Cosmetics: burst your bubble: bacterial growth and hygiene

A confession to make

I’m a young woman with a bunch of flaws, one of them is my love for makeup. On the other hand, I’m also a science student, the combination seems rare but it really isn’t. Lately there has been a lot of ‘rumble in the beauty jungle’ about germs, while the germaphobia has been around for a while now in modern society (I especially noticed this during the time I have spent in the USA, hand sanitiser everywhere) there has never been much talk about cosmetics and the possible bacterial growth occurring in them. Because of the stir this caused lately, I’ve decided to look into the matter myself. SO, keep on reading even if you are somebody who never touches makeup, since this is about cosmetics in general and don’t lie, you use them as well.

The production of cosmetics

In most cosmetics preservatives can be found, this makes their shelf life longer, thus longer useable. This prevents the growth of bacteria or fungi, but a simple oil-based product can also count on its oils as a preservative. The concentration and amount of the preservative which is added depends upon the product. Well known preservatives are parabens, benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, formaldehyde and tetra sodium EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid). Most products will contain some of the preservatives mentioned above, if you buy preservative free products be aware that they expire quicker, and you have to watch out for signs of expiration.

About preservatives

Parabens have caused a stir for a while now, I did some research and there is still no proof that they are actually harmful, the FDA keeps investigating under the ‘better safe than sorry’ motto, which is logical. Parabens are derived from PHBA an acid found in many fruits and vegetables. They do a good job at keeping your products fresh!

So why the uproar?

It all started in the nillies, 2OO4 to be exact, A doctor in England reported that 18 out of 20 breast cancer tissue samples contained parabens. Parabens can mimic the actions of oestrogen, and oestrogen can enhance tumour growth, this was *of course* picked up the mainstream media, drawing the conclusion that parabens cause breast cancer.

So where did they go wrong in their thinking?

No evidence was found that the parabens had caused the tumour or made it grow, a tumour has a lot of blood passing through (they demand a big blood supply) so everything that is in your blood can be found there in higher concentrations, this is quite logical. So, whatever is in your blood can be found in your tumour and maybe even at a higher concentration. The doctor even had to make a statement that these conclusions were false and that it was not proven that they were harmful.

It did trigger a lot of research, but the consensus is still that parabens get metabolised and leave your body, no harm done.

So why the paraben free products?

They are not made for the very small minority of people with a possible allergy to parabens. There is nothing smarter for a business than to jump on the band wagon of mass hysteria. It sells so they make it.

Formaldehyde

This is an organic compound, it occurs naturally in some foods, they slightly alter it for its use as a preservative to formalin. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen for people (causing cancer) but don’t start to freak out just yet. Chemistry is all about the concentration of things, apple pits are toxic, but not if you only swallow two. The same principle counts for formaldehyde. The allowed concentration is regulated and no more than 5% formaldehyde can be used in cosmetics, this concentration is safe.

What factors can affect the shelf life and bacterial growth?

  1. A product gets older, so do the preservatives that are contained in it, the preservatives can break down, causing the product to be more susceptible to fungi and bacteria.
  2. Your fingers are a bacterial fiesta, do not dip your fingers in your cosmetics before you have washed them, it would be even better to avoid any finger dipping.
  3. Mixtures of water and oil can start to sperate, making them unusable.
  4. Exposure to moisture makes your cosmetics more susceptible too, the same with temperature changes and sunlight.

Can a product be contaminated right from the start?

Yes, but in most ‘first world countries’ this is quite rare, a few reasons this may occur:

  • Contaminated raw materials, water or other ingredients.
  • Poor manufacturing conditions.
  • Ingredients that encourage growth of microorganisms, without an effective preservative system. this is something we might be seeing again soon with the rising trend in products without preservatives.
  • Packaging that doesn’t protect a product adequately.
  • Poor shipping or storage conditions.

The law

There are no real laws around the expiration of cosmetics so use your common sense, a 10 year old opened cream might not be the best plan. If the texture, smell or looks are different from the original product, it’s a sign that the product has gone off. Some products will stay good more than a year after the expected expiration, others might have gone off before the date.

What does science say?

