Beautiful Stripes: When healthcare meets beauty

  • Science & Technology
  • Monday, 05 Nov 2018

Woman with long black hair

Just last month I was talking about how health was sneaking into skincare. And it is here already, seen on the shelves of a pharmacy.

A whole bunch of Pure Vitamin C products in the form of lotions, masks, brightening creams and the works are now available. That’s pretty progressive for our beauty industry, and at least, the products seem scientifically-founded, unlike how some cultures turn to “natural” ingredients to beautify their skin.

There’s the fascination with birds’ nests, which comes from the saliva of swiftlets, and apart from supposed health benefits, the Chinese also believe it has a “cooling” effect internally and promotes youthful skin.

Guilinggao, or tortoise jelly, is said to be obtained from the turtle’s powdered plastron (bottom shell), and often consumed as a dessert. It is believed to be good for circulation and healthy complexion, though modern commercial jellies are made from a concoction of herbs and probably have no turtle elements.

A Spanish doctor was apparently the one who discovered the benefits of snail slime in skincare, but it was the Koreans who harnessed this ingredient by making it into a commercial cosmetic production.

I’m a little slow in the beauty news front as it seems peach gum or resin, the latest craze to hit the beauty market, has been on the scene for the last two years. Also dubbed “tears of peach blossom, the gum is obtained from the bark of the peach tree, soaked for hours and then double boiled as a “tong sui” (sweet soupy dessert). Said to contain collagen that’s good for firming and rejuvenating skin, this sounds the least intimidating compared with the other mentioned traditional preparations. It tastes quite pleasant, akin to jelly, easily bought from Chinese medical halls and isn’t expensive.

We often look to beauty websites for the latest trends but when I chanced upon this article, I was quite annoyed at what it was proffering. It gave a list of “hairstyles that can make you look cheap” and the advice, I felt, was silly and judgmental.

For example, if you wear a ponytail low, it’s considered cheap, but if you pull it slightly higher, suddenly you look sophisticated. A doughnut bun which was all the rage once, is now “too sleek” and instead, a simple, loose bun is recommended.

While it’s one thing to get suggestions on how to glam up your look, who decides why a certain hairstyle combed higher or lower can suddenly cheapen your whole appearance?

Yes, the Internet has made us all hungry for quick, bite-size news, but surely, there is more sensible information out there, rather than just churning out something for the sake of filling space? Definitely eye roll-worthy, and yeah, I’m showing my age.

Even as I’m typing this month’s thoughts, my right forefinger is wrapped up and being supported by a splint.

I suffered an injury to my hand way back in January. Despite the pain and swelling at the joint, after consulting various specialists, everyone concurred that it was just a bad sprain and would heal in a couple of months.

The months went by and then some, and the digit didn’t get better. Last month, I finally stumbled upon the right specialist, thanks to a friend’s recommendation – a hand micro-surgeon. Apparently, there is only a handful (forgive the pun) of them in Malaysia, and after some tests, said that I had a torn ligament.

Since earlier diagnosis said it was a sprain, whatever physio and massage I had probably only made it worse. If the finger had been kept stable in a splint, it would have healed by itself and I wouldn’t have needed an operation to reattach the ligament.

As it were, a titanium screw had to be fixed to the bone for the ligament to attach to and a wire inserted to keep the joint stable.

Typing took twice as long as the splint kept getting in the way and the rest of the hand ached as different muscles were stressed, and I was reduced to being a one-finger typist.

So, this is my public service announcement, go check with the right doctor lest things get misdiagnosed. Better to err on the side of caution than to have a bigger problem on your hands later.

As a parting shot, check out the latest fad – jewellery to decorate your nose. Not just a nose ring, mind you, but pretty baubles to accentuate the whole nose.

Not for everyone, definitely.

Patsy has become quite adept at putting on eyeliner with her left hand. Send your feedback to

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 7
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Across The Star Online