When All Health Breaks Loose…
Nutrients, minerals, vitamins, …where can I get them in foods that I eat? Should I consider taking a vitamin/supplement of some sort? WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT TO ME? This is the kind of stuff that I think about all of the time! For example, if you ever pick up a bag of organic apples that list the nutritional information on the back of the bag, you don’t typically see too much on there–about five grams of fiber in a medium-sized apple, 80-90 some calories, practically no protein, and the vitamin C isn’t as high of my daily percent intake that I need (in my experience, I’ve seen between 10-20% per apple). So why eat an apple when I could simply have one glass of orange juice to get even more vitamin C, in fact, all the vitamin C that I would need for that day? That’s what The NutriScoop section is all about!
“What the Hell is a Paraben and Why Do I Care?” January 16th, 2013.
Originally, for this title, I was going to put “What the Hell is a Paraben and Why Should I care?” Seriously, think about–when you see some product, whether it is a makeup, deodorant, face wash, body scrub, astringent, or whatever–if it says paraben-free, you are more inclined to purchase the product, no? Yes, you are. You suddenly develop a reason to give a shit. Odds are that you do, anyway–and if not, then please share with me how you are able to regularly remind yourself (and enforce such behavior) that this is all just clever advertising and wording to suck you into making a purchase…because unfortunately, I have always been gullible, and probably will be for the rest of my days–despite my efforts :p. What can I say, people with pretty faces, flowery language, and catchy background music are hard not to trust. Just kidding. Seriously, I am really joking there.
Anyway, when shopping for anything beauty and/or cosmetics-related, your first thought probably isn’t “omigosh, need to make sure it’s paraben-free!”, or is it? Honestly, until products started putting such disclaimers on their packaging, I had no idea what a paraben even was. Actually, I still don’t know what it is–which is why I figured I would do a little research, since I have a feeling that I’m not the only one. Rumor has it that it’s good to purchase products that are fragrance-free because it can irritate skin, among many other ingredients that can be harmful to one’s skin and innards, but why the F do I suddenly care about whether or not my face wash is paraben-free?
According to Google Define (as in, go to google and type in the search bar: “define ____” and it will give you one or multiple definitions of the word from various sources), a paraben is defined as “any of a group of compounds used as preservatives in pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and in the food industry.” So, basically, in Grace language, paraben is just a fancy word for preservatives that are used in products that typically aren’t edible, like body wash, unless you’re into that sort of thing…then you have bigger problems and I would highly suggest that you go see a therapist.
Of course, all of us are very capable of going into google and typing in “WHY ARE PARABENS BAD? WTF?”, so in an attempt to find a more reliable source/study to refer to, I decided to search for the reasons for this by using databases that my school provides specifically for students, and all of the articles have been published (and most have been peer-reviewed) by valid, reliable sources.
Well, a variety of articles came up–and just for fun, here are the titles of some of the articles that popped up:
“The Perils of Parabens“
“US Industry Panel Says Parabens Are Safe“
“Brussels Plots Parabens Restrictions In Cosmetics“
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…(apparently, that’s how you spell “etc.”, so I thought I’d just be all kinds of classy and shit by sharing that with you. Okay, by adding the word “shit” to that last sentence, I realize that all class was thrown out the window, but whatever. You’ll be okay.)
Sadly, of the three articles I listed, I was only able to access the first article for free, but it had a good chunk of fairly interesting information–of which I would like to share with you, because really–if we are putting shit like this on our skin, knowingly, willingly, or not, we should at least know what it is. As human beings, I think that we should be entitled to such information and that such insight should be made easily accessible, not something available only to those with thick wallets and fancy credit cards.
In the article titled “The Perils of Parabens”, here is some key information regarding the dangers of parabens, which again are a type of preservative to help make products last:
“Chemicals in Our Beauty Products Linked to Breast Cancer” by Lindsey Blomberg, from The Environmental Magazine; the November/December 2012 issue.
“Parabens are widely used as germ-fighting preservatives in a number of cosmetics and personal care products including deodorant, shampoo, makeup, lotion and toothpaste.Methylparaben and propylparaben are the most common, each appearing in well over 10,000 of the 25,000 products in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic-analyzing database. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, parabens are known to disrupt hormone function — an effect that is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic the female sex hormone estrogen (which plays a central role in puberty and reproduction) by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.
Earlier this year, a comprehensive study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Technology showed evidence of a correlation between parabens and incidences of breast cancer. Researchers from the University of Reading in the UK found that virtually all of the breast cancer tissue samples collected from women participating in the study contained at least one paraben, and more than half of the samples contained no less than five parabens.”
