Stretch marks are the devil in disguise, feeding off the bodies of millions of people around the globe. They particularly plague on pregnant women, those going through puberty and bodybuilders, leaving a constellation of faint silver scars on stomachs, thighs, biceps and behinds.
Although stretch marks are a common problem, they are still regarded with embarrassment and shame. It’s a ridiculous situation, considering that millions of women, men and pubescent teens have them embossed into their skin, but it’s a problem that really doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Despite the advances in medicines and the mass desire to eradicate stretch marks forever, there is no procedure in place which can completely erase them – unless you commit to some extreme surgery. So, when a woman logged on to Reddit to announce that she’d found a way to banish the pesky problem once and for all, people stopped what they were doing to listen. The woman took to Reddit to upload a photograph of her thighs, one of which presents a collection of blemishes, the other nothing but smooth skin. “Before&After – Only used dermaroller on left thigh,” reads the caption. For those unclear on what a dermaroller is, it is a needle-covered roller used to poke tiny holes in your skin to provoke your collagen into acting. This production of collagen in turn plumps out the skin, smoothing wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. If that is the case, then why haven’t you heard for a dermaroller before? Well, the chances are you have, but while the results of a dermaroller are good, they’re not complete miracle workers. The results that this Reddit user experienced after using the dermaroller for such a short period of time, is extremely rare. “I got kind of obsessed with the dermaroller and rolled those marks, old scars, and am now working on fine lines on my face,” the user wrote, before advising others who were considering the treatment to “be exacting in your hygiene (alcohol on your skin, alcohol then dish soap to clean the roller before and after sessions).” “It is okay to roll gently the first time if you are anxious. It feels like sunburn for the rest of the night. [Apply] sunscreen and wait times are paramount,” she warns, before recommending that people wait “six weeks between rolls and absolutely no less.” The user went on to explain how she bought the dermaroller from eBay after researching for treatment in her local area and finding there was nothing available. The video below gives a very honest and first-hand experience on how to use a dermaroller:
However, it is advisable for others thinking of doing the same to read into the potential risks of a dermaroller for there can be hazards from using it, especially if you don’t take particular care. If the results are as true as the user claims them to be, then it is certainly an answer to many people’s prayers. Or y’know, we could all learn to accept stretchmarks considering that most people have them? Until that time comes, enjoy your dermaroller and use responsibly!
Its the holiday season; a time of glittery dresses, indoor evergreens, expanding waistlines, and, of course, gift giving. According to market research, sales of beauty products escalate through November and into December, suggesting that the desire to stay beautiful and young is on the top of our Christmas lists. But the rampant messaging of a multi-billion-dollar industry saturated with claims about youth, lightening, smoothing and so on makes purchasing products a thorny task. Whats the thoughtful gift-giver to do? This was not always the case, in the past, claims the quest for skin-deep eternal youth was more straightforward, if markedly more repulsive.
To begin with one of the more socially acceptable products, milk was an apparent mainstay of the ancient Egyptian toilette. According to legend, Cleopatra used the milk of seven hundred donkeys in the place of bath water. The regime seems to have worked, as she managed to bed both Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony and was described by Cassius Dio as a woman of surpassing beauty who was brilliant to look on. Dr. Jessica Baron, a historian of science, told The Daily Beast that Roman women thought milk from an ass (the animal) would whiten their skin and make it softer. In ancient thought milk was connected to birth, new life, and sustenance and, thus, was a good tool for preserving ones youth. Modern scientists, on the other hand, would identify the lactic acid in milk as an (admittedly mild) exfoliant, which can perhaps explain the brilliance of Cleopatras skin.
If you were trying to recreate this at home you should be sure to include honey and rose petals in the mix. Cleopatra, like many ancient Greek women, would use rose water as a kind of hydrator. To this day there are all kinds of beauty products that rely upon the hydrating effects of milk and roses.
Of course, if you were looking for more potent cleansers and moisturizers, fats were a more effective solution. The medic Hippocrates notes over sixty uses for olive oil in his writings, but by far the most common was the use of olive oil to moisturize and protect the skin. Both ancient Greek athletes and the patrons of the Roman baths used olive oil as a cleanser and moisturizer. They would begin by lathering themselves in oil and using a strigil (a curved blade almost always made of metal) to scrape off the dirt, sweat, and oil before bathing. At the Roman baths, the dirt and skin-cell laden oil from mens bodies would often be collected for use as a conditioner on womens hair. The sweat-laden oil from gladiators was especially desirable in female beauty products. The routine was so important that some ancient tombs and burial sites include strigils and bottles of oil. Think of it as the first step in your double cleanse routine.
