Bendy Investigates: The Trouble With Coconut Oil

The Trouble With Coconut OilCoconut oil. You must have lived under a rock for the last 5 years or so if you haven’t been told of its alleged magical properties. People have used it for everything, and not just in their recipes. Rubbing into their skin, hair and lips for such purposes as removing make-up,  moisturising, teeth whitening, hair oil, an alternative to eye cream or as a lip balm.

Coconut oil is not as innocent or beneficial as it may at first seem though. I’m going to tell you my experience and then give you the science. Continue reading

Bendy Investigates: Black Masks and Blackheads

investigates500If you’ve been on social media in the last few months you will almost certainly have come across this trend for a ‘black mask’. The mask is supposed to literally pull out blackheads and blockages from your pores.

It has spread across YouTube, Instagram and Facebook beauty groups like a nasty black fungus, attacking the faces of the unwary. Continue reading

Bendy Investigates: Why Exfoliate?

Manual Exfoliants

Exfoliation, a practice said to have been invented by the ancient Egyptians, is included in pretty much all facials and is the process of removing dead skin cells and any other unwanted debris that cling to the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin).

Why Exfoliate?

Regular exfoliation is an important part of maintaining healthy skin that both looks and feels great.

Anatomy of the SkinThe skin undergoes a natural cell turnover process.

New skin cells are continually generated at the basal layer (stratum germinativum) of the epidermis. These are slowly pushed upwards onto the layer that we can see; the ‘horny layer’ or stratum corneum. Continue reading

Bendy Investigates: The Truth About Eye Creams

Bendy InvestigatesEye creams, gels and serums – we’ve all heard the promises they make and been told we need them from an early age. There are dozens of products aimed at the eye area in stores and more being released all of the time. But do we really need them?

Women, and more recently men too, worry about ageing for various reasons. The eye area is one of the areas in which we show many signs of the passage of time.
It’s true that the skin around our eyes is thinner and slightly more fragile than elsewhere on the face. It’s more prone to dehydration, and thus quicker to show the signs of age and fatigue. Continue reading

Bendy Investigates: What is Collagen?

investigates500We often hear skin creams and treatments making claims about collagen and claims are made about dietary collagen supplements. But what exactly is it?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is the substance that holds the whole body together. It is found in the bones, teeth, muscles, skin and tendons, and even our hair where it forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure. This is why when collagen production is disrupted in some way as it is in those with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Osteogenesis Imperfecta (more commonly known as brittle bone disease) it causes such wide ranging and disabling symptoms.

There are at least sixteen different types of collagen but types I-V make up the majority of the body. In the majority of collagen types, the molecules are packed together to form very similar long thin fibrils (very fine fibres). Type I collagen is particularly strong is found in the bones and teeth, this is the form affected in Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

Collagen in Skincare

In the middle layer of the skin – the dermis – collagen helps form a fibrous network, upon which new cells can grow. This collagen network naturally declines with age and is also thought to change shape, which reduces the structural integrity of the skin leading to sagging and the formation of lines and wrinkles.
mythMany brands have jumped on the collagen bandwagon and produced products containing collagen. Everything from gels to creams and powders, claim to rejuvenate skin and fill wrinkles. However, despite the glossy marketing of these products collagen molecules themselves are simply too big to be absorbed through the skin.If any benefits are derived from these lotions and potions it is most likely to be from the moisturising components of the formulation or perhaps something like hyaluronic acid.
You can look after your skin and protect it’s collagen by not smoking, consuming too much sugar, and being sure to wear your SPF when out in the sun.

factCollagen is however used successfully in more invasive cosmetic procedures such as dermal fillers. These are injections of collagen which can improve the contours of the skin and fill out any depressions. Light therapy at certain wavelengths is also thought to help stimulate collagen production and is used to treat scarring and stretch marks.
Collagen is also used in the medical field as a healing aid for burns and in reconstructive surgeries.

Can’t You Just Take Collagen Supplements?

This is something that gets asked a lot but there is a very simple reason why it won’t work. Collagen as a molecule is too large to be absorbed whole through the gut as well as through the skin, so in order for a supplement to be worthwhile taking the collagen must be broken down into smaller chunks at which point you are in fact supplementing the amino acids required for building collagen, not collagen its self. Since the bodies of those of us with collagen related syndromes can only make the collagens they have the ‘recipe’ for, this is what they will make from these amino acids. They are selling you extremely over-priced gelatin.
Trials have found no benefit to arthritis sufferers when taking these supplements and of course they don’t even have the problem of their body producing faulty collagen.

collagenI hope you’ve found this topic as interesting as I did, it was nice for me that there was some crossover between the beauty/skin care aspects here as well as the EDS related parts plus I got to do a bit of myth de-bunking. My favourite!

If you have any questions of additions do pop them in the comments, I’d love to read them.