Posts tagged with "Reddit"

Picture perfect: Bored during lockdown, couple constructs art gallery for pet gerbils

April 16, 2020

It’s not so much a rogue’s gallery as a rodent’s gallery. After all, what better to do when sheltering in place than to create an adorable art gallery for your pets—in this case gerbils?

London-based Marianna Benetti and her boyfriend Filippo Lorenzin, both 30 years old, constructed the miniature exhibition last week to keep their pets-and themselves—entertained during quarantine, The Good News Network reports.

Museums across Britain remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreaks, although many galleries—including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where Lorenzin works—instead are offering virtual tours for eager art enthusiasts

The tiny museum space produced by the couple is-about the size of a shoebox and has been filled with carefully curated rodent-themed takes on classic works of art—including the “Mousa Lisa”.

Benetti and Lorenzin also made mini benches, gallery assistant stools, large print guides, and a sign which read “DO NOT CHEW.”

Although both of the nine-month-old gerbils, Pandoro and Tiramisu, enjoyed browsing the gallery, they did nibble their way through one of the delicately constructed chairs.

“The original project was for a doll house, but my boyfriend proposed the idea of designing an art gallery complete with all the details,” Benetti told The Good News Network.

The model took four hours to make, and in addition to the pair ensuring that all materials used were gerbil-friendly, they made a blueprint for the design to make sure the proportions were correct for their pets.

As well as the “Mona Lisa”, Benetti and Lorenzin also drew renditions of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” and Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” for their pets.

The creative couple posted a picture of their creation on Reddit and were surprised by the reaction.

“Everyone was overwhelmingly positive. We didn’t expect such friendly feedback, and we look forward to adding more artworks to the gallery,” Benetti told the online news outlet. “It is great to see so many creative suggestions for other paintings from the community.”

If you want to follow more of there gerbil’s creative exploits, you can follow their Instagram page or YouTube channel.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

What’s the difference between a $7 hyaluronic acid and one that costs $300?

January 15, 2020

Hyaluronic acid is a skin care ingredient that is said to hydrate, plump, and protect the skin from moisture loss. Its moisturizing properties have been widely promoted—and it is trending as the key ingredient in products from drugstore and budget-friendly face cream brands like Neutrogena ($21) and cult favorite The Ordinary ($7); to prestige lines like Dr. Barbara Sturm, a brand that sells a 30 ml bottle of hyaluronic acid serum for $300.

But because you can pick it up, literally, at thousands of outlets, consumers are find it challenging to understand which products give the best results, The Huffington Post reports.

What’s a skincare junkie to do?

First, says HuffPost, consult such online beauty communities as Reddit and Makeup Alley, as well as the Sephora message boards, where buyers share what is and isn’t working for them.

One of the top questions on the message boards discussing hyaluronic acid is, “Is it worth it?” Does it really make a difference whether you purchase a $7 product or upgrade to a $300 serum? HuffPost talked to dermatologists to find out.

“Hyaluronic acid is a natural sugar found in our skin,”  Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told the news source. “It is what provides bounce and plumpness to the skin. Think of it like the stuffing in your mattress. As a humectant, hyaluronic acid is essentially a sponge that binds to 1,000 times its weight in water.”

But, even though the humectant is a powerhouse, that doesn’t mean it can do it all.

When it comes to fully moisturizing and plumping your skin, “hyaluronic acid alone might not do the job,” Victoria Fu, who is half of the chemist duo at skin care brand Chemist Confessions told HuffPost. “Look for products that pair with other types of hydrators such as glycerin, glycols, urea, panthenol, [or] sodium PCA. One ingredient won’t solve all your moisturizing troubles—skin hydration is a team effort.”

What drives up the cost of hyaluronic acids? A few thing—among them: molecular weight, added ingredients, and product packaging.

“There are some studies that suggest smaller molecular weight HA can penetrate somewhat better and can have long-term anti-aging benefits on top of hydration,” Fu said. The Ordinary’s $7 HA formula combines low, medium, and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, while Dr. Sturm’s $300 HA uses short- and long-chain molecules (low and high weight).

For those of us who weren’t paying attention in chemistry class, Zeichner kindly breaks the science down for us. “Smaller molecules can better penetrate through the outer skin layer to give more of a plumping effect,” the doctor told HuffPost, explaining that the smaller molecules can go farther into the skin.

“Long-chain HA, because of its large size, does not penetrate well through the skin and provides a hydrating effect to the outer skin’s layer.” Zeichner says many over-the-counter products stick to high and medium molecular weights because “there is some data that low molecular weight HA may actually promote inflammation in the skin.”

Fu told HuffPost that molecular size “can certainly drive up the cost of the product. However, it also heavily depends on concentration, support ingredients or any sort of special testing that was done on the HA product.”

Does the percentage of HA in a product play a role in pricing, like it does with retinol, glycolic acid. and vitamin C?

“It’s hard for us personally to shell out $300 for a hyaluronic acid serum,” Lu and Fu told HuffPost. Speaking to the Dr. Barbara Sturm product, they said, “While having exotic antioxidants like purslane can certainly make it more effective than the average economical HA product, we’re just not sure it’s $300-worth effective.”

Michelle Wong, a chemist behind the blog Lab Muffin, uses her social media platforms to share the science behind product development while giving tips on which products are worth buying. Wong agrees that “hyaluronic acid products do not need to be very expensive,” adding, “the pricing of almost all beauty products are based on marketing and consumer perception rather than the actual cost of ingredients.”

