Saturday, December 28, 2013

Odd or Bad Odors Developing from Cosmetics

I keep getting email inquiries regarding this topic, I have replied to on Twitter as well because of their frequency.

Here are my Tweets today on the matter, expanded for this post.

Email reply: Odd odor cosmetics There is no reason a cosmetic should begin to smell odd except if it is going or has gone off, regardless of the expiry claims.

Cosmetic preservatives are supposed to accommodate consumer use, temperature fluctuations, and more. Cosmetics that contain water or infusions can go bad.

An odd or bad odor of any cosmetic can be the last sign something is wrong. Tossing it out is best, or a refund, or get a free replacement.

"When Should I Throw Out a Product?"
"And remember: If it smells funky, looks gunky or the texture has changed significantly—definitely toss it out!"

Within a reasonable time reputable cosmetic companies do not excuse, or refuse refunds, or free replacements over such matters.

I have had food well kept go off before a best before expiry date too. I have never had a problem getting a refund, or free replacement. The product was unstable.

2011 "Effective vs. Ineffective Preservation Using Water Activity*"
"This illustrates the need need to concentrate on controlling and preventing microbial contamination during manufacturing."

The point is that you should be able to count on a cosmetic not to go off well before keeping it too long becomes a hazard.

"Challenges Persist in Working with Green Materials in Beauty Product Development"
"Stability also is a major issue, with some green preservative systems leading to discoloration and/or odor changes."

"The preservative wars"
“No single preservative is equally effective against all types of microorganisms” ... Although synthetic preservatives bear the brunt of criticism from anti-preservative groups, natural preservatives are not free from controversy." 

The topic of "all natural" cosmetics and the preservation of cosmetics is not a simple one. What side of the preservative wars am I on? Cosmetics must be safe to use. I am on the side of reputable evidence-based information with history.

Email Reply: Why did I say with history? From
See the paragraph starting with "While consumers tend to view" and the one after it under "Going natural has its own challenges" To be clear, I side with the first of the two paragraphs.

Peer-reviewed evidence-based science is used to re-evaluate cosmetic ingredients and levels used in cosmetics as needed, with continuing research.

Note: the 2nd paragraph "some studies have reported adverse effects of natural preservatives, including allergic reactions, early puberty, and cancer".

Ongoing reputable scientific research "in context" is very important!

The 2nd paragraph comments make no sense to me without reputable, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to support them. And by those same comments,
"The data haven’t been presented to scientific committees and papers haven’t been published"

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Important Alert - Fake (illicit) Alcohol Consumption - Dangerous, Can be Deadly

It is potentially everywhere in the world these days, whether "imported" or smuggled, or homemade and it can kill! Fake alcohol needs publicity to warn potential customers of the risks. I Tweeted more about it, after reading and Retweeting the first article below.

"Fake vodka 'can kill you' warning"

Sometimes it takes a face and name to get the message across regarding how devastating, and serious this can be, anywhere!
"Cheznye Emmons: British backpacker, 23, dies after drinking poisoned alcohol in Indonesia"

"Seizures of fake alcohol increase fivefold in two years"

"New Jersey restaurants caught selling fake alcohol"

"Dangers of Illicit Alcohol, Canada"

"A Killer Hangover: China’s Problem with Fake Alcohol"

"methanol poisoning, 2013"

"Bootleggers sentenced to 90 years in prison in Turkey"

"Methanol poisoning claims 19 lives in central Europe"

Beer is counterfeited too but safety procedures for producing it are not observed.
"Heineken ‘absolutely on top’ of fake beer threat after Vietnam gang bust"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Update on Last Post Information

I Retweeted this today on Twitter.
"Cautionary reminder re: herbal supplements, Skip the Supplements, via , ,

New York Times Article, 2013, quote
"when parents in our hospital still want to use products whose quality can’t be assured, we ask them to sign a waiver ... the supplement may be dangerous, and that most have not been studied for their effectiveness."

My Tweet on it.

"Consumers & doctors not completely on their own. There is oversight w/limitations as stated. Many people take unneeded supplements."

The fact that many companies violate the regulations of what oversight there is and the statistics in that article are not heartening, makes the issue that much more serious.

Supplements may not be necessary. That is why dietary supplementation, or supplements used to medicate, should be discussed with a qualified medical doctor, especially where children are concerned. There can be risks, or side effects outside of those for dosage and other cautions, given what has been revealed lately.

