oils can be used for deep treatments and oil shampoo. It depends on the degree of refining as to the quality of the oil but expensive coconut oil is not necessary. It just needs to be pure coconut oil and food grade is perfectly fine to use. All coconut oil is processed and with a degree of heat, whether it is virgin coconut oil or not.

3. The lauric acid in coconut oil cannot penetrate through barrier ingredients that include: many polymers, waxy ingredients, natural butters and other oils used in any quantity. I do not recommend using mineral oil and oil shampoo at the same time. To get the best results from both, use them separately.

Protein Treatments And Hair Dryness
I learned these facts about protein and how added protein affects hair moisture levels from Redken research, when I worked in the cosmetic industry. Protein binds water. When protein treatments or products are used on hair, whether they are a surface coating only, or penetrating, the added protein acts like hair protein, to bind the water that is in the hair, including in the upper levels of the hair, like the cuticles. If the water content of your hair is low, it is thus further reduced. That is why moisture treatments are recommended and most often needed, after the use of protein products. Protein products and treatments in general are drying

The answer to "protein overload" is to add moisture to hair. That moisture is simply water. The fastest, easiest and most efficient way to do that is to use mineral oil alone on damp to wet hair. Mineral oil holds needed water in hair longer than other products, natural sebum, vegetable oils or silicones and can rehydrate hair. See Also this post.