Skip to content

Let your Tax dollars work for your skin

Yes! That’s right. It’s your (and my) tax dollars that pay for the scientific research that builds all that biotech that goes into your skin care products. There is a huge amount of scientific research, more than ten thousand scientific papers, that make it possible for you to apply on your skin a collagen serum that will make your skin healthier and younger.

What is biotech? From Wikipedia, “Biotechnology is a multidisciplinary field that integrates natural sciences and engineering sciences to achieve the application of organisms, cells, parts thereof and molecular analogs for products and services.”

My definition: it’s biochemistry applied to everyday life in vaccines, medicines, and new fibers. modified enzymes and a miriad more products that take advantage of what basic science has achieved in the last century.

Why do I say that it’s our tax dollars at work? After all, it’s big companies that take pride in their products (and also, it’s big companies that smile all the way to the bank). A cancer medication can cost you $20,000 or more per month!  But if you look at the scientific papers that are the basis for those medications, their authors either worked in a government research facility, like the National Institutes of Health, or a European Union equivalent, or they acknowledge in their papers the financial support of a national research institute, like the NIH in the USA, or the NHS in the UK, or a state university research institute.

As for skincare, don’t get confused by the “patents” for new chemicals coming from skin care companies because they are usually just derivatives from basic research supported by your tax dollars.

It’s a mistake to believe the claims of miraculous plant extracts that will rejuvenate your skin or body. In fact, many companies ignore old basic research telling them to avoid using toxic plant extracts, even if their toxicity has been known for centuries. How come? It’s called scientific illiteracy.

And don’t expect AI to tell you what’s right and what’s not. Maybe in the future, there will be human-thought-capable AI, but for now, AI just shuffles words. It may work for an 8th grade essay, but not to tell you what will help your skin heal after an accident or surgery.

When it comes to natural, please remember that there are thousands of plants known to be toxic to humans and/or damaging when touched. Or, if you fell in the Nerium trap, maybe you will do a Google search next time?

Scientific iliteracy is what allows people to search (and get) money to pay for impossible dreams (like Theranos) or to use poisonous plants in skin care. The book by Mitchell and Rook (1979) lists several references to Nerium oleander toxicity.  Now, it’s even easier; you don’t have to the library and read the book on plant products injurious to the skin, you can search them on Wikipedia!

How do you explain this? A  woman died because she ate mulberry leaves . She heard that mulberry would be good for her. Her death was sad and totally preventable. Why preventable? Because mulberry has been grown for centuries for its fruits, not for its leaves. Good for diabetes and weight loss? In this case, mulberry leaves eliminated both the illness and the patient. Two centuries ago, the shaman or the herbologist would  have told you to be careful with mulberry. Nowadays, Wikipedia will tell you that “all parts of the plant besides the ripe fruit contain a toxic milky sap.”

Why do I keep writing about the same topic?  Somebody has to. As long as people fall into the trap of natural=good for humans.

I would also like to know why “investors” don’t read about Nerium’s toxicity before investing.  In the Middle Ages, people didn’t know better, but now almost everybody has access to the internet and the information in millions of scientific papers in a few seconds. Scientific iliteracy will cost you money plus, very often, your health.


John Mitchell and Arthur Rook (1979) Botanical Dermatology: Plants and Plant Products Injurious to the Skin, by , 787 pp, Philadelphia, Lea & Febiger.


Some useful posts

Is “natural” better than “biotech”?


5 reasons to use the extract of the pretty (but poisonous) plant Nerium oleander