Olive oil was the most common cleanser-hydrator, but there were plenty of other fat-based options. The hydrating properties of beeswax continues to be used today, but animal fats were the go-to ingredients for ancient soap. Babylonians were making soap from animal fats around 2800 BCE, and similar techniques can be noted among ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians (the Phoenicians used goats tallow and wood ashes in theirs) before the turn of the millenium.
For ladies of the medieval period, animal fats, and hogs fat in particular, were a popular choice as a face mask to restore lustre to the skin. The prescribed ointment included cowslips (a yellow flower), hog grease (likely retrieved from the kitchen), and water.
By the Victorian period medics had developed more invasive techniques for penetrating the skin. The invention of the needle saw Austrian surgeon Robert Gersuny experiment with the first dermal fillers. In the late 1800s dermal fillers were made of mineral oil (Vaseline) and paraffin and were primarily used to correct defects. Dr. Robert Schwarcz, a New York based OculoFacial Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon told The Daily Beast that while the principle of filler is still in use today, the wax used in the Victorian era had a tendency to migrate to other parts of the body and to form hard unattractive clumps that could get infected. The popularity of the procedure came to an abrupt halt in the 1920s in part because Gladys Deacon, the then-Duchess of Marlborough and a famous society beauty in her time, was horribly disfigured by an injection of hot wax into her nose. Paraffin and beeswax continue to be used in modern beauty regimes but only externally as hand softeners and in lip balm.
Modern fillers are usually made of hyaluronic acid, but the real gold standard for anti-aging is not fillers but surgery, something that wasnt attempted on any scale until the nineteenth century. But ancient Egyptians and modern surgeons agree that beauty and aging begin with the eyes and, more precisely, the eyelids. What the Egyptians saw as the windows to the soul, Schwarcz told me that what the Egyptians called the windows to the soul are the first thing people look at, making a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) the first port of call in the modern world and an aspirational dream in the ancient one.
Ancient Roman soap (and face masks) used urine as its principle active lightening ingredient. The urine was collected from public latrines and pots that functioned as urinals. Urine was so important in Roman cleansing technologies including the tanning industry and laundering clothes– that the Roman emperor Vespasian imposed a tax on it. Arguably the most disgusting use of urine was as a teeth whitener. The Romans believed that it would halt the aging process by preventing tooth decay. As a result, they used it as a mouthwash and mixed it with pumice to make toothpaste. It was so effective that it continued to be used in toothpaste into the eighteenth century. The best (and most effective) urine, should you care, was believed to be from Portugal.
For the especially devoted ancient Greek or Roman looking for a little more heat in their mudbath, alligator and crocodile excrement was a vital ingredient. Before you get judgmental about this, bear in mind that snail slime is all the rage these days and there is a New York spa that specializes in a bird poop facial. All I can say is that Romans found it very effective.
To return to the category of ancient treatments that sound pleasant, fruit was an ancient and effective tool in the pursuit of eternal youth. The ancient Egyptians used strawberries to cure acne, sun spots, and other skin complaints. The Romans thought that strawberries could be used to cure all kinds of medical symptoms, from halitosis to fevers to diseases of the blood. And Dioscordes first century C.E. De Materia Medica gives all kinds of advice on fruit, seeds, tree leaves, roots in youth-preserving skincare. By the eighteenth century, when the craze for youth-suggesting-paleness extended to putting lead on ones skin, ladies of leisure used a toner made out of strawberries and wine to help keep their complexions pale. Madame Tallien, a key figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, is rumoured to have bathed in fresh strawberry juice. Given the volume of juice that would have been needed we can only assume that she (like most people of her time) did not bathe every day.
The idea that fruits lighten and brighten lies is at the root of many modern beauty products; a number of exfoliants include fruit and even strawberry seeds; and fruit acids (Vitamin C serums, over-the-counter Retinols, prescription strength Retin-A, and so on) form a key component of numerous modern treatments. Not all citrus-based treatments were painless: in the 19th century lemon and orange juice-based eye drops were used to brighten the proverbial windows to the soul. So, if youre experiencing some redness after using retinols it could be worse: you could be putting citric acid directly into your eye.