The news on this topic is spreading. To me, it is not spreading fast enough!

Added: My response also in part to an email on natural product safety on Twitter, shortened there.

I think more people need to understand that: 1."Chemical-free" only exists in bad marketing. Everything contains chemicals.
2. By no means are natural products necessarily safer than drugs, especially with the amount of fraud, unproven drug claims, and mislabeling of products still happening now.

Added today, December 19, 2013, directly from my Twitter account:
Study finds vitamin pills have 'limited benefit' - Health News - NHS Choices -

"Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements"

"Effects of vitamin D supplements on bone mineral density: a systematic review and meta-analysis", 2013
"use of vitamin D for osteoporosis prevention without specific risk factors ... vitamin D deficiency seems to be inappropriate."

The Mayo Clinic has been saying this for a while now. Current, (2014)

Note use of the word may regarding study conclusions. What are the health benefits of honey? - Medical News Today:

I am all for natural product use without hype or fraud or promoted "miracles". New and better research will validate some health claims made or not. It is about the quality of the research, and whether the risks outweigh any benefits of a specific product.

What I am against is false and misleading claims for: health products, systems, foods and cosmetics. There is lot of that in the marketplace today.

I will not support bad marketing that exists only to make money, and creates health risks. There are too many people who have too little money to spend as it is and need qualified medical help.


Regarding honey and infants, see the botulism links in this blog post,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What You can Read Here Too

From my Twitter account in paragraphs for easier reading as a blog post. Someone said they like the "activist" in me. I suppose I am one. I support a number of causes on Twitter: anti-human trafficking; no bullying; anti-abuse human, and animal; pro-education, human rights, and equality for all; accessible, affordable food, and medicine for all; and civility in all discussions. I debunk cosmetic, alternative products, food, supplements, and therapy marketing claims, and Tweet current, reputable source information on side effects, and precautions regarding products. I support all indie art forms. 

Note: The mention of animals dying is about rhino horn, and other animal parts erroneously used for medical applications, as they are unproven to work for such conditions but are claimed to in marketing. The animals are poached, and game wardens have also been killed in the process. What is relevant here is below, with correct grammar, explanation, and added quotes. To get everything within 140 characters on Twitter sentences get shortened. 

Most researchers are cautious in research conclusions because both safety and efficacy are important. A botanical may be safe but it has to work! Ethical researchers use and no doubt peer reviewers demand, use of words like may regarding conclusions for good reasons. Outcomes need to be repeated.

What started the above?

An alternative to statins in some treatments?, 2013 Not yet! "extensive clinical studies are required in larger numbers
Cont: of patients to establish the efficacy and safety of P. emblica in the management of endothelial dysfunction and hyperlipidemia."

From the full text,
"Quality control is one of the important factors during evaluation of any herbal product. Care needs to be taken to ensure that the bioactive ingredients of the product are intact. The test product used in the present study comprised a highly standardized ..."

And if botanicals do prove to be alternatives to established drugs, the constituents that are the mechanisms required will become drugs.

"New concerns about the safety and quality of herbal supplements", 2013
"number of drugs we use today are derived from, or based on, chemicals originally found in nature. ... The benefit of drug products over herbs is the reproducibility of effects, which starts with isolating and purifying the active ingredient. The next step is manufacturing a dosage that results in consistency in absorption and standard and predictable dosages."

Botanicals can have variances for a number of reasons. If it were as simple as some claim, illnesses and diseases still prevalent would not exist. New research can reveal risks, or side effects in both drugs and botanicals. There is ongoing science to make all proper medication safer, and work better. A number of alternative natural products can and do have serious side effects, and precautions you may not be aware of until it is too late.

I do not endorse any belief system or practice that precludes needed, qualified medical care. I do not support unproven medical claims. 
I do not support unproven cosmetic new drug claims that violate government marketing regulations, causing people to waste their money.

"Warning Letters, - Health Fraud", 2013

"DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products", 2013
"the industry suffers from unethical activities by some of the manufacturers, which includes false advertising, product substitution, contamination and use of fillers." 

I am pro-consumer education, and that comes from reputable sources which I regularly Tweet, that I recommend be discussed with qualified medical doctors. I am disgusted by misinformation on the Internet, and elsewhere that is there only for profit but can harm people too.

