4 Natural Skin-Care Ingredients That’ll Transform Your Skin

Image result for 4 Natural Skin-Care Ingredients That'll Transform Your SkinThey come from small red berries and evergreen forests, but these skin-care ingredients can go head-to-head with their lab-grown peers. Meet the natural wonders that are generating buzz — and transforming complexions.

Manuka Honey

You’ve probably seen headlines like: “I Washed My Face With Honey and It Was the Most Amazing Thing Ever.” Though we don’t actually drizzle the stuff on our face as if it’s a parfait, honey as a skin-care ingredient — specifically manuka honey from New Zealand or Australia — is, in fact, amazing. Unlike the antioxidants in other honey varieties, “the ones in manuka honey are very strong, so they don’t get destroyed as easily,” says Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. Add to that the fact that manuka honey is super moisturizing and suddenly smearing it on directly from the jar doesn’t seem so crazy after all. “It’s also antibacterial, which means it’s good for acne,” says Graf. Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream relies on the ingredient’s high polyphenol content to protect the skin barrier while moisturizing, and Kate Somerville Goat Milk De-Puffing Eye Balm ($38) pairs manuka honey with peptides to soften lines and leave skin dewy.


Also known by what’s surely a Balderdash word (kinnikinnick), the bearberry plant is one of nature’s most potent skin brighteners. In addition to antioxidants, bearberry extract contains arbutin, which acts a lot like hydroquinone (the most effective ingredient for fading dark spots). “Both inhibit the tyrosinase enzyme involved in pigment production,” says Jordana Herschthal, a dermatologist in Boca Raton, Florida. Although naturally occurring arbutin isn’t quite as potent as hydroquinone, it may be safer, she says. (You shouldn’t use hydroquinone when you’re pregnant or nursing.) Bearberry should help fade dark spots in about four to six weeks. Since brightening ingredients are more effective when they’re paired with a retinoid, products with both (like Allies of Skin Bright Future Overnight Facial, $114, and Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution, $88) will get you glowier, faster.


You may have heard us mention retinol, oh, once or twice. The magical ingredient has been smoothing lines, fading spots, and busting acne since before most millennials were born. Well: “Bakuchiol is like a natural version of retinol,” says cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson, who likes it in Whish Recovering Night Cream ($72). The extract comes from the babchi herb, which is used in Chinese medicine to treat skin conditions. “The data is really impressive,” says Wilson. “You get similar efficacy from bakuchiol [as retinol], without the drying side effects.” And bakuchiol is an antioxidant, so “it can be a better choice when you want both anti-aging and skin brightening,” adds cosmetic chemist Ginger King.


We’re not talking about any old evergreen. The pine that will transform skin must be the French maritime variety that grows in the Mediterranean region. Research has suggested that extract from the bark of Pinus pinaster can accelerate wound healing and reduce scar formation. “Because it offers powerful antioxidant protection from free radical damage, it’s also great for smoothing aging and photodamaged skin,” says cosmetic chemist Joseph Cincotta. (Try Perricone MD High Potency Eye Lift, $100.) If you’re concerned more about breakouts than crow’s-feet, this specific pine is also astringent and mattifies oily skin. (Try Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, $34.) When ingested — like in the supplement pycnogenol — it delivers a megadose of antioxidants to calm inflammation, protect collagen, and improve hydration levels in the skin, says Cincotta.

The Best DIYs

Laying seaweed on your face isn’t going to do anything except make you smell weird. You have to isolate botanical extracts to change your skin­ — and pulsing an avocado in a Vitamix won’t do the trick, says Graf. The exceptions: six raw ingredients that you can pick up at Whole Foods and smear right on your face for effective DIY skin care.

1. To calm breakouts: East Indian sandalwood oil is an essential oil that’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and ideal for shrinking pimples, says Graf. It can be irritating if you put it directly on skin, though, so dilute one or two drops in six ounces of skin-soothing almond oil.

2. To plump wrinkles and rehab dry skin: “Rose hip–seed oil contains a natural form of retinol to help improve fine lines,” says Marius Morariu, a cofounder of Tracie Martyn skin care. Evening primrose oil is high in omega-6, which is great for severely chapped skin.