Let’s start with a small test by Dr Paul Matewele, Senior Lecturer in the School of Human Sciences and expert in microbiology and immunology, the test was ordered by online cosmetics retailer escentual.

5 beauty products were send in by women (a very small sample, I know).

4 of them were expired if you follow some thumb rules (more about that later).

All five contained unsafe levels of possibly harmful bacteria.

4 of them tested positive for Enterococcus faecalis. this can cause multiple infections to humans including meningitis, especially dangerous for new born babies.

Other bacteria found, and possible infections possibly caused by it: Eubacterium (can cause vaginosis), Aeromonas (can cause gastroenteritis and infected wounds) Staphylococcus epidermidis (antibiotic resistant bug, can be harmful for people with implants etc.) Propionibacterium (can cause acne) and Enterobacter (can cause respiratory and urinary tract infections).

Of course, This test had a very small sample group, but I’ll show you more.

If I have freaked you out by now, no worries actual illness because of makeup is not too common, we all have lovely immune systems and for most of us that will do the trick, sadly, I’m not one of them, jeej me.

I’ll describe the abstract from another study

Another test used 91 cosmetics with all kinds of different textures (emulsions, pastes etc.).

They examined the products before during and after use to test the preservatives used.

An excerpt from the study’s abstract:

AIM: To evaluate the microbial contamination of 91 cosmetics (23 o/w emulsions, 47 tensiolytes, 21 aqueous pastes) in three different states of use (intact, in-use, ending product) and the protection efficacy of the preservative systems most frequently used in the analysed cosmetic formulations.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Total bacterial count, isolation and identification of pathogenic isolates were performed on the collected cosmetics. About 10.6% of tensiolytes (13.5% bath foam, 6.7% shampoo, 10% liquid soaps) were contaminated by Staphylococcus warneri, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas putida. The efficacy of the preservative systems of two cosmetic products, tested against standard micro-organisms (Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 4338 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027) and two isolates from cosmetics in this study (S. epidermidis and P. putida), satisfied the Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Fragrance Association and Official Italian Pharmacopeia criteria, while only one tested cosmetic respected the Rapid Challenge Test criterion.

CONCLUSIONS: Contaminated cosmetic products are relatively uncommon, but some products, unable to suppress the growth of several micro-organisms, represent a potential health hazard.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The challenge test may be performed not only during the preparation of the preservative system in the intact cosmetics, but also be used to evaluate the protection efficacy during their use.

thumb rules

There are thousands of different thumb rules on the internet surrounding the expiration date of cosmetics, and most of them are put on the internet by… beauty companies or makeup sites, what a shocker. While some of these thumb rules simply follow common sense other are ridiculous, please don’t throw away a product just because you dipped your finger into that powder once. I’ll give you some tips along with some FDA approved tips

  • eye-area products expire quickly, if an eye area product like mascara becomes dry, throw it away do not add water or saliva to it, it’s better to buy a new mascara than to buy yourself a pretty eye infection. throw away your mascara if you had an eye infection after all even high-end mascaras are no more than 50 bucks, your eyes are worth more than that.
  • Do not share makeup if possible, unless you clean it and the applicators very well.
  • Do not put store testers on your face, best not to use them at all but oh well, we’ve all been there.
  • Store your cosmetics in a dry, dark area with the containers closed, make sure the temperature is not to high, a bathroom shelf is not ideal actually…
  • wash your hands before using cosmetics: creams, makeup…
  • don’t put your dirty fingers in your cosmetics if you can avoid it, wash your hands or use an applicator and a spatula.
  • If you use a brush for your makeup every day, clean it at least once a week (I give them a quick wipe down every time after I used them and wash them once a week, your skin will be grateful).
  • don’t double dip: finger dip, applying to the lips, another finger dip, applying to the lips, you can see where that goes wrong (guilty).
  • if the smell looks colour or texture of a product changes, throw it away.

Extra: how to clean your makeup

Since I’m an immunocompromised person I tend to pay a lot of attention to this, skin infection is not new to me but it’s better since I clean my makeup and brushes often.

Everyday:

After I used my brushes I give them a quick wipe down with brush wipes (makeup remover wipes are also fine I think) but the brush wipes are cheaper over here.

