Scientific Scribbles

The voice of UniMelb Science Communication students

Women, Their Makeup, and The Power of Beauty

Ladies, does any of you feel OK without makeup? If so, don’t you use skin care or body lotion? I guess, you should apply one of them to keep your skin healthy. Also, you must feel incomplete when leaving home without wash your face or brush your hair.

Briefly, women must need cosmetics to improve their appearance. Some of them can be addicted to makeup. Others might only think that they need to dress up well or wearing nice makeup to boost their confidence. I also feel so. I have some makeup kits and make sure I used them for special occasion, like attending a party or job interview. I even wear makeup during stressful periods. The activity creates positive feeling.

Some of makeup kits. Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


Why women need makeup?

A study shows that women need makeup for two main reasons; camouflage and seduction. The former relates to hiding negative feeling like anxious and insecure, while the latter correlates to feeling more attractive and confident. Scientists said, women’s fears drive them to wear makeup. They think people will treat them in a different way when they use makeup.

Furthermore, some USA researchers highlight that makeup rituals reflect women’s self-awareness of their outer and inner beauty, leading them to feel more confident. Women allow self-transformation when they apply cosmetics to their body. This is such a preparation that prepare them for a social interaction.

Women also touch up their make up several times during a day. They do so to adapt the movement and rhythm in their daily life. Women think they should ensure their outer and inner. This shows their appreciation to their selves. Applying makeup also shows that women open to romantic relationship. They feel more beautiful, attractive, and ready to interact with men.

Do you think the woman is beautiful? She actually has had the same thought. Photo credit: Ian Dooley, via Unsplash


The power of beauty

Another study also suggest that feeling beautiful can be more powerful. Makeup can contribute to how women build social interaction with other women as well as men. With makeup, women may feel dominant in workplace and can have chance for job promotion. Type of makeup also determine women’s characters, leading to their preference when making friends. Sometimes, makeup can create rivals, when women feel jealous to others due to sexy or bold looks of their competitors.

We can see that beautiful women can easily attract more attention in our social life. That’s why popular senior high school girls usually include those with good looking faces. Interviewees who dress up well might have more chance to get a job. Makeup also can help women to date someone special.

In other side, men can justify women’s personality based on their makeup. Every man can have different opinion in defining attractive women. Makeup looks also leads to how men treat women.


Makeup rituals have been around since ancient periods

Women have used makeup since centuries ago. Greek women, for instance, used charcoal as their eye shadow and white powder to lighten their skin. In Egypt, Cleopatra used milk for bathing to whiten her skin. Ancient Egyptians also was familiar to lipstick and other cosmetics as well. Indigenous Africans made their cosmetics from clays grounded into pastes. Meanwhile, Indigenous Australian still preserve their traditional culture by using minerals as main ingredients to for their body paints during some ceremonies.


Modern Makeup

Cosmetic industries have grown faster. We can find many types of makeup in beauty shops. We might be tempted to try them; compact powder, eye shadow, blush on, lipsticks, mascara, body lotion, nail polish and many more. Moreover, we can’t ignore the influences of makeup advertising or suggestion from beauty bloggers.


Modern cosmetics are a huge business. Based on 2011 Household Expenditure Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians spent about AUD 4.5 billion annually for toiletries and cosmetics. Meanwhile, in US, millennials aged 18 to 34 are the popular buyers in cosmetic markets, with total spending about USD 13 billion.

Choosing makeup that fits you can be challenging. Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash


How safe is the makeup on the market?

Makeup products consist of many chemicals. They function as emulsifier, thickener, coloring, preservative agents, fragrance and pH stabilizers in cosmetics.  The uses of chemicals for beauty products are under authorities’ control. In Australia, The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) is responsible for ensuring the safety of beauty products. They must be harmless for users an environment as well.

The cosmetics regulation is essential, given several health consequences due to the use of toxic substances. Lead, mercury and parabens are prohibited in cosmetics. Lead and other metals in lipsticks can have carcinogenic effect to human body, while parabens can cause breast cancer.