3. To get a glow: Many essential oils are too irritating to apply right on your skin, but jojoba, almond, and apricot oils are gentle and absorb easily, making them ideal for moisturizing.

Pregnancy PSA on Naturals

Many women switch to natural skin-care products when they’re pregnant or breastfeeding to avoid exposing their baby to certain synthetic — and potentially harmful — ingredients. But seeing plant extracts or essential oils on an ingredient list doesn’t guarantee safety: “There are natural ingredients, like peppermint oil, clary sage oil, rosemary oil, and juniper oil, [in bath soaks and face serums] that have been shown to cause issues with lactation and early labor,” says Herschthal, who has studied the effects of skin-care ingredients on pregnant women. If you want to use natural products when you’re pregnant, stay away from those ingredients, she says.

All products in this story meet Allure’s natural standards: no parabens, petroleum, mineral oil, phthalates, aluminum, talc, sodium laurel sulfate, triclosan, formaldehyde, toluene, or chemical sunscreens.

A version of this article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Allure. To get your copy, head to newsstands or subscribe now.


Want glowing skin on your wedding day? Add papaya to your diet

tips for wedding day, how to look good on wedding day, tips for brides, papaya and it's benefits, Indian express, Indian express news

As the next season of weddings is drawing near, all the would-be brides are gearing up to look and feel their absolute best on that special day of their life. Add papaya to your diet to achieve the glowing skin and fit body like never before.

Well, it might sound incredible but this one fruit, papaya, can really do wonders for all your beauty and health needs, says Mehar Rajput, dietitian and nutritionist from Fitpass.

* Cuts the fat to give you that dream figure: Make it a habit of eating two bowls of papaya every day for a month prior to your D-day. The fruit has a super enzyme, papain, that helps in faster digestion, increasing metabolism and creating healthy waterworks, all of which aid in an efficient weight loss strategy. So by having this approximately 55-calorie portion, not only you are ready for your D-day but also for that beach body, you are craving for your honeymoon.

* Aids digestion: Irregular and unhealthy eating due to wedding jitters can have the bride constantly complaining about acidity or upset stomach. A bowl of papaya everyday can keep stomach problems at bay through its papain enzyme that can help in improving digestion. Moreover, the fibre content in papaya clears the stomach and aids digestive performance so that the bride stays happy from within.

Mohit Narang, skincare expert of brand Avon too shares the benefits of papaya on the skin.

* Exfoliation: Pep up your skin with Papaya since it has an enzymatic effect and it is very good for the clearance of dead skin.

* De-tanning: Papaya is as refreshing for your skin as it is for your body when you eat it. It has a very good anti-tanning effect and is an excellent beauty choice for de-tanning.

* Skin polishing: Papaya helps give your skin a radiant glow and a smooth finish and it brings a lot of shine to your face.





Diabetes can affect your skin too!

Diabetes can affect your skin too! (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)Diabetes can affect your skin too! (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
Diabetes is a very common problem these days.

Though people think excessive intake of sugar and sweetened food lead to diabetes, the reality is our unbalanced lifestyle also play a significant role in contributing to the condition of diabetes. Many of us are not even aware that apart from affecting our body, diabetes can play havoc on our skin.

Skin Specialist Dr Rohit Batra from Derma World Skin Clinic shared information on how diabetes can affect our skin and how we can combat this problem.

Some common skin infections due to diabetes are fungal infection, itching, vitiligo, blisters, Digital Sclerosis, foot ulcer and others.

Fungal Infection: ‘Candida albicans’ is a painful fungal infection commonly found in diabetic people. The infection causes red rashes on the skin and leads to itching and pain. Jock itch is another fungal infection amongst the diabetic patients.

Treatment- The right treatment of the infection is to stop ignoring the problem. Do not ignore the infection right from the beginning and immediately contact the doctor at the first sign of it.

Itching: Itching seems to be a common problem; however, it can be severe and problematic. Itching in the lower part of the legs and feet is common among diabetic patients.

Treatment- Applying a good moisturizer is the best way to control itching. Slather a good amount of moisturizer on the affected area and avoid scratching to get relief from itching.