Every week: I clean my brushes with a brush cleaner diluted with water, you can make it yourself quite easily I imagine, but again the ingredients are more expensive than the brush cleaner over here. I have 16 brushes it takes 10 minutes.

Every month

I think about which makeup I used this month and pick them out, I spray them (package and product) I use disinfectant alcohol 70% from hansaplast but really any brand is fine, if it has 70% alcohol and is meant for use on the skin (the chemists can sneak some out of the lab, but this advice is for the people that don’t have 5 litres of alcohol in their locker). Spray it on the product with a spray bottle and wipe it clean with a tissue, some product will be lost but it will be cleaner than it was before. This works for all powder products, for creams you have to scoop the top layer off, I’m sorry. You can spray lipsticks and wipe them down, product will be lost, but I’d rather loose product than get an infection.

Conclusion

While some products pose a health risk, most of them are safe, and even if there is a health risk most of us won’t get ill our immune system will protect us. Still a bit of caution may be needed to prevent skin issues like infections, acne… if you don’t have a good immunesystem. Disinfecting your products and brushes is not a bad idea every now and then, no need to be so frantic about it as I am (I’m crazy I know).

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think!

Sources:

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Don’t be jelly; Casting an eye over Cnidarians

Intro

Cnidarians, they are not a part of the marvel universe like asgardians. I’m terribly sorry. Cnidarians are a ‘group’ (or a phylum in this case) in biology. We can break the Cnidarians down into 4 ‘groups’: Anthozoa, Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa and Cubozoa. Let’s introduce our jelly-like friends for our trip down Cnidarian lane:

Anthozoa

 

 

 

 

In my humble opinion Anthozoa contain the most beautiful Cnidarians, they include: corals, sea anemones, sea fans, and sea pens. They are so special since they lack what we call a ‘medusa stage’, they lack the life stage most of us would describe as a jellyfish (although the difference is not that clear in some cases).

Here you can see the differences between the polyp and medusa life stage, Anthozoans don’t have a medusa stage.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor medusa stage

More about the anatomy later.

Hydrozoa

The best-known Hydrozoan will sound very contradictory if you have never heard about Hydrozoans. It is the genus Hydra, they do not have a medusa stage only a polyp stage, sorry, not sorry. But keep in mind this is more of an exception than the norm for Hydrozoans, most have a polyp and medusa stage. This group of Cnidarians are also known for their colonies like the Physalia physalis:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor portugees oorlogsschip

more commonly known as the Portuguese man o’ war. Just to be clear this is NOT a jellyfish but a siphonophore: a colony of polyps. They do have a very painful sting, but will not kill you unless you have a very severe allergic reaction, but that’s not different for wasps, is it?

So where are the ‘jellyfish’ in this group?

Let me show you!

Another ‘famous’ member of the group is Obelia, they have a medusa and polyp stadium:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor obelia

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor obelia polyp

Obelia: Medusa stage to the left, Polyp stage to the right. Both are tiny.

Scyphozoa

The group that contains most organisms that a lot of people identify as ‘jellyfish’; the ones you may have encountered on the beach, hopefully not too close. This group has a very short polyp stage and a long medusa stage. They range from 2 cm to 2 meters (diameter of their ‘bell’) Although the biggest ‘jellyfish’ (Cyanea capillata) also belongs to this group, the biggest specimen ever found had a bell diameter of 2.3 m or 7 ft 6 in. with tentacles that were 37 m long or 121.4 ft. This species is also found with much smaller proportions like a bell size of 50 cm or 20 in. So, don’t start to panic just yet, they like cold water so you can find them in the Artic and North Pacific Ocean, the North and Irish seas and around the coasts of Australia (where everything is trying to kill you, that’s just a myth by the way, not everything in Australia will try to kill you). They do live on the surface, no deeper than 20 meters. Sorry if I gave a fellow American, Australian or northern inhabitant of the earth another phobia. They mostly live in very cold water, so meeting them is not common, nor are fatal stings although they can be potentially fatal.

Cyanea capillata in the white sea, off coast of karelia, Russia.

moon jellyfish | Aurelia aurita

A more common sight of a Scyphozoan: Aurelia aurite or commonly known as the moon jellyfish.

