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Why am I recommending a beauty products blog?

December 11, 2011 4 comments

Recently I was introduced to a blog called FutureDerm, where one Nicki Zevola reviews beauty products. And I want to recommend her blog to anyone who cares about hair and skin products. I will use three of her recent posts to illustrate why I’m recommending it.

1) In this post about SPF makeup, she explains why the SPF rating on the product label doesn’t match its performance in real life:

…scientists test facial powders to determine SPF in a manner mandated by the FDA, assuming that 2mg of product will be used per cm2 of skin. The average face is about 600cm2 (although that varies from person to person, of course), meaning that a person needs to apply about 1.2g of facial powder to get the SPF stated on the product’s label. However, most women only apply about 0.085g of powder at a time – fourteen times less than you need to get the SPF listed on the package!

2) On whether retinol creams are likely to break down over time:

Other studies, such as this 2004 study in the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, have shown retinol also becomes unstable in the presence of too much oxygen.  So both light and air cause retinol to break down into an oxidized species.

After a month of use, your retinol cream will undoubtedly have less potency than when it is first opened.  That’s just the nature of the beast, sorry.  However, if your retinol cream contains other antioxidants, is encapsulated in liposomes, or packaged in a light-protective container, then your retinol will have degraded far less than otherwise. … I would also add that an airtight pump, like in Green Cream or Skinceuticals Retinol Creams, are excellent choices.

3) In this review of a Proactiv mask, she addresses the ingredients and why they might be effective at improving skin:

Kaolin, a hydrated silicate of aluminum, has been established as an effective adsorbent for hundreds of years.  Kaolin has long been used to treat skin erythema, eczema, and inflammatory skin disorders.  It is an adsorbent ingredient that has been proven to absorb excess oil on the skin, as mentioned in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  In fact, kaolin is so adsorbent makes me hesitant to recommend this to anyone with dry skin!

Sulfur is an important mineral component of vitamin B, collagen, keratin, and several amino acids.  According to The Encyclopedia of Skin and Skin Disorders, sulfur is thought to slow bacterial growth as it dissolves the top layer of the skin and slows oil-gland activity within the skin.

What I like about her content is that she doesn’t limit it to reviewing her experience with a product. She cites a fair amount of scientific research that ties a product’s performance to its ingredients and method of formulation. And in #2, she proposes products that address an unavoidable issue with a key ingredient. This appeals to the scientist in me, and for anyone, this makes her blog a useful repository to predict how other products with similar ingredients might function. As far as how compounds like retinol degrade, I’m familiar with that from my line of work. I love being able to read stuff like this because it expands my thinking on how the science can be extended toward designing cool and useful products. Yes, even cosmetics.

And she keeps the FutureDerm blog going while handling the little side gig of being a medical student at Pitt. Well done.

(Picture from UK’s Telegraph)

A Real-Life Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man” ?

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment


If you have seen the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” ads, like the one above, you might have thought at some point, “It would be pretty cool if this guy actually existed.” Well, stay thirsty, my friends: thanks to random Wikipedia-ing, I have found one such man existed in real life.

His biography…

Porfirio Rubirosa Ariza , (January 22, 1909 – July 5, 1965) was a Dominican diplomat, polo player and race car driver who competed in the 1950 and 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was best known as an international playboy for his jet setting lifestyle and legendary prowess with women.

Including a totally outlandish “Chuck Norris”-style fact… Read more…

Categories: Heh, On the web Tags:

It Will Cost You [VIDEO]

July 21, 2010 Leave a comment

This piece is brilliant but evokes sadness for a future that may yet come to pass.

Fabian Brunsing’s public art installation “Pay & Sit: The Private Bench” imagines a dystopian tomorrow in which even the most quotidian of conveniences — resting a moment on a park bench — have become soulless objects of enterprise.  (from The Daily What via Andrew Sullivan)

Here in Sweden, such conveniences have already been monetized: at the Stockholm and Göteborg train stations, access to individual restrooms requires depositing 10 kr into the coin slot.

Categories: On the web

Give amazing presentations even with Powerpoint.

February 11, 2010 4 comments

Previously, I pointed you to what Steve Jobs does in making awesome presentations.  As I’ve read more on presentations using visual aids, I’ve come across a couple blogs on how to get the most out of Powerpoint for your talks.  I point you to a couple example posts on each blog.

“Takahashi method” – on Presentation Zen

“What’s wrong with templates?” – Presentation Advisors (impressively, only one guy)

There are countless ways to incorporate PPT in a presentation, and the optimal way will vary with the nature of the presentation.  These blogs have so many ideas, I will definitely have fun trying to work different elements into my talks, which will be a challenge since science talks are usually so data/visual-heavy.

Become famous—but not for your verbal tics.

February 2, 2010 1 comment

On “How I Met Your Mother” the character Robin, anchor of an early-morning talk show, thinks her show is doing really well because a lot of people watch it, including students of her friend Ted.  In actuality…

College kids: “We watch it for the drinking game.  You have to drink every time she says But, um…

I never thought verbal tics and filler words could be the subject of sitcom tv, but they do a pretty good job with it.  Link to episode; start watching around the 9-minute mark. [Update: the link might no longer work.]

(My filler word is like but I’ve gotten better at using it less, thanks to the Ah-Counter at our toastmasters meetings pointing out how often I’m using it.)

Categories: On the web, Speaking Tags: ,

This is amazing. Use it.

January 5, 2010 1 comment

Go here to see a slideshow on “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.”  Then try to incorporate some of those tips the next time you give a presentation, especially if its a powerpoint.

(H/T Harman.)

How I paid 62 cents for a brand new hardcover bestseller.

October 9, 2009 2 comments

I went to Borders tonight because I had $15 in Borders Bucks that needed to be spent this month before they expired.

Retail price of book: $25.95

-Apply 40% off coupon-

Subtotal: $15.57

-Apply Borders Bucks-

Subtotal: $0.57

TN 9.25% Sales Tax: $0.05

Total: $0.62

Saving money is one of my interests, but what does it have to do with nanotechnology research? Read more…

Categories: In the lab, Money, On the web Tags: , ,
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