But Lu recommends that readers “[look] … for products that have gone through actual clinical testing” if you are in the market for a prestige-priced HA. “Clinical testing means that a brand paid to test their product on a group of subjects with a third party clinic and take measurements to show actual efficacy. We think this is a great and meaningful way to substantiate marketing claims,” Fu told HuffPost.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Brain tingles: First study of its kind reveals physiological benefits of ASMR

April 5, 2019

It’s a phenomenon that is trending on social media, but is rarely discussed elsewhere. Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is described by most who experience it as a tingling, warm, relaxing sensation that starts in your brain and spreads throughout your body. It is triggered by a variety of subtle stimuli, such as whispering or the sound of crinkling paper—and researchers are now finding that it may benefit both mental and physical health.

In the first study of its kind into the physiological underpinnings of ASMR, researchers from the UK’s University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University have found that people who experience the phenomenon have significantly reduced heart rates compared to those who do not.

And it truly is a phenomenon: Today, there are more than 13 million ASMR-triggering videos on YouTube—and they range in subject matter from  medical examinations to haircuts and massages, to (strangely enough) towel-folding tutorials. Viewers say they watch the videos to relax, relieve stress, or sleep better.

Dr. Giulia Poerio, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology, comments, “Lots of people report experiencing ASMR since childhood and awareness of the sensation has risen dramatically over the past decade due to internet sites such as YouTube and Reddit.

She notes, “Our studies show that ASMR videos do, indeed, have the relaxing effect [that has been] anecdotally reported— but only in people who experience the feeling.”

In one experiment, for example, the researchers studied the physiological changes that occurred when participants watched two different ASMR videos and one control (non-ASMR) video in a laboratory setting. Half of those who took part in the study were recruited because they identified as experiencing ASMR, while the other half were recruited as age- and gender-matched controls who did not experience ASMR.

The results demonstrated that those who experience ASMR showed significantly greater reductions in their heart rates when watching ASMR videos (an average decrease of 3.14 beats per minute) compared to those who do not. They also showed significant increases in positive emotions including relaxation and feelings of social connection.

Dr. Poerio remarked, “What’s interesting is that the average reductions in heart rate experienced by our ASMR participants was comparable to other research findings on the physiological effects of stress-reduction techniques such as music and mindfulness.”

In another experiment, over 1,000 participants completed an online survey after watching a selection of ASMR and control (non-ASMR) video clips—stating how frequently they experienced ‘tingles’ and their emotional response to each video. Those who experience ASMR were also asked also answered questions about their common ASMR triggers and general experiences of ASMR.

Dr. Tom Hostler, a lecturer in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “The online study found that people who get ASMR reported feeling both more excited and more calm, as well as less stressed and less sad after watching ASMR videos, compared to people who don’t get ASMR.

“It has been widely anecdotally reported that ASMR helps people to relax, but ours is the first published experiment to show these changes in emotion. We also showed that it wasn’t just watching videos in general that had this effect, as ASMR participants didn’t respond to the ‘control’ videos we showed them in the same way.”

The paper, “More than a feeling: Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is characterized by reliable changes in affect and physiology” has been published in the journal, PLOS One

Research contact:  g.poerio@sheffield.ac.uk

Who knew that dryer sheets can cause acne?

September 27, 2018

Using well-laundered, unsullied linens and towels can help you to avoid acne and eczema, right? This seems like a no-brainer, but it comes with a big caveat. You actually may be aggravating your skin condition, if you are throwing your linens into the dryer with products that infuse them with fabric softener. .

It’s true: Another seemingly harmless household product is out to ruin your skin, Prevention magazine reported on September 19.

In a Reddit post first spotted by MarieClaire.com that now has gone viral, one contributor who goes by the username of /regissss said, “PSA: Dryer sheets can cause acne”—sending everyone who ever has had zits into a frantic tailspin.

The Reddit contributor went on to say that, although she has been eliminating products from her routine for the last year in an effort to find the cause of her breakouts—including switching  laundry products to sensitive-skin–friendly detergents and dryer sheets—she still has been battling acne.

“Finally,” she wrote, “about a month ago, I cut out everything except All Free and Clear detergent and white vinegar as softener from my laundry routine.”. The result? Surprisingly clear skin.

“I went from having a new pimple or two a day to close to zero pimples per day almost overnight,” /Regissss claimed; “And within two weeks, my skin had almost completely cleared up.” It’s been a month, she says and her skin only has continued to improve.

“My skin’s recovery has been dramatic since then, and my dermatologist confirmed that dryer sheets can be a huge trigger for some people,” she continued in the post.

“Apparently, [dryer sheets] coat fabric (including your pillowcases) in a thin layer of wax and grease, which can leach into your pores at night while you sweat. This is why they’re so greasy when you put them in but so dry when you take them out.”

A dermatologist interviewed for WebMD also names dryer sheets as one of the 12 most common skin irritants. “You see rashes in places that are covered by clothing and relative sparing where the clothing is not,” says Amy Newburger, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Scarsdale, New York., author of the book Looking Good at Any Age and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). “That’s a big giveaway.”

So if you’ve been struggling with breakouts, rashes, and/or sensitivity and have tried virtually everything, try cutting out your dryer sheets for a month and see how your skin responds. You can use wool dryer balls to curb static, and as for the softness? Well, maybe the fact that your skin could be happier will make up for your slightly scratchier sheets.

Research contact: mediarelations@aad.org