101.) Caffeinated Shampoos And Body Washes
I have to first admit that posting this rant runs me the risk of looking like a total jackass slash hypocrite considering something I chastized Dr. Oz for on this blog years ago. But such is the life of a mortal human. So here goes.
Some time ago, I received a coupon in a mailer for any variety of shampoo, so I grabbed one on a store promo. As for the body wash, the brand was on promo in an app I use, so I matched it with a store promo to maximize my cash. There is nothing like saving $$ on something you need (as well as trying out products you may not otherwise buy!) by way of combining store, app and coupon promos. My favourites involve all at the same time.
What can I say. I’m a cheap scape.
What spawns this rant is how I come to realize that these products were caffeinated. That is, by way of the labelling being at eye level due to storing my showing bottles on a shelf hung from the showerhead. Though I can’t say that both products DO NOT have the caffeine clearly labelled, it’s just not the first thing that one sees at first glance of the packaging.
With the shampoo, the first thing I saw was Thickening and Shampoo (I don’t want nor need conditioner). The body wash is a little better labelled in its name (Recharge) and in its description (revitalizing body wash), but again, my eyes are not drawn to the bottom grey section of the bottle. They stay exactly where the designers slash marketers want them to remain (3 in 1!). In my defence, though, revitalizing is how every body wash with a strong sent it marketed (mainly to women). And as for recharge . . . again, throw in some menthol and some scrubbing beads and you could make a similar claim.
As for why it annoys me . . . it’s not because of the caffeine content. I enjoy a good cup of coffee or 2 in the morning. It is more because of the possibility that I could have conceivably used these products without ever realizing the caffeine content. This being concerning due to not knowing how much caffeine may or may not be being absorbed into the skin while using these products (particularly the body wash). Not to mention that adding even more caffeine to the cocktail of drugs already polluting the world’s water bodies isn’t exactly a good thing either.
As for WHY caffeine would be in shampoo, I can answer that.
The best known caffeine shampoo is Alpecin, a German product which emerged from a study in 2007. The study showed that caffeine stimulated hair follicles to regrow in a laboratory dish. Researchers developed a shampoo that aimed to repeat this effect on the human scalp.
Does caffeine shampoo work?
It is unclear. Whilst the study above showed that caffeine does stimulate hair growth in a laboratory dish; there is not enough evidence to prove it works with hair on the scalp.
There is a lot of debate surrounding whether caffeine shampoos can actually match the success of this initial study to prevent hair loss. Generally speaking, caffeine shampoos are not endorsed by the medical community to treat hair loss. Instead, most UK doctors recommend medical treatments such as finasteride or minoxidil, which have been proven in clinical trials.
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Clinical evidence for caffeine shampoos
Currently, there is no clinically viable evidence that caffeine shampoos have a long-lasting effect on male pattern baldness. This type of hair loss occurs in men who have a sensitivity to the hormone DHT (a form of testosterone), which causes the hair follicles in the scalp to weaken and shrink. Caffeine shampoo has not been proven to negate the effects of DHT in the long term.
Well, that settles that.
For the record, I didn’t buy thickening shampoo for the purpose of thickening my hair (it does that naturally without help!). I just bought it because it smelled good. But if that IS why you are buying (or maybe influenced to buy) such shampoo, now you know.
As for body washes (well, skincare products):
“The studies that have been done on caffeine have been relatively mixed, [with] some showing an effect and some not,” John G. Zampella, M.D., assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman department of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. In practice, caffeine-containing products have proven to be effective in some situations and ineffective or even detrimental in others.
For instance, if you’re dealing with dark eyes caused by puffiness, caffeine could be a good choice—but maybe not so much if they’re caused by something else. “I wish there was a really great cure for under-eye circles, but not everybody’s are caused by puffiness,” Suzan Obagi, M.D., UPMC dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology and plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, tells SELF. “[Caffeine’s] only gonna help if your issue is puffiness.” (And, tbh, even that data isn’t particularly convincing.)