Sadly, I dont mean drinking it. Unless you are actually old already, in which case Galen recommends that you drink red wine to heat the blood, preserve youthfulness, and most importantly, increase your virility and sexual performance. As a more preventative method, the effects of wine and sake have long been recognized as beneficial for softening the skin. Cleopatra (who clearly had an obsession with beauty, not that Im judging) also took wine baths, and theres a whole mythology that accompanies the youthful hands of those women who work in the sake industry. Apparently, it was purely by chance that the scientists who isolated pitera (the chief ingredient in cult product SK-II) noticed the soft and youthful hands of aged sake brewers. Vinotherapy (I did not make that up) is experiencing something of a renaissance at the moment on account of resveratrol, a chemical present in red wine which is supposed to have anti-aging properties. You can buy capsules, take wine-baths at Caudalie spas, or, if you want to be all-natural, drink a glass of red wine.
Thus far, most of these products are fairly easy to acquire. Others, however, are more difficult to obtain. According to legend, the sixteenth-century Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathor de Ecsed, the serial killer more commonly known as the Blood Countess, bathed in the blood of virgins in order to preserve her youth and beauty. The Countesss story, alluded to in modern horror movies like Hostel 2 (2007), embodies a principle that is at once ancient and modern: the idea that blood contains the power to preserve youth and beauty. Ancient medics claimed that the blood of gladiators and virgins had special medicinal properties, but modern medicine operates with the same assumptions. It is not only tyrants and trend setters like Kim Jong Il and Lady Gaga who are reported to use blood (in the case of the dictator, virgin blood) to foster health and beauty.
Today, beauty by blood has been thoroughly democratized. There are diets tailored to specific blood types. The Swiss face cream Neocutiss debuted to much controversy primarily because it is derived from cultured foetal cells. Other blood-based beauty treatments are more overt. Kim Kardashian sparked a trend for Vampire facials, in which blood drawn from the clients arm is processed and used to aerate the face, while the more expensive facial filler termed the Vampire face-lift is cultured from the patients own blood.
If you dont have the money or stomach for blood, foetal cells, human urine, or animal fats, theres always sex and its by-products. A number of ancient Greek and Roman medics hypothesized that semen was concentrated blood, making it an especially potent emission for the preservation of life. If a young woman did not have sex at all she was liable to suffer from a disease called, somewhat self-explanatorily, the Disease of the Virgins. The name was coined in the sixteenth century, and the ailment could leave you wasting away with unattractive greenish pale skin. Completely baseless modern urban legend maintains that ingesting human semen is good for the skin and will prevent acne. Popular opinion maintains that for centuries the Chinese used human semen in facials to ward off aging.
To this day the semen of animals continues to be a much-hyped ingredient in expensive beauty treatments: for example, organically produced bull semen forms the base of an intense hair conditioning treatment at an exclusive hairdressers in London.
Some of these may be less desirable (or ethical) today, but hey, at least theyre organic.
But if youre considering gifting beauty treatments this holiday season, perhaps stick to something that can be returned for store credit.
Pimples and all!
On Tuesday, a Twitter fan came to the supermodel’s rescue, and praised the 22-year-old’s red carpet swag despite her facial blemishes. As seen here:
As we reported in 2015, the catwalk diva has been open about her skin troubles, and reveals she had “such bad acne when [she] was younger.” Kenny wrote on her website:
“Where it really impacted me was how self-conscious I became about it. It completely ruined my self-esteem. I wouldn’t even look at people when I talked to them… I felt like such an outcast; when I spoke, it was with my hand covering my face. Sure, I had crushes in high school, but I wouldn’t even think about looking at guys.”
Fortunately, Kylie Jenner‘s sister doesn’t take criticism personally, and has developed confidence and a positive self-image.
“Slowly, I’m working towards not caring and I’m just in so much of a better place about it all now that I’m older… I realized that it’s a part of life for some people and it doesn’t define who you are.”
Acne or no acne, Kendall is FIERCE![Image via Regina Wagner/Future Image/WENN.]
Those of us who have had to deal with acne really understand how a breakout can destroy our confidence. This is especially true for Brianna Lopez. Her job puts her skin into the spotlight every day she works.
Brianna is a model from Los Angeles with a severe case of acne. In order to progress in her industry, a person has to be practically flawless, which is why Brianna has come up with a genius way to clear her skin and keep it that way. After trying a lot of products and medications, she soon found out that natural remedies and homemade masks work the best, admitting that a lot of the things she uses on her face are everyday household items you can buy at the grocery store.
