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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Emerging Science Note/Smart Cosmetics

Air Date: Week of

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Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on research that may lead to pollution smart cosmetics.


CURWOOD: Just ahead: the hi-tech hunt for signs of brain damage from tiny amounts of lead. First, this Note on Emerging Science from Jennifer Chu.


CHU: If smog alerts are getting in the way of your beauty regimen, a French cosmetics company has an answer. L’Oreal has teamed up with the European Space Agency to design pollution-smart skin-care products. The idea is to cut down on pollution’s effects on hair and skin. The company plans to create a line of moisturizers, face creams, and shampoos that are tailor-made for the world’s most polluted cities.

To do that, L’Oreal’s scientists and beauty experts are studying daily maps of the ESA’s orbiting satellite. Its measurements of the earth’s air, land and sea are normally used to track rainforest destruction and melting ice caps. Now cosmetic scientists will use that satellite’s data on ozone, carbon monoxide, and ultraviolet radiation to study pollution in cities like London and Los Angeles.

So far, L’Oreal scientists have observed that volunteers living in highly polluted areas of Mexico City have exhibited increased oxidation of the sebum – or oily skin. The company hopes to someday design a line of cosmetics that will adapt to the changing levels of pollution from day to day.

And that’s this week’s Note on Emerging Science. I’m Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

[MUSIC: Massive Attack Vs. Mad Professor “Bumper Ball Dub (Karmacoma) ” NO PROTECTION (Circa - 1995)]



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