Cubozoa

Their name is pretty straight forward, their medusa stage is formed like a cube, they are most famous for their ‘extremely venomous’- membership card, some species in this class will kill you, others won’t, some are in no way a threat. Generally, you don’t have to be scared, but have fun figuring out which species is under your foot when you get stinged. It’s not that dramatic but still be careful if you see a cubozoan, just to be sure. They hunt instead of floating around and eating what passes by like Scyphozoans.

One of the very venomous species is: Chironex fleckeri. Now guess where this fella lives?

Australia!

Small stings will not pose a threat (good lord heavens almighty thank you, or maybe just good luck eh?) But larger stings most definitely will, their tentacles reach up to three meters which makes them less obvious and harder to avoid, on the other hand it also makes the chances of large sting less significant. Around 100 deaths have occurred in northern Australia in the past hundred years.

There are a few other deadly members in the group if you are interested in these things like: Malo kingi.

Anatomy

Since I could not find very simplified schemes of cnidarian anatomy I drew a few myself, their anatomy differs between different groups, I decided to try and explain the anatomy of Hydrozoans and the main structure of a polyp (generalised). This may not be 100% accurate, these animals are a bit complicated in my opinion especially since their anatomy differs. So, I decided on drawing my own (over)simplified drawings, sorry for my lack of artistic talent.

schema poliep.PNG

So far, there is not much to say about this polyp, but I’ll still break it down for you:

  • Mesoglea: Jelly like substance between the gastrodermis and epidermis, acts as hydrostatic skeleton.
  • Gastrodermis: Serves as a lining membrane of the gastrovascular cavity.
  • Gastrovascular cavity: Digestion and nutrient transportation takes place.
  • Epidermis: protective outer layer.

hydro poliep

You can see the Hydrozoan polyp is built a little different than the ‘general’ polyp, introducing new terms such as peristome and hypostome, peristome simply means the region around the mouth and a hypostome is basically a stipe with a mouth.

medusa.PNG

  • Gonads: where the sex cells are produced.
  • Stomach: where digestion takes place.
  • Manubrium: tubular structure that contains the mouth.
  • 2 little dots above the ring channel: nerve rings.
  • Velum: has contractile properties, squeezes water out of the subumbrella while swimming.
  • They also have statocyst, which tells them what is up and down (triggered to make a stranger things joke now).

Reproduction

Since their methods of reproduction vary wildly I will only discuss one example of sexual reproduction and explain asexual ‘budding’.

Example:

Jellyfish Lifecycle and Reproduction

Life cycle of the moon jelly (Scyphozoa):

To make things simple, in the polyp stage they reproduce asexually and in the medusa stage they reproduce sexually. I’ll show you a classic budding polyp later, the picture illustrates how it looks for the ‘moon jelly’. A polyp buds and makes several disc shaped structures, each disc breaks loose and matures into a medusa, this medusa finds a partner of the opposite sex and together they reproduce forming an egg that later becomes a planula, this planula attaches itself to a substrate and becomes a polyp. Everything starts again.

Asexual reproduction

‘Budding’; how to make 2 polyps out of one.

I can explain it very easily with a drawing, so here it is:

budding.PNG

What’s for lunch?

Since I couldn’t have said it better than good old wikipedia, I’m going to use their piece on cnidarian feeding (not always good to trust but fine in this case since I knew what to look for).

Most cnidarians prey on organisms ranging in size from plankton to animals several times larger than themselves, but many obtain much of their nutrition from dinoflagellates, and a few are parasites. Many are preyed on by other animals including starfish, sea slugs, fish, turtles, and even other cnidarians. Many scleractinian corals—which form the structural foundation for coral reefs—possess polyps that are filled with symbiotic photo-synthetic zooxanthellae. (Source: Wikipedia)

Where did they come from where did they go?

The first fossils we found from cnidarians are around 580 million years old. It’s hard to find medusa. Corals are easier to find than medusa because of their exoskeleton, only so called lagerstätten can preserve soft organisms. They’ve been around for a long time and I hope it will stay that way.

Saying goodbye

I hope you enjoyed this bonus article, I’ll be back next week with an article about Mollusca!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Off the Mark Comic Strip, January 12, 2016 on GoComics.com

Bye!