Vitiligo: Experts suggest that vitiligo is also caused due to Type 1 Diabetes. The cells responsible for the brown pigment on the skin get damaged in Vitiligo which leads to white patches on the chest, face, and hands etc.

Treatment- Light therapy is used to treat Vitiligo. Always make sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF 30 while stepping out in the sun.

Blisters: Blisters are common among diabetic people and appear on the hands, legs and the backside of the fingers. The good thing is that they are painless.

Treatment- Blisters heal on their own within one to two weeks. However, if you feel any problem, contact your doctor immediately.

Digital Sclerosis: Almost one third people with Type 1 diabetes struggle with the issue of digital sclerosis. The main symptom of this condition is thickened area in the skin which gradually becomes very tight. Due to this, it becomes very difficult to move joints especially knees, fingers and elbow.

Treatment- The only solution is to control the blood sugar level.

Foot Ulcer: In the extreme stages of diabetes, a special nerve gets damaged due to which the person doesn’t feel any sensation in the foot. Even a little scratch on the foot takes the form of a sore and may take weeks to heal.

Treatment- As soon as you notice this con


New Skin Patch Safely Treats Peanut Allergy: Study

New Skin Patch Safely Treats Peanut Allergy: Study

WASHINGTON: A new wearable patch that delivers small amounts of peanut protein through the skin may safely help treat children and young adults with peanut allergy, a new study has found.

The treatment, called epicutaneous immunotherapy or EPIT, was safe and well-tolerated, and nearly all participants used the skin patch daily as directed, according to the one-year results from an ongoing clinical trial conducted by Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR) in the US.

“One goal of experimental approaches such as epicutaneous immunotherapy is to reduce this burden by training the immune system to tolerate enough peanut to protect against accidental ingestion or exposure,” said Anthony S Fauci, Director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

CoFAR researchers at five study sites randomly assigned 74 peanut-allergic volunteers aged four to 25 years to treatment with either a high-dose (250 microgrammes peanut protein), low-dose (100 micrograms peanut protein), or placebo patch.

They assessed peanut allergy at the beginning of the study with a supervised, oral food challenge with peanut-containing food.

Each day, study participants applied a new patch to their arm or between their shoulder blades.
After one year, researchers assessed each participant’s ability to consume at least 10 times more peanut protein than they were able to consume before starting EPIT.

The low-dose and high-dose regimens offered similar benefits, with 46 per cent of the low-dose group and 48 per cent of the high-dose group achieving treatment success, compared with 12 per cent of the placebo group.

In addition, the peanut patches induced immune responses similar to those seen with other investigational forms of immunotherapy for food allergy.

Researchers observed greater treatment effects among children aged four to 11 years, with significantly less effect in participants aged 12 years and older.

Nearly all of the study participants followed the EPIT regimen as directed. None reported serious reactions to the patch, although most experienced mild skin reactions, such as itching or rash, at the site of patch application.

The finding was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.


Flexible wearable electronic skin patch offers new way to monitor alcohol levelsFlexible,wearable,electronic,skin,patch,offers,new,way,to,monitor,alcohol,levels

This flexible wearable sensor can be worn on the arm to detect alcohol level.
Credit: UC San Diego

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a flexible wearable sensor that can accurately measure a person’s blood alcohol level from sweat and transmit the data wirelessly to a laptop, smartphone or other mobile device. The device can be worn on the skin and could be used by doctors and police officers for continuous, non-invasive and real-time monitoring of blood alcohol content.

The device consists of a temporary tattoo — which sticks to the skin, induces sweat and electrochemically detects the alcohol level — and a portable flexible electronic circuit board, which is connected to the tattoo by a magnet and can communicate the information to a mobile device via Bluetooth. The work, led by nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang and electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier, both at UC San Diego, was published recently in the journal ACS Sensors.

“Lots of accidents on the road are caused by drunk driving. This technology provides an accurate, convenient and quick way to monitor alcohol consumption to help prevent people from driving while intoxicated,” Wang said. The device could be integrated with a car’s alcohol ignition interlocks, or friends could use it to check up on each other before handing over the car keys, he added.

“When you’re out at a party or at a bar, this sensor could send alerts to your phone to let you know how much you’ve been drinking,” said Jayoung Kim, a materials science and engineering PhD student in Wang’s group and one of the paper’s co-first authors.