Tips for buying makeup

To ensure that we buy the right product, we should;

  • Read through makeup label and check whether it contains some dangerous or prohibited chemicals.
  • Buying products from reputable brands and shops because they must pass safety test in advance.
  • Consult to expert to know your skin type and choose makeup suits yours.
  • Remove your makeup before going to sleep.


Next, the important thing is using makeup properly. You need make up to look more beautiful and boost your confidence. Nonetheless, don’t put too much cosmetics to create a totally new version of you. Let’s makeup be a complement of your inner beauty.

It’s not like what you see, or think—–shisha may be harmful to you

Melbourne as a bustling and multicultural metropolis, often has a flock of young people enjoying their colourful nightlife at bars, cafes or restaurants. A novel and social activity that is very popular among this group of people is, smoking shisha.

The shisha also known as either hookah, narghile or waterpipe, is a kind of tobacco. The history of shisha dates back to the sixteenth century and originated the Middle Eastern or South Asian countries.

Bidriware article, a hookah. Credit by Randhirreddy via Wikipedia.


It consists of a bowl-shape container where tobacco is moistened and smoldered by charcoal on the top of the container. The smoke is passed through a water container before being inhaled through a mouthpiece into smokers’ lungs.


Why is it so popular?

Shisha has extremely hooked people, specially youth, due to various reasons, such as social influences, its unique appearances and man-made flavours.

Fruit or molasses sugar usually is burned with tobacco, producing more aromatic smoke. Man-made ingredients also enrich the appealing smells, including mint, mango, plum, apple, coconut, strawberry and cola. Because it does not taste lousily as cigarette smokes do, a lot of people think it is harmless.

With the thriving café culture and increased social interaction, young people often regard shisha as a cheap relaxing gadget, which is socially acceptable, fashionable, romantic and exotic. Non-smokers highly affected by conformity or/ and curiosity as well.


Hey just for curiosity, isn’t it too harmful?

As any other kind of tobacco, shisha too includes nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar and heavy metals. In other words, shisha smokers have the same risk as cigarette smokers, to be prone to respiratory diseases, heart illness’s and cancer; extremely affecting pregnant women and their babies.


So, why are some shisha myths still popular among young people?

The first myth surrounding shisha is that its water filters ‘cleanses’ the smoke from water, reducing the toxic chemicals. Another myth that surrounds it is not being addictive.

In fact, both are wrong! Although being bubbled through the water, shisha produces similar volume of nicotine as a single cigarette. Nicotine as the main addiction element hooks smokers of tobacco. Even infrequently using shisha has as similar level of hankering and withdraw symptom as cigarette smokers.

Smoker of shish. Credit by Petr Novák via Wikipedia.


However, compared to cigarettes, it produces more than threefold carbon monoxide in our blood. A shisha session often takes more time than a single cigarette, that means 100 cigarettes or more volume of smoke is inhaled by shisha smokers compared to cigarette smokers.

Another common myth is that tobacco-free shisha is safe. Though, women and young girls who order tobacco-free shisha are still prone to risk factors, such as carbon monoxide and other toxins coming from heated charcoal.

It is usually seen that smoking shisha socially happens at cafés or bars and higher chances of sharing happening between friends or family members. As a result, smoking shisha likely increases the transmission of infectious diseases, like hepatitis. Unfortunately, people who sit with shisha smokers are also influenced by the second-hand smoke, produced by shisha. At the same time, the sweet aroma will stimulate them.


Unlocking the myths of shisha, keeps us healthy.


Further readings on shisha:

The story of shisha

Interventions for waterpipe smoking cessation



Space Technology Isn’t Just Rockets And Satellites !

Space exploration peaked during October 1969, when NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from America, landed the first astronauts on the moon. This was definitely not an easy task, especially since the Space Race only commenced in August 1955. This means it only took us humans, 14 years to figure out how to fly 380 thousand kilometers through the vacuum of space to the famous rock. And then back again!