Sources used:

A sluggish slime trail through the world of gastropods

Gastropods

You may have never heard this name but I’m sure you know the creatures that belong to this class. You know them as snails and slugs. Snails have shell and slugs don’t, although some slugs still have a very small internal fragment of the shell left.

Mollusca: We are family, I got all my sisters with me!

Gastropoda belong to the same group (phylum) as the squids, octopuses and nautilus (Cephalopoda), another member of this group are Bivalvia: scallops, mussels and clams.

Where do they live?

Gastropods are true all-rounders, they live in both salt and fresh water and on land.

What do they eat?

Some eat dead plants and animals, some only eat plants, some are predators and they can be vicious. Maybe that’s something you would not expect from a snail, so you might want to see this life and death situation with overly dramatic music:

This is a Cone snail, it belongs to a group called Conus, although that group is not used anymore, we will use it to simplify the matter, they are venomous, and some can even kill a human with a single sting… If you still think that all snails are cute little and slimy, sorry if I ruined it.

Anatomy

This is the simplified anatomy of a gastropod. They are more complicated than you hoped for, but I’ll try to break it down for you: Let’s go gliding!

slak 2

We’ll start at the mouth and end at the Anus – we will follow the way the digestive system takes us:

Some snails have a very special mouth, a sort of elongated snout, used for feeding. It’s called a proboscis.

slak

They also have a tongue although it is wildly different from ours, it’s called a radula and it has little teeth made of chitin (chitin is a hard polysaccharide). You can compare it to something everybody knows, it’s basically sand paper and they use it to shred their food into little pieces. There is something called a ganglion around the mouth, a ganglion is a cluster of nerves, it’s the blue ring you see on the picture above. In the stomach, they digest their food with ferments coming from the digestive gland. The smallest food particles end up in the digestive gland itself, this is where the last step of digestion takes place. As some of you may have noticed snails also have a crop. We are not going to look at the crop in detail, so let’s keep it at: it passes along the food and there is also digestion taking place.

They have a heart and blood vessels but not like ours or like squids; we have closed off vessels, their circulatory system is an open system, they don’t have a second layer of epithelium around their veins. Blood and the fluid in their body can mix, meaning their blood is unlike ours, they call this type of blood haemolymph.

If you’re still with me after all this anatomy talk, you deserve a snail hug! Buckle up because there is more anatomy to come!

The heart is of course connected to their gill or lung, depending if it’s a land or water snail (and since snails are hard customers, of course there are lots of exceptions)

Gonads are basically where they produce gametes (sperm cells or egg cells), more about that later, everything ends in their mantle cavity, there the excrements and gametes are welcomed to the world.

They also have a pair of feelers, most of them have two pairs, the upper pair has eyespots, they use them to ‘see’ although they don’t see the world in HD, it’s mostly about sensing light. They use the lower pair to smell.

Last but not least they have a foot, they use this to move around and a lot of snails can close off their shell with it.

Snails and ‘love’making

Gastropods are mostly hermaphrodites, which means they are both male and female. Some can even reproduce asexually. They can fertilize themselves. We know snails are slow, but what you didn’t know is that their love making session can last up to 12 hours! Their little shell is also of key importance to mating, the spirals in their shells need to be the same meaning a snail with a clockwise (right) shell can’t mate with a snail with an anti-clockwise (left) shell. This is a well-known fact since Jeremy the snail travelled the world to meet another left snail but was left out in the cold when another left snail turned up and was more successful with the ‘lady’. Poor Jeremy.  Maybe there is a Jack for every Jill, but not for Jeremy. Mind you this genetic mutation is rare, so on a day to day basis in snail world, their shells won’t keep them apart.

How long do they keep sliding around our world?

This depends on the species and varies between 2 to 10 years and sometimes up to 25 years, 25 years in captivity to be clear.

How big do they get?

Bigger than you expected I can say: they range from a microscopic length to an often measured 18 centimetres or 7 3/32 inch in the species Achatina achatina.

This could be the world's smallest species of snail (Credit: Credit: Barna Páll-Gergely/ Nikolett Szpisjak)

Size doesn’t matter, all snails are beautiful to me.