After much success, Brianna decided to share before and after pictures of her skin on Instagram and the photos went viral. People were so impressed with her transformation that Brianna created a step-by-step instructional video, which has now been viewed over 16000 times! Her skincare routine involves six simple steps. First, Brianna cleanses her skin with 100% natural jojoba oil she likes to buy from Trader Joe’s. It might sound odd to clean your face with oil, but jojoba oil can actually prevent your skin from having breakouts. Jojoba oil acts similar to the natural oils on the skin called the sebum. Sometimes these oils can be overproduced and clog pores, so by using jojoba oil, it tricks the skin into not producing any. Jojoba oil is also fantastic for removing makeup, and Brianna will sometimes repeat this step if she made up her face that day. Step two involves a homemade face mask. Brianna will whip one up using ingredients from her kitchen pantry. her favorite mask consists of raw honey, turmeric, and cinnamon. Honey and turmeric both have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, while cinnamon increases circulation to boost skin’s healthy glow. All three ingredients fight acne and make one heck of a cheap and easy, but effective, mask.
Brianna says she also likes to use masks made from sulfur or bentonite clay, too, but that the honey one is her favorite. She’ll leave it on for an hour before washing it off. Step three involves the important act of moisturizing. She likes to use Shea Terra Organics Rose Hips & Carrot Perfecting Serum and Doterra Lavender Oil. These products have essential oils that help fade acne scars, are rich in vitamins, and help stimulate new cell growth. For step four, Brianna reveals that she will spot treat her skin at night. She likes to use raw shea butter to dab on any breakout areas.
If you’re interested in Brianna’s skincare routine and want to achieve her flawless look for yourself, check out her tutorial video below:
Step five is all about sun protection. In the morning, Brianna skips the shea butter and applies an SPF 30 instead. She recommends the Raw Elements Eco Formula 30+ Lotion. Step six doesn’t actually involve putting anything on your skin at all, but rather it’s about what you put in your mouth. “Acne is almost always internal, so you need to clean their insides, and their skin will follow,” Brianna told Allure Magazine.
She likes to take herbal supplements of turmeric, milk thistle, burdock root, and neem leaf. She also admits to being a pescatarian, which means the only meat Brianna eats is fish.
Brianna also admits that it’s a good idea to skip the makeup routine now and then and just leave your face alone. “If I don’t wear makeup for a few days in a row, I just re-apply the two oils and some sunblock in the morning. I think that’s pretty much it,” she says.
Brianna claims her skin still isn’t perfect but that it has come a long way. She says she began seeing results in just one week but only got comfortable with her appearance after two and a half months. That’s still an incredibly short amount of time for such impressive results!
“I still have scarring left which I am working with a doctor to fix because to be a model you basically need to be ‘perfect,’ which no one is and I am not claiming to be perfect at all,” Brianna says.
“There are worse things that can happen to you in life than acne. But getting acne takes a really big toll on your life.”
The beauty industry is enormous. There are so many brands and products to choose from, it can feel totally overwhelming. But fear not! There are amazing beauty vloggers and bloggers out there who are always reviewing the latest product releases from both drugstore and high-end brands. Also, be sure to check out Allure’s Best of Beauty winners to see what the best beauty editors in the game are picking as their top picks.
Because nothing looks and feels better than actually sleeping for the recommended seven to eight hours.
Perfume interacts with everyone’s skin differently based on a variety of factors, such as our pH levels, which is why one perfume that smells amazing on your friend may not smell as good on you. Use 2018 to find the scent that smells great on you. It’s pretty interesting how much more confident you can feel with a few spritzes of a great smelling fragrance.
Be diligent about removing your makeup before bed. It’s best if you remove your makeup first using a cleansing balm or micellar water and then go in and wash your face with a normal cleanser to make sure your face is totally clean before you lay down to sleep. In doing so, you’ll be protecting your skin from clogged pores, breakouts, and premature aging.
Learn your skin type and tailor a routine that makes sense for it. Research products that make sense for your skin concerns, be that oiliness, dryness, redness, or breakouts. A typical skincare routine looks like this:
It doesn’t have to be intense and you don’t need to go crazy. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day will do wonders for your physical and mental health.
You’d be surprised how much bacteria will build up on your pillow, which leads to breakouts and irritated skin. Change out your pillowcases once a week to help keep your skin clear and happy.
This is all about personal preference and a little experimentation. Some will find that drugstore mascara will work just as well as high-end versions, and some will find the opposite to be true. I’ve heard some people say they’ll splurge on anything for their skin (cleanser, foundation, powder) and let the rest of their beauty products be from the drugstore. In 2018, figure out what works for you.