Blood alcohol concentration is the most accurate indicator of a person’s alcohol level, but measuring it requires pricking a finger. Breathalyzers, which are the most commonly used devices to indirectly estimate blood alcohol concentration, are non-invasive, but they can give false readouts. For example, the alcohol level detected in a person’s breath right after taking a drink would typically appear higher than that person’s actual blood alcohol concentration. A person could also fool a breathalyzer into detecting a lower alcohol level by using mouthwash.

Recent research has shown that blood alcohol concentration can also be estimated by measuring alcohol levels in what’s called insensible sweat — perspiration that happens before it’s perceived as moisture on the skin. But this measurement can be up to two hours behind the actual blood alcohol reading. On the other hand, the alcohol level in sensible sweat — the sweat that’s typically seen — is a better real-time indicator of the blood alcohol concentration, but so far the systems that can measure this are neither portable nor fit for wearing on the body.

Now, UC San Diego researchers have developed an alcohol sensor that’s wearable, portable and could accurately monitor alcohol level in sweat within 15 minutes.

“What’s also innovative about this technology is that the wearer doesn’t need to be exercising or sweating already. The user can put on the patch and within a few minutes get a reading that’s well correlated to his or her blood alcohol concentration. Such a device hasn’t been available until now,” Mercier said.

How it works

Wang and Mercier, the director and co-director, respectively, of the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors, collaborated to develop the device. Wang’s group fabricated the tattoo, equipped with screen-printed electrodes and a small hydrogel patch containing pilocarpine, a drug that passes through the skin and induces sweat.

Mercier’s group developed the printed flexible electronic circuit board that powers the tattoo and can communicate wirelessly with a mobile device. His team also developed the magnetic connector that attaches the electronic circuit board to the tattoo, as well as the device’s phone app.

“This device can use a Bluetooth connection, which is something a breathalyzer can’t do. We’ve found a way to make the electronics portable and wireless, which are important for practical, real-life use,” said Somayeh Imani, an electrical engineering PhD student in Mercier’s lab and a co-first author on the paper.

The tattoo works first by releasing pilocarpine to induce sweat. Then, the sweat comes into contact with an electrode coated with alcohol oxidase, an enzyme that selectively reacts with alcohol to generate hydrogen peroxide, which is electrochemically detected. That information is sent to the electronic circuit board as electrical signals. The data are communicated wirelessly to a mobile device.

Putting the tattoo to the test

Researchers tested the alcohol sensor on 9 healthy volunteers who wore the tattoo on their arms before and after consuming an alcoholic beverage (either a bottle of beer or glass of red wine). The readouts accurately reflected the wearers’ blood alcohol concentrations.

The device also gave accurate readouts even after repeated bending and shaking. This shows that the sensor won’t be affected by the wearer’s movements, researchers said.

As a next step, the team is developing a device that could continuously monitor alcohol levels for 24 hours.

What Can a Laser Do for Your Skin?

Lasers are fantastic devices that can do absolutely all sorts. They are used more and more frequently for different types of skin treatments as well. So just what can a laser do for your skin?

Skin Peel

The skin can be exfoliated with laser, meaning dead cells are removed. This leaves the skin appearing more youthful and shiny. By doing this, the skin is stimulated into producing new, healthy cells.

Wrinkle Removal

Laser wrinkle removal is perhaps the most popular of all laser treatments. It does, however, lead to a bit of redness that has to heal. That is because dead cells are actually removed or ablated. Modern techniques take about four days to recover, which is only a third of more traditional methods.

New Collagen Stimulation

One of the reasons why we develop wrinkles is because the skin is no longer able to produce sufficient collagen, which is needed for the elasticity and youthful appearance of the skin. If collagen is warmed up to the exact right temperature, however, it is stimulated into creating new cells. This can also be done by laser, which penetrates the layers of the skin to just the right depth and warms the collagen up to just the right level.

Pigment Removal

People with pigment and sun damage can use laser to have this damage removed. Most commonly, professionals will use Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL. It is very gentle and highly effective at removing brown spots, creating a more youthful appearance.