A special salute to our naked friends

Slugs are polyphyletic. Try saying that 10 times in row! It basically means that they have arisen multiple times throughout evolution, independent of each other, a quite logical result is that they do not all belong in one ‘group’ in biology. While you can’t see their shell some still carry the remnants inside them, it is often used to store calcium salts. They aren’t picky when it comes to food they eat plants, lichens, mushrooms, decaying animals…

I couldn’t resist adding a picture of a cute sluggie:

Northdevonfarmer flicker

A leopard slug or Limax maximus.

You snailed it!

If you glided through this whole blog with me, I salute you and thank you for reading!

If you have any questions or comments about the article, you can leave them in the comment section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Enjoy a sluggish weekend!

Drawing Of A Snail Snail Drawing – Clipart Best | Random | Pinterest | Cartoon, To

BYE!

Sources used:

  • my own memory and notes from my course in invertebrate biology
  • my textbook from Prof. Dr. Artois Tom, special thanks!
  • Biology, a global approach by Campbell & Reece

An ode to Tardigrades

A short introduction

Tardigrades, Have you ever heard of them? Tardiwhat? Tardigrades!

Tardigrades are also called ‘waterbears’, ‘bears of the moss’ and in Dutch they were given the dysphemistic name: ‘lelijke beer’ or ‘ugly bear’. They are well known to the public because of their enormous ‘cute factor’. But why exactly do we call Tardigrades bears?Apparently someone decided that they looked like eight-legged bears. Mind you, that takes some imagination:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor tardigrade cute picture

So, now that we have introduced this little fella it’s time to continue our journey through the land of Tardigrades.

Tardigreat isn’t it?

How big are they? Since that could make their ‘scary factor’ go up drastically, wouldn’t it? No worries, Tardigrades are half a millimetre long in general, although some can be a full millimetre long. In other words, they are what we call: microscopic animals. If you’re lucky you may be able to spot one with the naked eye.

For your information, Tardigrade doesn’t mean anything close to ‘bear’ it means slow stepper and when they are stepping on your microscope slide they sure as hell are slow. Can you image being put on a slippery glass plate, how quick would you be? Tardigrades aren’t that slow, they simply can’t swim, as you can see they have eight legs and each leg has a claw, in a normal place (a.k.a. not a glass plate) they can reach what I would call; a normal speed when they have something to hold on to.

Where do these lovely Tardigrades live?

You can find them all over the world in moss, leaves, soil, and Lichens is also something they like as a ‘home’. Lichens is basically a household of a Fungus and an Alga or Cyanobacterium, they help each other out to make life a little easier on themselves. But these creatures can also be found in both fresh and salt water.

What do they eat?

They eat plant cells, Algae, and small invertebrates.

Anatomy

Their anatomy is pretty straight forward; they have a mouth, a pharynx, an oesophagus, a stomach, intestines and last but not least an anus.

They can reproduce sexually or asexually ,they can also self-fertilize since some Tardigrades are hermaphrodites.

If anybody is wondering… yes, they do have a brain. This brain is dorsal (just like ours) but they have a paired ventral nervous system.

Tardigrades don’t have a circulatory or respiratory system in their body cavity like ours, it’s a type of body cavity that does the job itself. It’s called a hemocoel and it touches every cell. They are able to do their gas exchange throughout their whole body, pretty cool, right? There is a sort of fluid in that hemocoel that transports their nutrition and oxygen.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor tardigrade anatomy

Tardigrades don’t shed tears, they shed their cuticle

Tardigrades are Ecdysozoa… great so what does that mean?

Roughly, without going on too long about it, it means they have a cuticle. A cuticle is a hard and fexible shell made from proteins, you can find this outside their epidermis, it is their outer layer. They shed that cuticle every now and then and that makes them a member of the Ecdysozoa.

Imagine this: you are 8 years old standing there strapped in heavy rugby gear. Now imagine yourself 10 years later, still strapped in that same heavy rugby gear… wouldn’t work out very well, would it? That’s why Tardigrades have to shed their cuticle when they grow, otherwise they would get squished from the inside.