Not only will you be preventing breakouts, you’ll find your makeup will apply much better too. Sonia Kashuk has a great, affordable brush cleanser you can find at Target. Or if you want to splurge a little, you can use Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple face cleanser to wash your brushes, too!
I know. Everyone and their mother gives this tip, but for good reason. Water is not only amazing for you healthwise, it makes your skin look plump and glowing.
Try your hand at a cat-eye, a bold lip, or a sultry smokey eye. There are amazing makeup tutorials all over YouTube (the Pixiwoo channel is amazing) if you’re not sure where to start. Part of the fun of makeup is that you can totally transform your look by using different colors or application techniques. It’s a great way to express yourself. Plus, if you hate it, the best part of makeup is that it comes off.
They will come to learn your hair and personal style so you’ll always get a cut and color that you’ll totally love. You’ll feel confident going to the hair salon instead of dreading it because you know you won’t get a bad cut or dye job. Plus, you’ll have great conversation because you’ll actually develop a relationship with your hairstylist.
The chemicals in at-home dyes are not at all good for your hair or for your scalp. Plus, it never really turns out the way you think it will, does it? There’s a reason cosmetology school is a thing. Let the professionals dye your hair. Yes, it’s expensive but in the end, it will look and be so much better. It’s worth it.
How often you have to get your hair cut will vary based on a variety of factors such as hair texture and style (Allure has a great guide). Regularly getting your hair cut will help prevent split ends and make your hair look a ton healthier and full.
Seriously. You’ll have plumper, more hydrated skin that won’t appear dull or flaky. Plus, you’ll be fighting wrinkles. And despite what you may believe, not moisturizing will actually make acne . So do yourself a favor and find a good moisturizer and use it. Every day.
Stop shopping at fast fashion stores. In the end, you have to replace that Forever 21 crop top after, like, a wash and a half. Figure out what you wear the most, be that jeans, sweaters, tank tops, etc., and buy a high quality version of it that will last.
You don’t have to go get shellac manicures every week (that shit is expensive). Simply keep hand cream, a few colors in rotation, some emery boards, and nail polish remover at home and you can do some kickass at home mani and pedis. It really does pull together a look and makes you look a lot more groomed.
And finally, in 2018, stop using expired beauty products! A lot of people don’t know this, but beauty products actually expire. Many products will have their expiration date on their box (it will be a little jar with how many months or years it’s good for). But typically, this is how long the following products last:
In 2018, commit to taking care of yourself! It’s not vain to care about your appearance. It can really help you feel more confident and pulled together. Plus, it’s just fun. Try and implement these 18 beauty resolutions into your life in the new year. You’ll be happy you did.
“Go to Google Images right now,” says photographer Mihaela Noroc, “and search ‘beautiful women’.”
I do as she tells me. Millions of results come back.
“What do you see?” she asks. “Very sexualised images, right?”
Yes. Many of the women in the top pictures are wearing high heels and revealing clothes, and most fit into the same physical mould – young, slim, blonde, perfect skin.
“So beauty all the time is like that,” Mihaela says. “Objectifying women, treating them in a very sexualised way, which is unfortunate.
“Women are not like that. We have our stories, our struggles, our power, but we just need to be represented, because young women, they see only images like this every day, so they need to have more confidence that they can look the way they look and be considered beautiful.
“But,” she adds, “Google is us, because we are all influencing these images.”
Mihaela has just released her first photography book, Atlas of Beauty, which features 500 of her own portraits of women.
The Romanian photographer’s definition of beauty, however, appears to be that there is no definition. The women are a variety of ages, professions and backgrounds.
“People are interested in my pictures because they portray people around us, everyday people around the street,” Mihaela explains.
“Usually when we talk about beauty and women, we have this very high, unachievable way of portraying them.
“So my pictures are very natural and simple. And this is, weirdly, a surprise. Because usually we are not seen like that.”
Each of the book’s 500 portraits has a caption with information about where it was taken, and, in many cases, the subject.
The locations are varied, to put it mildly. They include Nepal, Tibet, Ethiopia, Italy, Myanmar (also known as Burma), North Korea, Germany, Mexico, India, Afghanistan, the UK, the US, and the Amazon rainforest.
Some locations, however, proved more problematic than others.