So, maybe those girls who are all anti-well, anti-perspirants aren’t so crazy for having a little stink up in their pits after all. Even when I worked at a cosmetics counter, one of the older counter managers, we’ll call her Mary, told me how she was sure to use only deodorants rather than anti-perspirants because she had heard about how they caused breast cancer; in all honesty, I was more of a punk-ass back then than I am now (the punk-ass-ness has lessened now, I promise) and thought she was just a weirdo with odd superstitions. In reality, she was just concerned about her well-being–something I have just begun to care about within the past few years. Since I’m young still, I like to think that although I can’t reverse damage I’ve already done to my body–such as my liver (sorry, buddy–thanks for hanging in there still!)–I can at least help prevent any future damage. After all, this is the only vessel I’ve got to work with–and I’d like to live as long as possible to piss people off (and to inspire…obviously…hence the blog…but some people just suck and deserve a verbal can of whoop-ass) until the end of my days . AGAIN, anyway–I was going to apologize for getting off task, but if you’ve read any of my other posts, you will realize that this will be a regular occurrence and you will just have to make due, or complain to me (or even offer suggestions–positive or negative–I am all for constructive criticism and feedback!) on here via comment or through my e-mail account, which is firstname.lastname@example.org . (Hey, I need to know if you like what I have to say or not–because if not, then I would sincerely like to provide you lovely readers [I mean that with sincerity] with information you actually give a shit about, or at least find humor somewhere in there–some people seem to think I am funny…not sure if they are laughing at me or with me, but in most situations…I think I would prefer not to know lol.)
I tried to open up the articles of the other two titles I listed, but unfortunately I was unable to access them and could not discover a way to do so–well, I could not find a way to get the articles for free, but even so, just looking at the titles alone, I find it kind of funny the good ol’ U.S. of A. says that parabens are supposedly okay, but then Brussels decided to work on banning the ingredients because they are apparently toxic to one’s health? Guess the US will do all it can for the almighty dollar, whereas other countries don’t mind making a few bucks less as long as they can help improve the quality of life for their people. That is a slight exaggeration on this subject, and I should do a little more research on it so I sound less like an asshole (but mostly because I am intrigued), but in articles I’ve read comparing the United States to other countries in regards to matters of education, welfare, government, and so on…it seems to me that we just want “mo’ money”. Don’t get me wrong–other countries like money as well, I’m sure, but even when it comes to illnesses, such as diabetes, it seems like the FDA APPEARS TO BE more concerned about giving drug companies approval for pills that supposedly have magical abilities to “cure” (or minimize/reduce the effects of) diabetes rather than to try to implement programs or provide free seminars open to the public regarding health–from nutrition, lifestyle (i.e. smoking), to fitness and beyond. Then again, the drug industry is worth far too many billions of dollars for the FDA to deny, whereas providing such education may cost nearly a fraction of that, but wo if even, but such knowledge doesn’t generate the funds that life-threatening illnesses do. *Sighs at corporations and corrupt government institutions*.
So parabens? Yes, you should care whether or not they’re in your products–but not just parabens, you should really look into all of your products and see if they have harmful ingredients–from shower soaps, face washes, makeup, lotion, and so on–to see if they are safe for you and your family to use in the long run. (Side-note, gluten is typically not used in makeup, so be sure to watch out for disclaimers like that. It’s like saying “dairy-free almond milk”. Well, no shit it’s dairy-free–it’s almond milk…) I’m not trying to freak you out and make you feel obligated to throw everything you own away that isn’t “organic” or “au naturale”, because obviously:
1) that’s unfair, even I am still working on revamping my makeup and skincare collections,
2) unrealistic–even if my toothpaste was not eco-friendly, by god I will use my toothpaste because I just ate garlic and I will not make my classmates suffer the consequences, and
3) we don’t all have deep pockets. In addition, we don’t all necessarily have the time to research what goodies we should use and what naughties we should be certain to ignore.
I’m not saying that this method will work for you, but what I’ve been doing is, when I have the time to, researching types of products I will need to buy relatively soon and look into recommendations that online references, books, or professionals (if given the opportunity–i.e. dermatologists) provide. For example, I love my Barbasol shaving cream (which now goes by the name of “Pure Silk”, just FYI), but I honestly am not sure if it’s the best for my skin–for all I know, it might have some shit intended to dry my skin out, making my skin feel dry in the shower, or something, which in turn makes me feel like putting on even more dollops of shaving cream than necessary. That means I’d run out of shaving cream sooner, meaning I’d have to buy more in a timely manner–and if I liked that specific brand, I would then purchase from that brand once again. Lifelong customers are how businesses like that make their money. Anywho, as I was saying, once I’m starting to get low on a product, I’ll look online, see the reviews of Barbasol’s shaving cream ingredients (for example) and keep an open eye for any article titles or phrases that stick out–like, “Shaving cream X has _____ ingredients in it, which is known to increase risks of skin cancer”, or something along those lines. Be sure to double-check the sources though to make sure it is from a reputable source and not sponsored from the company’s internal research team. Like, the Corn Refiners Association says high fructose corn syrup is okay…but we’re not idiots, we know otherwise. And honestly, as my dermatologist recently told me, odds are you can find health-friendly products within a reasonable price range at your local drugstore–big brand names or boutique-esque lines typically just add extra decorative detail and frilly bows on the packaging to make you think that you’re getting something safer and better than any drugstore could ever provide. Also, think about it–just because one lotion is full of ingredients you can’t even pronounce costs $2 less than one that is known to be promising, is saving that $2 really all that more important to you, or is your health? Sure, the extra dollar or two here and there will add up, but all it really means is you’ll just have to hold off on getting that box of Franzia for another week.