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As for cellulite, caffeine might help a little. Maybe. In this case, the mechanism is slightly different: In addition to restricting blood vessels, some experts think that caffeine is capable of stimulating the enzymes that break down fat. It’s plausible that this could lead to a reduction in cellulite, and in fact a very small 2015 study in the Annals of Dermatology observed just that.
For the study, researchers had 15 participants apply a caffeine-containing cellulite cream to their thighs and inner upper arms twice a day for six weeks. After that time, 12 of the 15 participants reported that their cellulite had improved. On average, the circumference of their thighs decreased by 0.7 cm and their upper arms decreased by 0.8 cm over those six weeks. But there were some obvious limitations here, including the small sample size and lack of placebo control.
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One thing to keep in mind is that caffeine products aimed at reducing redness can actually cause a temporary increase called rebound redness. Why? Blood vessels that are regularly constricted can go into hyperdrive without their usual dose of caffeine.
“Let’s say you drink coffee every day…then one day you forget to drink your coffee or someone switches it for a decaf, and you get a raging headache,” Dr. Obagi says. “You’re getting that throbbing in your head [because] those [blood] vessels have dilated even more.”
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We know that caffeine is generally pretty good at penetrating the skin barrier and getting absorbed into the bloodstream. So theoretically too much topical caffeine could cause caffeine toxicity, which can be deadly and is mainly associated with powder and other highly concentrated caffeine products.
That last 2 paragraphs are interesting and worth keeping in mind. Though none of it touches on the existence of caffeinated body washes, I think I’m comfortable in saying that most are probably just a gimmick and a cash grab. While it is questionable how much caffeine these products contain (the body wash bottle I bought does not even have an amount listed!), it may be something to take into consideration if you are already a heavy caffeine consumer.
I mentioned earlier that this post may well showcase me as a hypocritical jackass in light of a previous Dr. Oz rant of mine. I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Years ago, he did a segment on his show which started with his concern about a few unexplained sleepless nights he was having. After a few days, he figured out that a flavour of vitamin water that he had been purchasing was the culprit due to its allegedly ambiguously listed caffeine content (MY words. Not his). While I don’t remember the whole segment, I remember finding it funny that he was so ANGRY despite the fact that he, Dr. Oz MD, didn’t read the label.
While it was never made clear what product he was targeting, I’ve suspected for years that it was Glaceau’s Energy (tropical citris) variety. I suspect this since as far as I know, this was the only caffeinated variety of bottled water one could buy. Granted, the American market may vary from the Canadian market.
I am familiar with the beverage because I enjoy having one every so often. I don’t drink it for any health benefits (I don’t have to read the label to know that the sugar content is going to be through the roof). I drink it because it tastes good. Though I am not beyond the occasional energy drink, this is certainly a great alternative. And when I don’t need a boost, Mega C and XXX are a nice thirst quencher.
While this vitamin water can certainly be seen as deceptive in terms of the health claim invoked in the mind by the name (in the advertising world, this is known as puffery), what it is not deceptive about is the caffeine content. The contrasting colour of the word compared to the backdrop jumps out at you, and the amount can easily be found on the other side of the label. A very different way of labelling too the shampoo and body washes I bought.
In my travels, I recently spotted a new variety of Glaceau caffeinated vitamin water-containing ginseng (that isn’t even on the website yet). I have not tried it yet. But more importantly, is America’s favourite heart surgeon going to do another angry segment?
Note: No, this is not an ad for Coca-Cola or its intellectual properties. I just enjoy trashing praised and respected sellouts more than I care about being seen as one myself.
102.) Anti-Maskers / Anti-vaxxers
As this pandemic stretches on past the year-long mark, I’ve come to wonder if early predictions of many waves of infection (were talking 8 or more!) spread over the course of 2 to 3 years may indeed become our reality. I say this not because I am particularly fond of the idea. I say it more because as time goes on, people seem to be less and less willing to sacrifice (properly mask) to keep the infection rate down.
In the last while, its starting to show up in the form of either masks under noses, or though face shields with my masks at all. Though these sheilders tend to come in couples, the party refusing to properly mask is almost always male. And another thing I’ve noticed . . . many males can’t even wait until they are out the door to literally rip the mask off their face.