Be as hard as a Tard

They are considered the most likely animal to survive an apocalypse by some people and maybe they deserve that title. The Tardigrades that live on land are extremely tough, they can survive extreme temperatures (-273 degrees Celsius  or -459 degrees Fahrenheit and up to +150 degrees Celsius or +302 degrees Fahrenheit). Furthermore they can survive extreme drought , lack of oxygen and extremely salty conditions. They can also survive more than 40,000 kilopascals (400 bar) of pressure, they survive exposure to large concentration of gasses that would easily suffocate most animals. They can even handle ultra violet radiation. This was a crucial piece of information since it was proven that they can survive in space! They can survive a lot of radiation, a lot more than we can. They survive all these things because they can change to different (metabolic) states according to the situations discussed above, this also alters their appearance :

tardi states

I think we can conclude that Tardigrades are very tough animals. Their size, surviving techniques and fertilization options have only helped them to spread throughout our world. They are able to be carried by the wind,  able to self-fertilize and able to withstand the harshest situations known to mankind…

That makes them the ruler of microorganisms to me.

When we are all gone we can rest assure that the Tardigrades will be there, until then never forget:

by inprint on youtube

If you have any questions or comments you can leave them in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

‘Till next time! 

 

Sources used:

 

A love hate relationship with cosmetic products and their claims.

‘Chemical free’

2 words that drew my attention as I was watching tv.

It was an advertisment for a tonic, they claimed to be ‘chemical free’. At that point I was just stunned, as a biology student (and as most people who went through a tiny bit of highschool science) I know that there is no such thing as a chemical free tonic, even plain water is a chemical, our ‘air’ is made of a mixture of chemicals, anything and everything on our wonderful planet is made out of chemicals.

How is it possible that such advertisement can possibly work?

Cosmetic companies are known for their ‘trendy’ advertising and right now one of the trends in todays society is an irrational fear of chemistry. I’ve seen people get scared while reading the chemical composition of an apple. This is a growing problem: A lot people seem to be very concious about what they eat or what they put on their face, which is a good thing ofcourse. Researching the things you eat or put on your face is a good trait, not a bad one.

BUT

With the internet at our disposal we have received tons of information, streams of information and they never stop. Sadly there is a downside to this since a lot people seem to be having a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction online, and I have to admit sometimes it’s hard, because the tactics of the people that try to convince you of an ‘alternative fact’ can be very sly. A new education about finding good factious information online is thoroughly needed and not just for the school-going generation but for everyone who uses the internet to gather important imformation, in this case about your food and cosmetics.

Nevertheless, there is another problem. A problem with our basic scientific knowledge. In some countries like mine, some more technical educational levels in highschool never receive any chemistry, except for human reproduction and a few very basic concepts. Which makes people like my mother-in-law (a lovely lady but received very little education in highschool ) a good victim for this marketing technique, basic chemical and biological literacy is highly needed in todays society, it will  hopefully act as a shield against misinformation.

Some of this misinformation can be very confusing or hard to find out it if it is indeed misinformation

‘a collagen boosting night creme for the more mature skin, only 3,99 euros’

So good isn’t it ? What a buy? To good to be true actually!

If that product really increased the amount of collagen your skin produced then it wouldn’t be a cosmetic, it would be a drug. Chances are it was mislabeled, but the chances that it does not do what it promises are way higher, since it is not allowed for cosmetics to have such a big impact on your metabolism.

So again I sighed, I chuckled and went on with my life…

Only to realise what a giant idiot I am.. that evening while wiping off my face with a makeup remover wipe something drew my attention; my old and trusted makeup wipes (since they do not make my skin break out) had a make over, ‘city detox’ was written all over the lid. At that point I felt like an idiot. In a week  I got irritated twice by this sort of advertisement, yet there it was. I had not bought them because of the packaging claiming to be detox, but I did buy a product with a ridiculous claim.They are everywhere and hard not to buy these days. For a moment i felt a slight feeling of guilt overwhelm me. I? I should’ve know, better than to buying these things. I made them boost (and not like the collagen) their salesnumbers on this ridiculous packaging which still contains the same product if my suspicions are right.

Advertisment is advertisment and made to make things sell, their ways won’t change anytime soon. It’s up to us , the people, the consumers to change our ways: to be rational, to think, to be critical, to examine the claims they make, because being able to do a bit of researching is one of those skills that should be considered basic if you ask me.

Have a lovely silly-claim free week!