Can Ant Oil Really Reduce Hair Growth?

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Rozy says There is this product called Tala Ant Egg oil, sounds fishy to me, but I am wishing it to be true!

The Right Brain replies:

Just when we thought we d heard it all, here comes the invasion of the ants. Tala s Ant Egg oil is one of several products that claims to use the oil recovered from crushed ant pupae to reduce hair growth. In addition the Tala product claims to be tested with doctors and completely safe with no side effects. Is this product excell-ant or just ant-agonizing?

What is Ant oil?

We re cosmetic chemists, not entomologists, but as far as we ve been able to figure out Ant egg oil is really furan-2-carbaldehyde which also known as Furfural. Apparently this stuff is a red brown liquid and it has a sour fragrant ant smell. That s surprising considering that Furfural is used in cosmetics as a fragrance additive! Maybe that s not a problem since furfural can also be derived from several non-ant sources including wheat bran.

Regardless of the source, we couldn t find ANY published data suggesting it s effective in reducing hair growth. If this product was tested with doctors as Tala states then results haven t been published in any of the standard peer reviewed data bases. (As always, if someone can find a legitimate study to the contrary we d be happy to revise this post to reflect the new data.)

Is Ant Egg Oil safe for skin?

Not only does furfural (apparently) not reduce hair growth but this stuff may not be that good for your skin. It s a known skin irritant (at high concentrations) and long term exposure can lead to skin allergy and increased sunburn. Even worse, there s some concern that it may have carcinogenic properties. As a fragrance additive, furfural is typically used levels are around 0.036%. A safety study reported by the SCCNFP (SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE ON COSMETIC PRODUCTS AND NON-FOOD PRODUCTS INTENDED FOR CONSUMERS) says that The maximum exposure stated by RIFM does not represent any significant cancer risk. However, the exposure should not be increased. Use levels in ant egg oil creams are substantially higher than this since its the first ingredient listed in the ingredient list. In other words, there s not much to worry about if it s in your perfume at very low levels but it s not a good idea as a main component in a skin creme.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

I can t find ANY research which indicates ant egg oil has an effect on hair growth but I do find at least one report indicating that there are some potential dangers associated with using it on the skin at high concentrations. I d stick with a product like Vaniqua which is proven to slow the growth of facial hair on women.

Ant Egg Oil Ingredients:

Ant Egg Oil, Aqua,Glyceryl Stearate (and) Ceteareth-20 Ceteareth-12( and) Cetearyl Alcohol(and)Cetyl Palmitate,Herbal Extract,Dicaprylyl Carbonate,Hexyldecanol &Hexyldecayl Laurate, Glyceryl monostearate,Glycerin,Prpyle Glycol,Dimethicone, Fragrance,Phenoxiethanol,1-2-dibroma-2,4-dicyanobutane and CIT/MIT, Chamaemelum arvensis

References:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_risk/committees/sccp/documents/out279_en.pdf

http://healthmad.com/alternative/health-benefits-of-ant-oil/

Image credit: Amazon.com

Do you want to buy Ant Egg Oil cream? Probably not. But if you click the link below and then buy ANY product, the Beauty Brains receive a small commission which helps defray some of the costs of running our website. Thank you!

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Determining a Food Allergy

By Cricky Long for The Dog Daily

Mimi Drew had her dog Charlie for a little more than a year when he got his first ear infection. She took him to the vet, who sent Charlie home with ointment and a round of antibiotics.

After many trips to the vet over a nine-month period to treat chronic ear infections and itchy skin, Drew began to do some research. She ultimately traced Charlie s symptoms to a rare canine food allergy: beef. I was surprised that my vet didn t even consider food allergies when Charlie had those symptoms, Drew says. We could have spared Charlie a lot of suffering not to mention the vet bills I could have avoided.

Her vet was not necessarily to blame. Canine food allergies are not very common and, like human allergies, can be tricky to diagnose dogs often do not show any immediate symptoms. A dog that s allergic to a certain ingredient, such as soy, may remain symptom-free for years before experiencing any related problems.

When it comes to food allergies, it helps to know what to look for. According to Alexander Werner, DVM, of the Animal Dermatology Center, the signs are:

  • Chronic/recurring ear infections
  • Itchy face and paws
  • Hair loss, especially around the eyes

These symptoms can almost always be attributed to other issues. However, once you ve ruled everything else out, consider discussing the possibility of a food allergy with your vet.

How to Tell
The simplest way to determine if your dog has a food allergy is to put your pup on a hypoallergenic food-elimination diet. Kimberly Carvalho, DVM, says you should pick a novel protein source that your dog has never had before and feed it for six-to-eight weeks. For example, a commercial lamb and rice formula works well if your dog did not previously eat this combination much before.

Carvalho advises that your dog must not have access to any other food, such as table scraps, bones or treats during the trial period. She also recommends transitioning your dog gradually by mixing small amounts of the new flavored food in with your dog s old standby until you are feeding exclusively the new food.

At the end of the trial period, provided your dog s symptoms are gone, try feeding your dog its original diet. If a food allergy is to blame, symptoms will return within two weeks. If this does happen, go back to the food that you used during the trial. If your dog s symptoms still have not cleared up, and you have ruled out other causes, keep trying different flavors until your dog s symptoms disappear. Usually you can stick with your favorite pet food brand throughout the process. If your dog previously ate beef and veggies, try chicken and rice, or vice versa, depending on your dog s prior diet.

Dr. Carvalho also points out that once you ve successfully concluded the trial and gotten your dog s allergies under control, it is important to reintroduce treats one at a time, waiting six to eight weeks each time you introduce a new treat flavor, to make sure it does not lead to an allergic reaction again.

While food allergies can be frustrating for pet owners and no doubt, even more frustrating for dogs they are solvable. So continue with the suggested feeding techniques until you find a food combination that agrees with your dog.

Cricky Long is the author of The Complete Cat Organizer and The Complete Dog Organizer, as well as several other guidebooks for pet owners.

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