And these men also probably consider themselves the brawn of the couple! LOL
While most of this activity seems to be limited to groups one would consider most vulnerable to the symptoms of COVID 19, it’s starting to spread. And at least where I live, retailers and regulators seem unwilling to clamp down.
This is unfortunate since I thought everyone was about ready for normalcy right about now. Movies and restaurants and sports and shit. I see it on social media all the time. But then again, I also see shit like this:
If I were to guess, this is likely one of many meme campaigns originating from some foreign-based shit disturbers trying to cause trouble in the world’s liberal democratic nations for the sake of their own nation-state’s economic benefit. Considering that many people will repost almost anything triggering or fitting to their narrative that scrolls past them, it’s akin to shooting fish in a barrel. South Koreans float balloons with pamphlets and thumb drives over the demilitarized zone to reach North Koreans, and enemies of western nations use social media.
The more people that are vaccinated, the closer we get as a global society to herd immunity. However, the more people that refuse the vaccine for any reason (be it legitimate or stupid), the longer that the variants of the original virus are going to continue wreaking havoc on peoples health, on peoples lives, and on the world economy.
I hope I am not going to be wearing a mask for 8 hours a day for the next 2 to 3 more years. But if early indications are indicative of anything, it’s that a few sheep among us may well stretch this pandemic out LONG past what it theoretically had to have been.
Though I blame Trump for the bungled initially American response, the change in leadership (and contrastingly rapid response in getting the vaccination program ramped up to the point of beating Canada’s current response!) has now put the ball in us citizens court.
I am planning on getting my poke. So should you.
103.) The Art of Hoarding / The Artists Dilemma
2020 was an interesting year for the best of us. The aforementioned disease of the last entry kept many people at home. It was a test of the coping skills of everyone involved, and the sooner we can get back to normal, the better.
For me, it was (for the most part) far less unpredictable. And not only was it unpredictable, it was also a time of embracing new activities that I never thought I would EVER embrace. One of them is drawing, but the most notable being painting.
I’ve found that painting creates a new challenge I didn’t see coming, however. It has nothing to do with the challenge of perfecting the art or any of that (my goal isn’t perfecting my art. I’m a writer, after all!). And it’s not even coming up with ideas, either (the world is full of inspiration). The problem I’ve come to face is . . . I only have so many square feet of wall to hang these things!
A family member will not let me throw away any of my first pieces, though they don’t mean all that much to me (they didn’t take much time to create). But as I use bigger canvases and paint more intricate creations, the amount of time spent on each detail (and each painting) now can rival that of a productive writing session. We’re talking 3 to 4 hours.
By the time one finishes one of these projects, you have invested a fair bit of time and energy. As such, you don’t really have the desire to purge any of the old stuff, because it feels akin to grabbing a several thousand-word essay or novel project you have poured countless hours into, and shredding it.
It’s a peculiar dilemma, isn’t it. The inspiration comes, and I have to get the ideas on canvas. But once the inspiration has been realized, I realize that I have yet another one to deal with.
It makes me wonder if the art market was created for the sole purpose of clearing the garages, closets and pantries of artists drowning in their own manifested creations.
104.) Bill Maher
I don’t know if Bill Maher has always been a millennial hating jackass (well, at least in the past 5 to 10 years) or if I’ve just started noticing it upon my increased appreciation of Gen Z (and my relaxation of my annoyance with my own millennial place in this pecking order), but holy man . . .
It’s hard to believe that I once subscribed to HBO just for the privilege of watching his weekly panel. Now, I don’t even always keep up with the youtube segments he puts out on a weekly basis. As for the One Pass that my tivo (and all my previous DVR’s) once had for his show . . . long gone.
Never change, Bill. I am not here to order people into compliance (as seems to be the accepted tone of my generation). But at the same time . . . FUCK YOU. Say what you want about the Snowflake generations post Boomer . . . your cohort raised us. Your cohort cashed in on our shared planet, our shared resources, and now our attention spans. And now, you dare point a finger in mockery and contempt . . .
Sit on this!
Fine, this is more a rant at an ageing cohort than it is a rant towards Bill Maher himself. But I can’t help that he hits the part almost perfectly.