February Science Wrap 23

Science Hub

February Science Wrap 23

22 February 2023

Ginni Mansberg

This month Daniel and I went to London for the inaugural Menopause in Aesthetics conference.

It was just a one-day conference but combined everything I love - menopause and skin in one place. We met some incredible people and heard some wonderful talks. 

There were quite a few trending products and procedures that were being touted at the conference. Some of them were rooted in science and evidence and then there were the others. 

1. Sorry, it’s a no to collagen supplements

The hype at the conference around collagen supplements was huge.

To me, I couldn’t understand this because the role of your guts is to break down proteins (which includes collagen that are huge complex proteins) into tiny amino acids that are then absorbed into the blood stream from where they can be used by your body to make muscles, nerves, blood vessels, bone cells etc plus YOUR own collagen.

Just like your body doesn’t have the recipe to reconstitute an egg back into egg protein, it can’t reconstitute collagen from fish or cows in your body because it lacks the genes to do so.

So, yet another study on this caught my eye in the journal, Dermatology and Therapy.

The women, all over 60 were randomized to receive either oral collagen peptides or placebo once a day for 6 months AND also randomized to receive either topical hydrolyzed collagen serum or a placebo serum) to their arms for 6 months.

The authors measured dermal collagen and elastin content and epidermal thickness. They found no objective increases from any of the topical or oral treatments in the thickness of the epidermis or density of collagen and elastin. On the contrary, total collagen was reduced in the oral collagen drinkers.

On the plus side up to 90% of the women said they thought their skin looked better. That’s possibly because they were using a serum on the skin for hydration. Regardless, the authors advise us to give all of these products a miss. 

2. Itchy Scalp (from a physical journal so no link!!)

On the plane I was lucky enough to have some awesome reading material; The Dermatology Collection from Medicine Today. Physical only, not online. Quaint but nice!

Lots of skin conditions give people an itchy scalp.

The most common causes are seborrheic dermatitis (itchy, inflamed skin any place where there are lots of oil glands such as he scalp, ears, chest and skin folds) and psoriasis.

Seborrheic dermatitis causes dandruff. Psoriasis rarely happens on the scalp alone. If someone can have a look at your scalp, there are areas of redness on the scalp with a silvery looking scale on the top.

We shouldn’t forget lice, which you can see along with their eggs on the hairs close to the scalp. It’s worth getting a diagnosis because the treatment differs.

For seborrheic dermatitis you’ll need antidandruff shampoos (often containing selenium), maybe with tar and salicylic acid.

For psoriasis the salicylic acid shampoos are ok in mild cases, but in nastier cases, a steroid lotion will usually do the trick. 

3. Different types of facial pigmentation

I was intrigued by a Japanese study published in the journal, Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine comparing women from 2 different areas of Japan, one from Northern Japan where there is less sun exposure as it’s colder so women stay indoors more and Southern Japan where they tend to spend more time outdoors.

Here’s what they found; Southerners had more pigmentation on the face and that pigmentation was darker. BUT when it came to large pigmentation spots, especially on the cheeks, there was no difference between the two groups, leading the authors to conclude that those BIG age spots, especially on the cheeks are as much genetic as sun exposure driven.

My mum and I have the same spot on our right cheeks! Mine is almost gone. I use all the evidence based pigmentation products as well as something new we will be releasing soon. Can’t wait to share it with you!!

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Anyway, that's a wrap for February, see you next month! 

Ginni x