“I approach women I want to photograph on the street. I explain what my project is about. Sometimes I get yes as an answer, sometimes I get no, that really depends on the country I’m in,” she explains.
“When you go to a more conservative society, a woman is going to have a lot of pressure from society to be a certain way, and her day-to-day life is carefully watched by somebody else.
“So she’s not going to accept being photographed very easily, maybe she’s going to need permission from the male part of her family.
“In other parts of the world they are extremely careful because there might be issues concerning their safety, like in Colombia. Because they had Pablo Escobar and the mafia for so many years.
“So they say ‘OK, so you’re going to take my picture but I’m probably going to be kidnapped after that because you’re part of the mafia and you’re not who you’re saying you are’.”
She adds: “If somebody were to start this project just with men, it would be much easier, because they don’t have to ask permission from their wives, sisters or mothers.”
Mihaela says she occasionally puts pictures through Photoshop, but not for the reasons you might think.
“When you take a picture, it’s usually raw, and that means it’s very blank, like a painting, you don’t have the colours you had in the reality.
“So I try to make it as vibrant and colourful as it was in the original place. But I’m not making anyone skinnier or anything like that, never, because that’s very painful.
“Because I also suffered as a woman growing up from all kinds of difficulties, I wanted to be skinnier, look a certain way, and that was also related to the fake images I saw in day-to-day life.”
It’s safe to say Mihaela’s photography book is quite different tonally to, say, Kim Kardashian’s 2015 book of selfies.
“These days, the bloggers, the famous people of our planet have set this unachievable and fake beauty standard, and it’s very difficult for us as women to relate to that,” she says.
“Kim Kardashian has 100 million followers on her Instagram page and I have 200,000, so imagine the difference – it’s astonishing. But slowly, slowly, I think the message of natural and simple beauty will be spread around the world.”
So what’s the best piece of advice Mihaela could give to anyone keen to get into photography? Buy a good quality camera? Learn about lenses and angles?
“Buy good shoes,” she laughs, “because you’re going to walk and explore a lot.”
Seven-year-old boy suffering illness causing untreatable wounds over 80% of his body has had his skin replaced by new, genetically modified epidermis
Scientists have grown a replacement, genetically modified skin to cover almost the entire body of a seven-year-old Syrian boy who was suffering from a devastating genetic disorder.
The treatment marks a rare and striking success for the field of regenerative medicine, which has been struggling to transform futuristic-sounding science into therapies that make a difference to patients. In the latest trial, the life of the young boy whose illness had come close to killing him was transformed.
Before undergoing surgery, the boy had lost 80% of his skin, leaving him covered in untreatable, infected wounds. He was given morphine to cope with the pain and his doctors were preparing to start palliative treatment after all conventional therapies had failed.
Prof Cdric Blanpain, a stem cell scientist at the Free University of Brussels, described the work as one of the most impressive examples to date of the use of stem cells in humans. There are very few diseases that have benefitted so far, he said. This is a beautiful example of something that was unthinkable before the study. To replace and gene-correct the whole skin of a patient is just amazing.
Claire Higgins, a lecturer of bioengineering at Imperial College London, described the trial as a huge achievement and quite remarkable.
The boy, who arrived in Germany in 2013 after his family fled Syria as refugees, was suffering from a genetic disease called junctional epidermolysis bullosa, which causes the skin to become fragile and blister. By the time he came to be treated, he had lost the surface layer of skin, called the epidermis, from almost his entire body, with only the skin on his head and a patch on his left leg remaining intact.
His doctors, based at University Childrens Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum, had attempted to graft skin from his father, but the transplant had been rejected. As a last resort, the team sought the help of Italian scientists who had pioneered a technique to regenerate healthy skin in the laboratory but had never attempted to use it for such an ambitious case.
The Italian team, led by Michele De Luca at the University of Modena, had successfully grafted laboratory-grown, genetically modified skin onto small areas of the body, such as part of a leg. This is the first time that such an amount of body has been transplanted, said De Luca. He basically lost almost completely his epidermis.
The boys disease was caused by a mutation in a gene, called LAMB3, that produces a protein that anchors the epidermis to the deeper layers of skin beneath. Without this protein the skin blisters easily, causing chronic wounds and ulcers to form.
The treatment, outlined in a paper in the journal Nature, involved first taking a sample from the patients remaining healthy skin. The scientists then genetically modified these skin cells, using a virus to deliver a healthy version of the LAMB3 gene into the nuclei.
