“Dry, lifeless hair can take the fun out of your life,” intones an announcer in a 1950s ad for the haircare product Brylcreem, “but you can put it back with Brylcreem—with Brylcream, a little dab will do you.” The ad might seem a little rough by 2017 sensibilities, but some 60 years later we’re still attracted to the shine promised by cosmetics and personal care products. Toothpaste companies pledge that they’ll give us blindingly white smiles, while deodorant manufacturers dangle the hope of a life without stink. The advertisements that we see and the products we buy help determine and reinforce what we view as normal.
Every cosmetics company on the planet has a product it claims will reduce wrinkles and erase the signs of aging, but researchers at MIT have developed agenuine facelift-in-a-tube with a new cream that creates an extra layer ofinvisible artificial skin to smooth out the wearer’s natural skin.
As far back as the ancient Greeks, people have documented a funny phenomenon among pregnant women: The skin on their faces sometimes changes color. Scientists never quite knew why that happened, though they suspected that it was linked to the spike in the body’s hormones during pregnancy. Now, a new study published this week in eLife found that two sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, play a key role in regulating the body’s synthesis of melanin, the substance that gives skin pigment.