Skin Tightening

Laser skin tightening works in the same way as collagen stimulation. Essentially, when more collagen is produce, the skin becomes tighter. This procedure is effective, but does not achieve the results expected from a face lift, for instance. Additionally, healing can be quite lengthy and many people have to have multiple treatments.

Removing Rosacea and Red Spots

As people age, it is quite common to start to develop red spots, have broken blood vessels, and have permanent rosacea on the face. While not overly unsightly, most people who have it feel very self-conscious about it. Laser treatment can help remove these types of spots and blemishes. IPL can be beneficial, although the 1064 Yag is the most effective of all.

Hair Removal

Laser can also be used to remove unwanted hair. The Lightshear Diode is most commonly used. This method is particularly effective on people with dark skin.

Tattoo Removal

Last but not least, laser can be used to remove tattoos. It is important to understand, however, that this is an incredibly painful procedure, far more painful than the original tattoo, and it is not a quick fix. People should not see it, therefore, as an easy solution to fix a silly mistake.

These are some of the most common uses for lasers on the skin. If you are interested in any of these procedures, it is vital that you find a true specialist to do it. Lasers, after all, are very dangerous as well.

Best Skin Care tips for Glowing Skin

Skin Care and Beauty go parallel to each other, especially for the women who gain confidence by showing off their best. Not just beauty, your skin quality also tells about your body’s health quotient. Aging can be a challenging human experience, and the lust to look youthful and fresh overrules most of us.

However, the strains and stresses of modern living along with the dust, smoke and pathogens, in the environment, lead to changes in our skin, which if neglected then may become very apparent on our skin. Laying foundation to a good skin requires taking care of it from an early stage, i.e. when you are young, which will contribute to a younger looking skin when you are not so young.

Skin care is a timeworn phenomenon. It has been documented in the history that in Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra, bathed in sour milk, which proved to be beneficial for skin’s glow; while Ancient Greek athletes bathed in Olive Oil and fine sand, so as to prevent themselves from skin burns. One can try getting nykaa discount offers so that they can redeem the discounts. Over the years skin care methods have become highly evolved, yet most of the people over-look them,due to their time-consuming nature. Few important clues that your skin gives you, which you should never fail to notice:

  • Itching and Dryness: This is a common phenomenon in winters. Using too hot water on your skin is discouraged by skin specialists. Also, regular moisturizing is adviced.
  • Red Spots: Sometimes, a heredity condition, can also be due imbalance of immune cells. Skin inflammation requires dermatologist consultations.
  • Acne: Emotions like stress, anxiousness, or being over whelmed, is first reflected on our skin. This requires a perfect achne-removal regime and face cleansers.
  • Inflated eyelids: Improper sleep can lead to puffy eyes or swollen eye lids.
  • Red and Yellow Bumps: These can be nasty-looking red and yellow marks on your legs, hands or backside of the neck. This requires urgent consultaion of doctors.
  • Unwanted hair growth: Hormonal changes in women of age can lead to abnormal hair growth on your cheek and chin area. This again requires immediate attention.

The needs to be complimented with certain beauty products which are necessary to obtain the required oils and salts, which can’t be obtained otherwise. These valuable skin protecting and rejunevating organic products can be easily found on online retail stores and obtained on discounts by using coupons like Purplle promo code. Products which one should use on a daily basis are:

  • Sunscreens as 90% of wrinkles, sagging and dark spots on the skin are caused by unprotected exposure to the sun.
  • Cleanerser, toner and mousturizers, for daily cleansing habits.
  • Anti-agening creams to prevent premature aging.
  • Anti-Stress Shower Gel for skin softening and soothing.

Skin that is wellnourished, immune and guarded, against pollution, oxidization, UV rays, other lifestyle adulterating elements like smoking, will show visible results in both short and long term and the aging process will be slowed. Excelling some of the basics of skin care treatment can help you have a radiant and flawless skin, like good eating habits.

Eye microbiome of contact lens wearers resembles that of skin

ntact lenses may change the microbiome of the eyes, according to research published in mBio. The new insights may lead to a better understanding of how to improve eye care and prevent infections, such as giant papillary conjunctivitis.
[contact lens]
Does the process of putting in a contact lens change the eye microbiome?