The skin contains its own supply of specialised stem cells, which allows the epidermis to be constantly renewed throughout our lives, with cells turning over roughly every month. This also allows scientists to grow grafts in culture, simply by taking a small sample.
In this case, the team grew enough skin to cover almost the entire body of the boy. During two operations in autumn 2015, the new epidermis was attached like a patchwork quilt, covering almost his entire body. Within a month, the graft had integrated into the lower layers of skin.
The genetically modified cells in the graft include specialised skin stem cells that meant once the transplant was integrated it was able to renew and sustain the healthy skin.
Once you have regenerated the epidermis, the stem cells keep making the renewal of the epidermis as in a normal [healthy person], said De Luca. All the data we have are telling us that this is going to be a stable situation.
Two years on the boy is doing well, his doctors said. His skin is healthy, he doesnt need to take medication or use ointments, he is back at school, plays football and when he gets a cut it heals normally. A potential risk of the treatment is that the introduction of genetic changes could increase the chances of skin cancer although the study found no evidence that dangerous mutations had been caused.
In the future, if the treatment is shown to be safe in the long term, scientists believe the approach could be used to treat less severe skin disorders.
What is nice about this study is the combination of gene and cell therapy together, said Higgins, whose own work focuses on skin regeneration. The success of this combined cell and gene therapy will have huge implications for the field of regenerative medicine and the treatment of genetic diseases.
Despite hundreds of thousands of babies being born on a daily basis, each and every birth is a true miracle. However, no birth quite compares to that of twins, Isabella and Gabriella Shipley.
Upon looking at the twins, the first thing you notice is their piercing doe-eyes and cheeky smiles embedded into chubby cheeks. These features distract your attention away from the fact that the two baby girls, who may have shared a womb, do not share the same skin tone. In fact, they look completely different races. Gabriella was born with darker skin than her twin sister, which has prompted many to presume that the two aren’t biologically related. This is intensified by the fact that their older sister, two-year-old, Angelina, also has lighter skin. When their mom, Clementine, began to share pictures of her adorable girls on Instagram in July, she was appalled by the barrage of ignorant messages she received. “Nicknames like Ebony and Ivory would be perfect!!” wrote one user, while another typed: “Wow black and white twins.” Clementine has been firm when responding to messages of this nature. “They’re African-American,” she writes to users who ask her what races the girls are, oblivious to the fact that they’re both of the same race. “Some people think they must be mixed but they are African-American,” she told Essence. “It really shows how amazing Black genes are since we can create such unique babies. ” The two girls have attracted a lot of attention online for their unique story, which has attracted 15,600 followers to their Instagram page since July. Despite their adorable curls and soft skin, Gabriella and Isabella have been victims of many cruel comments. However, their mother is confident that the positive outweighs the negative, and is therefore happy to keep sharing pictures of the cherubs. The two girls may look identical, apart from their skin tone, but their personalities really set them apart.
“Isabella is a calm baby and super laid back. She giggles whenever you stare at her and loves to be tickled. Gabriella started crawling at 5 months as has not stopped moving since. She a smiling ball of energy and loves to snuggle.”
Despite some questionable comments, the girls are inundated with love. “God is sooooo awesome look at this miracle,” wrote one enthusiastic user, while another burst with love, typing: “These are the prettiest babies EVER.” The adorable pair may look like duplicates of one another, but their different skin colors will mean that they will likely be having to prove that they’re sisters for the rest of their lives! Luckily, they have an incredibly supportive mother who is willing to fight for her daughter’s to be given equal opportunities at life, regardless of their skin color. In the meantime, we cannot wait to follow their unique journey on Instagram! Twins have life a little harder than the rest of the world in their formative years. Discovering that another human being, just like you, exists on the planet is difficult to process. As an example, watch these adorable twins realize that they’re identical for the first time. Their reactions aren’t what you’d expect…
Do people always assume you’re sick just because you have a pale complexion? Do you turn redder than a lobster the moment you step into the sun, even though you’re wearing an entire bottle of sunscreen? Do you struggle to find a foundation that’s white enough to match your ghostly skin colour? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then you’re sure to appreciate this funny list compiled by Bored Panda, inside which you’ll find a whole selection of problems that only pale people will understand. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!
Against the backdrop of neglected spa resorts, octogenarian tourists in white bath robes trek over a crackly, dried-out white beach, past foreboding signs that read Danger, Pits Ahead. They are here to float on the surface of this uber-saline lake nestled between Israel and Jordanwhile its still here.