People and animals needlessly die, and people can become ill and die, or 
have conditions worsen because of the greed of others. That is an affront to me. Wanting to believe in a romanticized past that bad marketing promotes does not make products, or systems, or beliefs work. Diseases from the past are still here today.

Reputable science will validate traditional therapies or not. Most are not validated. That does not mean botanicals are not good for some applications. Ironically, the same bad marketers are quick to use unsubstantiated scientific studies to promote their goals, yet rail against scientific study reviews, or better studies, that do not support their claims. You cannot have it both ways!

Many consumers are ignorant about products and therapies. They can be victims of unscrupulous, inaccurate, misleading marketing. I present current, reputable information people can read for themselves.

"Internet Marketing of Herbal Products", 2003, and still applicable today  
"Consumers may be misled by vendors' claims that herbal products can treat, prevent, diagnose, or cure specific diseases, despite regulations prohibiting such statements." 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Science and Natural Product Safety

I said it in 2009,

"Traditional use of a natural product does not signify its safety."

It still applies today. Tradition alone is not a test of product efficacy either. Topical use of natural products can affect health too, as toxic constituents can be absorbed in some cases by intact skin.

"Comfrey (Symphytum spp.)", 2013

The hepatoxic, carcinogenic "alkaloids may also be absorbed through intact skin" Note: Grade B uses require "further" or "additional" research to "confirm" results. See also this post.

"Hepatotoxic Botanicals - An Evidence-based Systematic Review", 2013 *Note: Margosa oil is Neem oil, bolding added by me
"The hepatotoxicity of herbs was extensively acknowledged. ... Further scientific studies with high and good quality are needed to identify toxic compounds and understand the exact mechanism of hepatotoxicity-induced by herbs."
Table 1 lists the botanicals discussed in detail, Pages 402-404. Just: control f, type 402, and hit enter to access it quickly (you have to scroll up a bit to start at the Table beginning). A control f keyword or number search is a great way to find, or check if something you are looking for is in a long document. If what you are looking for is in the document more than once, hitting enter repeatedly will take you to all locations.
*Update: For neem, (aka margosa, Azadirachta indica, A. indica), See also this post and this one.

If you use natural henna, it may be a good idea to keep it safe from your pets, to protect their health.
"Hemolytic anemia after ingestion of the natural hair dye Lawsonia inermis (henna) in a dog.", 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Research on Hair Restoration or Growth, 2013

I mentioned new hair growth research in my Update blog post dated November 14, 2013. I Tweeted about it that day. If you missed it, it can be a challenge to find now. I keep my own Twitter archive to access research I find, as well as keep separate files for it.

Here is the study abstract, - Full text is available too!

More about the study can be found here,

The study abstract was not available online at the time the above article and others about the study were written. I prefer to see what is written in a study or abstract, as well as what is written about it, before I comment on it.

The following is from my Twitter account, and expanded on here.

The new research explains a lot in my opinion, and why herbal products that seemed promising in rodent studies did not translate to human results.

I wrote about one such product in 2008, h but urged caution on results even then. And sure enough I have since heard from people who have tried the product in various versions and mixes with no hair growth results.

Eclipta alba showed promise after results on mice in 2009,

Eclipta alba has still NOT been proven to increase hair growth in humans. Animal testing continues. 


Email Reply: Eclipta alba study
Yes, it is often not noted. The studies are done on concentrated extracts of certain fractions of plants. And when and IF such extracts work - they will be regulated as DRUGS for human use - with safety protocols in place.

Ginger did not work on human hair growth here, just the opposite. 
There are those who sell herbal products based on early rodent studies, single human studies, and traditions which have not borne out in later research. That is purely about money! Cosmetic products enhance appearance, moisturize, condition, and can add color. Don't expect more because of misleading or false advertising, which are violations of marketing regulations.

It is not that some herbal products are not helpful used cosmetically. However, with no repeated reputable scientific evidence, marketing claims are restricted. That applies to claims about body functions like promoting or stimulating hair growth, which are drug claims. 

That also applies to anti-ageing cosmetic marketing claims,

2016, Bolding of text by me
"drug claims cited ... wrinkle removal, dandruff treatment, hair restoration, and eyelash growth."

Different countries have similar if not the same marketing claim restrictions, designed to protect consumers. They apply to natural oils said to promote, stimulate, or encourage hair growth too.