Statistics from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show that, globally, around 100 million people wear contact lenses, and over 30 million of them live in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge contact lens users to care for their lenses properly and to follow instructions for wearing, cleaning and storing lenses. Otherwise, infections such as microbial keratitis can result.

The authors of the current study point out that – like the gut, skin and mouth – the eye has a microbiome, or community of bacteria, which helps to protect it from infection.

Previous studies have investigated bacterial contamination of contact lenses, but there is less information about how contact lenses impact the structure and function of the microbiota on the surface of the eye.

Comparing skin and conjunctival microbiota reveals surprising results

Senior study author Maria Dominguez-Bello, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues wanted to compare the eye microbiota of people who wear contact lenses with the microbial community of those who do not.

Participants in the study were 58 adult outpatients who were seeking eye care.

The scientists compared the bacterial communities of the eye’s surface and the skin under the eye using a laboratory technique called 16s rRNA sequencing. They also analyzed samples from 20 participants, nine of whom wore lenses and 11 who did not, at three intervals during a period of 6 weeks.

The researchers looked at 250 samples in the lab, 116 of which were from cotton swabs of the conjunctiva, 114 from cotton swabs of skin under the eye and 20 from contact lenses.

They were surprised to find a higher diversity of bacteria on the surface of the eye than on the skin under the eye or on the contact lenses.

Results suggested that the microbiota from the surface of the eye of the contact lens wearers was more skin-like, compared with those from individuals who did not wear lenses.

How is the eye microbiome similar to that of skin in lens wearers?

In those who wore lenses, the microbial community on the eye’s surface was rich in the bacteria Pseudomonas,Acinetobacter, Methylobacterium and Lactobacillus.

Those who did not wear lenses had lower levels of Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Methylobacterium and Sphingobium.

Moreover, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and Methylobacterium were more abundantly present in skin samples of non-lens wearers than in the eye, implying that they could be classed as skin bacteria.

When the researchers compared the microbiota of the eye with that of the skin under the eye, the eyes of people who did not wear lenses showed higher levels of Haemophilus, Neisseria, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Rothia andCorynebacterium.

The conjunctiva of people who wore lenses had lower levels of four of these bacteria, namely Haemophilus, Streptococcus,Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium.

For this reason, the researchers conclude that the conjunctival microbiota of lens wearers is more similar to that found on skin, compared with people who do not wear lenses.

The bacterial diversity and composition between the conjunctiva or skin microbiota did not appear to change over time.

Dominguez-Bello notes that the team does not know how these changes occur.

[“source -cncb”]

Eyes turn into skin: How inflammation can change the fate of cells

EPFL scientists have found that chronic inflammation can cause regenerating cells to grow into new, aberrant types; this is called metaplasia, and is a disorder linked to prolonged inflammation. The study highlights a new concept of chronic inflammation and could lead to better treatments.

Chronic inflammation turns the immune system on for prolonged periods of time. As a result, it underlies many disorders that are associated with chronic inflammation, including cancer and abnormal wound healing. EPFL scientists have now discovered an additional component: chronic inflammation can cause cells to actually change type – here, eye cells turned into skin. The study is published in Nature Cell Biology.

Many tissues contain a reserve of stem cells that help them heal and self-renew after injury or inflammation. Wanting to understand what happens under chronic inflammation conditions, a team of researchers led by Freddy Radtke at EPFL’s Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) studied stem cells in the corneas of mice. To do this, they used methods that simulate chronic inflammation, and analyzed the data with techniques that light up specific cells with fluorescent stains.

The scientists found that in the cornea, the environment of stem cells changed – specifically, it became stiffer. The reason for this is both the presence of immune cells but also an increase in a substance that helps cells stick to each other and form structures and organs.

Eye cells become skin cells
The corneal stem cells, like many other cells, have sensors that measure the stiffness of surrounding tissues and allow the cells to adapt accordingly. In short, if stiffness changes, the cells react. In the cornea, the researchers found that the cell environment became so stiff that the stem cells began to turn on wrong differentiation programs: the “software” package that tells a stem cell what cell to turn into.