Clive Lipchin, the director of the Arava Institute Center for Transboundary Water Management in southern Israel, says that those tourists, who are woefully unaware of the realities are actually swimming in evaporation ponds, made as an impromptu solution of the areas environmental catastrophe.
The Dead Sea, a lake located on the lowest spot on earth, is dying. Thousands of sinkholes have appeared in past years, shuttering all but one public beach. Dead Sea water levels are falling at an alarming five to eight feet every year.
But youd wouldnt know it from the multi-million dollar Dead Sea cosmetics industry gobbled up by tourists visiting this unique ecological spot. From the ads for mud masks, bath salts, and other healing products made from the areas raw materials, it would seem the Dead Sea is the healthiest its ever been.
Cosmetic companies, like the tourism industry and the government, are very quiet about the fact that were about to lose an international treasure, Lipchin said, who argues that such companies, with governmental and economic influence, should be making a push to offset the Dead Seas ecological loss. What theyre failing to reckon with is that once its gone, its gone for good.
The Dead Sea has a saline concentration of more than 30 percent, making it uninhabitable for sea-life. Its rich reserve of potassium, magnesium, bromide and calcium chloride has made it a top spot for healing for travelers over the centuries seeking a cure from everything from arthritis to eczema to acne. But beyond the body of water, the Dead Sea supports a diverse ecosystem of flora, fauna, and a still unknown number of unique species.
Climate change has made it more difficult for the Dead Sea to receive water from other tributaries and industrial factories have also worked to pump the Dead Sea dry. For decades, the Israeli factory known as Dead Sea Works has turned the southern part of the lake into evaporation pumps from which to extract potash, magnesium chloride, and other raw materials. Moreover, as the plant life around the Dead Sea disappears, it threatens the migration of half a billion birds who use the route to refuel in their migration from Europe to Africa and back.
Alongside factories that are producing de-icers, industrial salts, and table salts, beauty companies play a smaller, but more public role in the Dead Seas extinction. Lipchin says that Ahava, one of the largest Dead Sea cosmetics company, has faced an existential crisis as the lake has dried up. In 2015, the company was sold to a Chinese conglomerate, leaving lingering questions over its strategy vis-a-vis its diminishing source.
But Ahava and its like are also, ironically, doing well in the time of peak wellness, a relatively new market that has in recent years become a trillion-dollar business worldwide. Dead Sea cosmetics companies rely heavily on exports and its products can be found easily across American malls, where young Israelis working minimum wages, and often without proper visas, aggressively hawk the products.
They are taking part in a trend fueled by origin myth-centered beauty solutions that have been cemented into mainstream culture by new-agey phenomena like Gwyneth Paltrows Goop.com. According to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit research organization analyzing the wellness industry, the global wellness market grew 10.6 percent to $3.72 trillion from 2013 to 2015, even as the global economy shrank 3.6 percent over the same period. The institutes 2017 report found that a collective, growing awareness among a subset of (more educated and affluent) consumers that their choices convey meaning, purpose, and impact beyond their own personal gratification.
But while natural products may not be toxic to humans, humans have certainly proven toxic to nature.
The almond milk craze has left an intense ecological footprint, especially on the farms of drought-plagued California. Critics say that shampoos based on avocado oil are wasting valuable land resources as the world faces food shortages, and that high avocado prices have led to deforestation in Mexico. The mere volume of packaging for new beauty products (both natural and not) means that more plastic is littering beaches and seas, and consequently harming marine life. In Israel, Dead Sea mud masks, bath salts, and other healing products reflect a human-accelerated disaster on a site that less than ten years ago was being considered a candidate for the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East, an activist NGO that promotes environmental solutions across the region, says that industrialization of the Dead Sea has already killed a significant portion of the areas famed healing products and continues to threaten a broader, diverse, but still-understudied, ecosystem. We cant even begin to know the value of what we are losing, he says.
Environmentalists hopes were raised in 2013, when Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan announced that they would direct water from the Red Sea to replenish the Dead Seas sinking water levels. But four years later, the plan continues to be bogged down by funding, timing and political snags. In the meantime, Bromberg says, experts are trying their hardest to convince politicians and community leaders to act to save what is left of one of the worlds most dynamic environmental phenomena.
If they saw the Dead Sea now, King Herod [who made the Dead Sea his spa resort] and Cleopatra [who credited the Dead Sea for her remarkable complexion and who made various attempts to purchase and acquire the sea for Egypt] and would be turning over in their graves, he says.