The challenges aeronautical engineers faced to accomplish this were plentiful and complicated. Not only were they to create rockets with enough power to lift 240 thousand kilograms, but also they were to figure out issues like how would pens work in micro gravity. It was these somewhat surprising issues that gave way to a plethora of inventions that we commonly use even today!

Actually, NASA holds over 6300 patents that have uses for astronauts and us alike. So which inventions do we have NASA to thank for?

The Dustbuster, for moon dust and your crisp crumbs

A commonplace machine to have in the modern home, the Dustbuster is the original name for the first cordless vacuum. This came about as a part of NASA’s Apollo Space Mission, the first mission to land humans on the moon. NASA wanted numerous samples from the lunar subsurface to be brought back to Earth, these samples were to be taken somewhat far from the shuttle landing. So in effort to reduce the length of cord from the vacuum to the shuttle for power, the Black & Decker Manufacturing Company were approached to make a cordless drill and vacuum.

Cordless drill and vacuum. Image via NASA

Their creation was a battery-powered, magnet-motor system which performed the job perfectly. In fact, they reduced power usage in the machine so much so, that a new wave of battery-powered tools for medical, industrial and consumer usage was created. Now we couldn’t imagine life without these tools! 

Memory Foam, to protect your butt in your rocket and your head in your bed

Imagine sitting in a plane as it takes off, as you start your accent you feel the g-force pressing you back against your seat at about 1.3 times the force you feel normally due to gravity. Now imagine this force times four. This is what Apollo 11 astronauts felt 160 seconds after launch, and other astronauts have felt more! To make the seats on rockets safer, engineers needed to line the seats with padding that would protect the astronauts in events like reentry and launching. Additionally, engineers needed to account for differences in astronauts physiques, and keep the seats correctly proportional as the astronauts trained and their bodies altered.

Memory foam. Image via Wiki Commons.


The solution was a foam that molded to a shape when needed, and molded to a rest state when not needed. The solution was called memory foam and largely consisted of polyurethane and additives which changed the viscosity and density. Today we see this used in mattresses, helmets and almost all applications where comfort is important!

Infrared Ear Thermometers, measures your temperature without touching you!

As a part of NASA’s technology affiliates program, Diatek Corporation used technology from the Jet Propulsion Lab in NASA to create a thermometer that does not rely on heat transfer through direct contact. Instead, the thermometer reads the black body radiation from the inside of your ear in the same way that we read the black body radiation from stars to determine their temperature. With NASA’s assistance Diatek was able to make a contactless thermometer weighing only 8 ounces and operable in a single hand.

Infrared Ear Thermometer. Image via NASA.

Since temperature can be taken without oral or rectal readings, this thermometer avoids touching mucous membranes thus almost completely eradicating any risk of cross infections. Undoubtedly you’ve come across this in your doctors office!


Not only these inventions do we have NASA to thank for, but also the CAT scanner, home insulation, invisible braces and even super soakers are by-products of the work done by NASA.

It’s not uncommon to not realize the reach of innovation that space exploration has had on inventions, but it’s an important realization to make. For the benefit of mankind and for the benefit of clean floors and comfy seats, we should be investing into space. Because even if it takes decades to get somewhere in space, the journey of getting there will leave us with an incredible amount of technology.

Pulsating baby heads

Do you know anyone who has an irrational fear of babies? Do you shake your head and sigh when a baby is passed to them to hold but they completely avoid even touching the infant? Their fear of pulsating baby heads could explain their reaction.

Photo by Tim Bish via Unsplash

A few days ago my brother uploaded a Facebook video of my 8-month old nephew playing with a rattle. My initial reaction was “AWWWWW, SOO CUTE!” accompanied with high-pitched squeals.

But, after multiple replays of the video clip, I noticed something strange. My nephew’s head was pulsating.

Only a small section on the top of his head was rhythmically beating, while the rest of his head remained still. The million dollar question is: why was only one part of his head throbbing? Or, to be specific, why was his head throbbing in the first place?

What could explain such a bizarre phenomenon? As it turns out, during the first year of life, babies’ scalps are yet to finish developing.

