Skin Care and Treatments of Melbourne Dermatology - Quack: Chiral Skin Care by Charlatans

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Quack: Chiral Skin Care by Charlatans

Quack: Chiral Skin Care by Charlatans

Recent cosmetic literature contains a fair amount of discussion about "chirality" of compounds.

Many of these writings are unclear, confusing and even misleading.

Extensive research of the medical literature base yielded the following information and conclusions.


First of all, we should explain chirality.

This term simply refers to the rotation of a compound composed of a long string of molecules about an axis.

These long and winding strings of molecules may be rotated, in some instances, to the right and, in others, to the left.

The sum of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and other molecules within two chiral compounds is the same, although these identical number of molecules are arranged slightly differently in space.

These compounds are called "enantiomers" of each other, meaning they have the same number of each type of molecule but are configured in a slightly different way in space.

Most simply stated, chiral compounds are not symmetrical. They cannot be superimposed directly upon their own mirror image.

A simple illustration of chirality is right and left-handedness.

The right and left hands of any given individual are not exactly alike, each containing unique patterns, lines, and tissue prominences, and, if laid on top of one another, do not fit within the same image.

Yet, even though different and, certainly, not exact matches, they are both useful to individual functioning.

Likewise, many other body parts are not symmetrical.

Considering rotational axis of biochemical compounds within the body, amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) are, in general, of L-chirality or rotated to the left. Here, "L" or "levo" refers to left.

Sugars, on the other hand, which are used to build the genetic code of DNA, are of D-chirality or rotated to the right. "D" refers to "dextro" or right.

Most chemicals (for example, enzymes) synthesized within the body are of L-rotation.

This L-rotation has been speculated to occur as a relationship to the earth’s rotation when early life began and also to relate to the rotation of groups of serine, an amino acid.

However, biological systems, including humans, recognize and use compounds with varying chirality.

This probably relates to the efficiency of life’s survival mechanisms and the ability of organisms to utilize a variety of substances in their environments.

Within organisms, occasionally a receptor site (for example, a receptor site for a specific molecule in the intestine) will recognize either the D form or the L form more efficiently.

Occasionally, a drug is slightly more efficient if it possesses only one of these chiralities.

These, however, are very minor differences and sometimes so academic they make no practical difference in the real world of biochemical functioning.

Since organisms on earth tend to synthesize more of the L-rotated compounds, a skin care product obtained from plant sources will contain the vast majority of its compounds in L-form.

Another fact to realize is that there is always some shift back and forth in nature between the L-form and D-form.

It is nearly impossible to keep only one rotation in solution at any given time.

This means that, even if a substance is advertised as being "chirally pure", it cannot be since nature causes some of it to constantly shift back and forth between its own enantiomers.

Thus, it is not necessary to have a "chirally pure" skin product.

Furthermore, nature will make it impossible for such a product to exist for even a nanosecond.

A "racemic" or chirally mixed substance is not harmful.

Biochemical systems are able to use and recognize a variety of enantiomers because of survival efficiency.


The dialogue individuals enter into regarding this topic doesn't actually resolve a problem to produce a better outcome because "molecule rotation" is a non-issue to begin with.

The only people benefiting from skin care product chirality are charlatan pseudoscientific skin care manufacturers, and beauticians who relish the opportunity for therapeutic legitimacy, just so long as its unaccountable and presented in a bewildering manner.

Skin care brands employing clinical mystique include:

These brands may well have their benefits... chirality just isn't one of them.

If you enjoy chiral skin care, you'll adore oxygen skin care.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Thalidomide Chirality

Thalidomide is racemic.

One enantiomer is effective against morning sickness while the other is teratogenic.

Unfortunately, in this case administering just one of the enantiomers to a pregnant patient does not help as the two enantiomers are readily interconverted in vivo.

Thus, if a person is given either enantiomer, both the D and L isomers will eventually be present in the patient's serum.

Friday, 21 December 2007

D and L Alanine

D and L Alanine

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