As a result of bad programming, the stem cells proliferated and made skin instead of cornea, causing the mice to go blind. In humans, this kind of abnormal change in the nature of a tissue is called “metaplasia”, and is associated with chronic inflammation. “Our study demonstrates an important mechanism by which chronic inflammation induces abnormal stem cell behavior,” says Freddy Radtke. “This is relevant to a variety of diseases associated with chronic inflammation, including cancer, and could yield new therapeutic targets.”

This work involved a collaboration of EPFL’s Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) with EPFL’s Institute of Bioengineering, the University of Padua Department of Molecular Medicine, and the Cancer Cell Biology Programme of the National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO). It was funded by OptiStem, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Cancer League, the Marie Curie Foundation, EuroSystem, and the European Research Council.


90 percent of skin-based viruses represent viral ‘dark matter,’ scientists reveal

Scientists in recent years have made great progress in characterizing the bacterial population that normally lives on human skin and contributes to health and disease. Now researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have used state-of-the-art techniques to survey the skin’s virus population, or “virome.” The study, published in the online journal mBio last month, reveals that most DNA viruses on healthy human skin are viral “dark matter” that have never been described before. The research also includes the development of a set of virome analysis tools that are now available to researchers for further investigations.

Researchers and the public are increasingly aware that microbes living on and inside us — our “microbiomes” — can be crucial in maintaining good health, or in causing disease. Skin-resident bacteria are no exception. Ideally they help ward off harmful infections, and maintain proper skin immunity and wound-healing, but under certain circumstances they can do the opposite.

“There has been a real need for a better understanding of these viruses, given their potential effects on our skin cells as well as on our resident bacteria,” said senior author Elizabeth A. Grice, PhD, an assistant professor of Dermatology at Penn Medicine. “Until now, relatively little work has been done in this area, in part because of the technical challenges involved. For example, a skin swab taken for analysis will contain mostly human and bacterial DNA, and only a tiny amount of viral genetic material — the proverbial needles in the haystack.”

Previous mapping attempts used databases of known viral genes to recognize some of this viral genetic material amid all of the bacteria and human DNA. But such an approach tends to overlook the many viruses not already catalogued in databases. Using optimized techniques for isolating virus-like particles (VLPs) from skin swabs, and for analyzing very small amounts of genetic material, the research team was able to focus their sequencing and analysis on viral DNA without entirely depending on databases.

Their analysis of samples from 16 healthy individuals revealed some results that were expected. The most abundant skin-cell infecting virus was human papilloma virus, which causes common warts and has been linked to skin cancers. However, most of the detected DNA from the VLPs did not match viral genes in existing databases. “More than 90 percent was what we call viral dark matter — it had features of viral genetic material but no taxonomic classification,” Grice said. That came as a surprise, although of course it highlighted the importance of mapping this unexplored territory.

The findings also clearly linked the skin virome to the skin microbiome: Most of the detected viral DNA appeared to belong to phage viruses, which infect and often take up long-term residence within bacteria. And when Grice and colleagues sequenced skin bacterial DNA from the same 16 subjects, they found that it often contained tell-tale marks — called CRISPR spacers — of prior invasion by the same phage viruses.

Although the results suggest that most of our normal skin-resident viruses are in fact resident in our skin bacteria, such viruses can still affect our health via their influence on the microbiome. The Penn researchers found evidence in the phage DNA of genes that could make host bacteria more resistant to antibiotics, for example, or more likely to cause a harmful infection.

The results also showed that the skin virome varies considerably depending on the body site. Grice’s team took swabs from the palm, the forehead, the armpit, the navel, and other sites, and found, for example, that the virome was most diverse in the crook of the arm, a site that is intermittently exposed and occluded.

The research establishes a baseline for future investigations of the normal, healthy skin virome and its alteration during disease. In addition, it gives other researchers a ready-made toolkit for such investigations — Grice and her colleagues even made available, with the paper’s supplemental information, the algorithms they devised for the DNA sequence analysis. “It’s all freely available so that people can do their own studies, or even reproduce our results,” she said.

Grice and her team are now using those methods to study the genomic variability of skin viruses, as well as changes in the skin virome in response to common factors such as ultraviolet radiation exposure and antibiotic use.

[ Source :- Sciencedaily ]