Our skull is a not one solid surface, but is made up of multiple bones joined together. Fibrous material, called sutures, connect the bones together. These look similar to the stitches a doctor makes to close up wounds on your body!

When babies are born, their skulls have large gaps between these bones. These gaps allow the baby’s head to easily pass through the birth canal. These soft spots also allow for growth of the baby’s brain.

These gaps are called fontanelles. Babies have two main fontanelles: one at the front (fontanel) and a smaller one at the back (posterior fontanelle). The posterior fontanelle closes up within 6 weeks of birth. The fontanel takes longer to close: taking from 9 to up to 18 months.

The baby’s skull and its fontanelles. Photo by Xxjamesxx via Wikimedia Commons

How does these soft spots pulsate?

These pulsating soft spots are actually due to the beating of the baby’s heart. When the heart delivers blood to the head, the pulsation becomes visible as no bony material is covering that area.


Complications of early closure of fontanelles?

The timing of fontanelle closure is critical. There are actually major complications to the baby if the fontanelles close too early.

A condition called craniosynotosis can occur which describes when one or more of the sutures closes too early. The skull is unable to grow normally, affecting the baby’s brain development.

Instead of growing to its normal size, the brain is unable to grow where the skull has fused and grows outwardly to areas that have yet to fuse. This ultimately leads to a change in head shape.

Photo by Picsea via Unsplash

I’m glad there wasn’t anything to be concerned of with my nephew and it was simply a normal part of a baby’s development. And…. I guess there is a rational explanation for those who have an irrational fear of babies.

Beware of Stem Cell Treatments!

By now, many of us will have heard about ‘stem cells’ either through the newspaper, internet or word of mouth. Stem cells have been proclaimed as the future of medicine and many clinics have been marketing stem cells as a one-stop solution to many problems. However, as the age old saying goes ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’.

What are stem cells?
Stem cells are a type of cell, that are capable of giving rise to an indefinite number other cells. These stem cells divide into two other ‘daughter’ cells, which then can either mature and form adult versions of its tissue of origin(e.g. muscle stem cells create only mature muscle) or return and make more copies of itself. In this manner, stem cells can be considered ‘immortal’, as they can continue making copies of themselves forever.

Stem cells are considered an immortal cell type based on their ability to give rise to an infinite number of other cells. Photo by Виталий Смолыгин available here.

What are they currently being used for?
Since their discovery in 1981, scientists have been looking to understand how stem cells work in order to manipulate them. Of particular interest over the past few decades are a population of stem cells called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Unlike regular stem cells which can only form one type of tissue, iPSCs can form any other cell type within the human body in addition to their original cell type. Scientists have been using iPSCs to replace skin, muscle, brain and many other cells.

Stem Cells are currently being trialled to treat a wide variety of diseases and injuries. Photo by U.S. Pacific Fleet available on Flickr.

Why should we be worried?
It wasn’t long after stem cells were mentioned in the media, that private clinics promoting stem cell-based therapies started to appear. Over the past decade, hundreds of these clinics have been established worldwide. The problem here is that these clinics are making outrageous claims which cannot be backed up with any scientific evidence. One claim that is commonly made is that stem cells can cure and treat a wide range of (currently un-curable) diseases such as osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), and dementia successfully.

Consumers are advised to avoid private clinics which cannot back their claims with scientific evidence. Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash.

Drugs and treatments must undergo a rigorous process of controlled and randomised trials to determine the safety and efficacy before being approved for public use. However, these private clinics often rely on patient testimonies and success stories shared on the internet.

But those who suffer from severe and chronic diseases often have little hope remaining, and so tend to think that they have nothing to lose by trying these treatments out. In fact, these unproven treatments are dangerous, and can end up doing more harm than good.

Some horror-cases reported include three women who were blinded following treatment, a man who was paralyzed from the neck down and had a tumour growing on his spine, and an Australian woman who died as a result of failed treatment.

These clinics are selling hope instead of proven treatments.

It is recommended that consumers avoid stem-cell based therapies until they can be scientifically proven to be effective and to consult multiple qualified health-care professionals before making a decision.

For more information see Stem Cells Australia.








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