Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Opinion: The Quest for Youth, Beauty and... Cancer?

As I was walking on the treadmill this morning I listened to a health segment showing on Fox News. It was not good news gals! There's a new study out that shows a strong link between occurrences of breast cancer and those lotions we use to keep ourselves looking younger.

Yikes. You should see my bathroom counter! Every time I go to the store I pick up some new cream that promised eternal youth, no wrinkles, slimmer thighs and other miracles. I figure if I mix and match maybe one of them will work.

There's the under-eye stuff that helps minimize puffiness and discoloration. Then there's another that promises no wrinkles and that it's the absolute best, works overnight, I'll be twenty years younger if I use it... Why take a chance on choosing the wrong one?

I "assumed" they were safe since they're made by mainstream companies that must be regulated since they're sold in the United States, right?

Wrong.

Now I hear as I'm drinking my first bottle of water (which according to studies has its own problems), walking on the treadmill to slim those thighs (so much for the thigh slimming cream) and keep the heart healthy, that the stuff I slathered on my face last night and then the other stuff I added this morning might result in breast cancer.

According to the study, many lotions contain estrogen or estrogen related ingredients. The extra estrogen could, and there's the magic word, could, increase the risk of breast cancer.

What's a girl to do to stay looking as young as possible? Can't go get one of those liposuction type things, I'm allergic to pain and my pocketbook is allergic to the cost. I can't go for facials and massages, again it's the pocketbook with a good no-time allocation factor tossed in for good measure.
The medical expert on Fox News, and I apologize for not remembering her name, said she used sunflower oil to moisturize. Yep, straight old sunflower oil right out of the bottle. The kind you find at the grocery store. When Megan Kelly asked her about others, she said olive oil or pretty much any other oil was fine. No chemicals, no preservatives, just straight oil. She said it wasn't sticky or gunky (my paraphrase) when asked.
Hmmm... I don't know about if those with oily skin or skin prone to acne could handle that one.

Here's another startling fact I found when I followed up on the story: "Due to gaping loopholes in federal law, companies can put virtually any ingredient into personal care products. Even worse, the government does not require pre-market safety tests for any of them." (per Skin Deep, see below)

Whoa. I was shocked to say the least. Here I go trusting my government again. I should know better. I am usually pretty good at checking out what goes into my body, I just had a major mental lapse when it came to what I put on my body. Even though I've heard whispers about problems with some ingredients I hadn't given it much thought. I mean, gee, it seems that there's a problem with everything these days!

I decided to do some research of my own on the Internet. As I wandered around reading articles the news got worse. There are studies showing increases in the rate of cancer in those who started using makeup at younger ages! There are articles all over the place, many from respected sources, warning against ingredients in lotions, creams, cosmetics and other products we regularly use to keep ourselves looking good --- on the outside.

Given the choice between an extra wrinkle and laying in a wrinkled bed while getting chemo treatments, I think I'll go with the extra wrinkle on the face. However, it seems I may not have to make that drastic a choice, staving off aging as I can for as long as I reasonably can! There are product choices that don't have the known nasty carcinogens. I'm going to be doing some research and will be finding those products. I found one site (www.cosmeticdatabase.com) that seems to be a good neutral starting place. Below are a few articles I've chosen to help you get started on your own research:

From Cornell University (this is the best of all articles I found, has some great videos)
Breast Cancer - The Estrogen Connection
Cosmetics and More
Ingredients in a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products can mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen. Scientists are concerned that even at low levels, these environmental estrogens may work together with the body’s own estrogen to increase the risk of breast cancer.
http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/research/endocrine/videos/makeup.cfm

Visit www.cosmeticdatabase.com -
Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group.
Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 41,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn't require companies to test their own products for safety.

Other articles:

Pretty Ugly: Cosmetics Ingredients Linked to Breast Cancer?
Author: Karen Barrow
Medically Reviewed On: January 04, 2007
Even at the youngest ages, little girls find their way into their mother’s makeup kit, making a mess of lipstick, eye shadow and mascara on their face. And as girls grow older, they begin the delicate debate with their parents over what type of makeup they can wear and when. However, mothers and fathers everywhere may have one more tool in their arsenal for convincing their daughters to delay that trip to the cosmetics counter.
http://juneauempire.healthology.com/main/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-%20prevention/article4037.htm

Cosmetics Popular With Latinas Linked to Cancer, Other Serious Health Problems
Bill Requiring Cosmetics Companies to Report Use of Hazardous Chemicals Would Protect Salon Workers
SAN FRANCISCO—Several cosmetics products that are popular with Latina consumers have been found to contain ingredients linked to cancer and other serious health problems, according to an analysis of cosmetics ingredients.
http://www.breastcancerfund.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=kwKXLdPaE&b=1745617&ct=1286431

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