I Wish I Swore by Something with a Nice Fragrance
Late fall is upon us, and the inevitable cold weather chapping and cracking of the skin on my hands has begun. The situation is exacerbated by having to wear gloves and wash my hands repeatedly at work. Proguard is a moisturizer that's available from the Fisher catalog, which is a one-stop shopping depot for general lab supplies, as well as direct from the Princeton Chem. stockroom. It is THE ONLY THING that ever keeps my skin from cracking. I use a little every time I wash my hands and it's fantastic; I even bought one for home (Jason wears gloves, too.) I hate to waste money on one of the cute little travel size packages of scented lotion for my purse because I know it'd be purely ornamental. I just throw some Proguard in a travel size case. Ideally, I'd like to be able to take my Proguard to something like The Body Shop and just blend it with any fragrance oil to use outside of lab. Come to think of it, that's something I'll have to try, but I doubt they'd help me out unless I was buying their brand of lotion. Proguard will definitely be one of the things I miss when I graduate. Maybe someone on the inside will be able to hook me up.
Just for fun, I thought I'd do a quick comparison of the main ingredients in Proguard ("P") versus my favorite scented moisturizer (we'll call it "WVS" for short, but those of you who know me should know what I'm talking about). I don't really have any sense of the percent composition of either lotion, because the ingredients are listed in descending order of percentage with no concrete numbers, as they'd be on food. I never stopped to think about moisturizer formulation before. Moisturizers have to multitask on the outermost layers of the skin, repairing damage and sealing in water, without triggering allergies or any other adverse reaction.
emollient (skin softener):
P = cetyl alcohol
WVS = cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, petroleum jelly
silicone oils: (they form a protective layer)
P = dimethicone
WVS = same
humectant (hygroscopic substance, something that absorbs water):
P = sorbitol, propylene glycol
WVS = glycerin, propylene glycol
P = diazolidinyl urea (formaldehyde-releasing goodness!), methyl and propyl paraben, tetrasodium EDTA
WVS = basically the same
the ref: Characterization and chemistry of imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea. Contact Dermatitis 2006 54, 50-58.
So all the key ingredients are nearly indistinguishable, but the scented stuff also contains vitamins, which I'm not sure would penetrate deep enough into my skin to do me any good anyway. (Anybody know about those properties for specific vitamins offhand?) The difference in cost is negligible when you factor in the size of the package and assume a little discount for buying in bulk.
With all this newfound knowledge of moisturizers, I'm not sure I buy into the Creme de la Mer craze, what with all their "miracle formula" sales pitch. "Even now, it is not entirely clear how Creme de la Mer works," they say. To me, it seems like the ingredients that work best in moisturizers are pretty cheap (dimethicone can be found in Silly Putty!). Anyhow, for some sciencey-looking stuff (fermentors!), I recommend you click the link labeled "The Miracle" and enjoy the movie.
Labels: grrl science