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iiserendipityii [userpic]

Amazing Skin Care Article

July 10th, 2006 (04:58 pm)

"The DARK side of beauty" by Rosemary Carstens

We live in a culture that reveres youth and beauty, so it should come as no
surprise that we are especially vulnerable to ads promising that their
products will keep us forever young, forever desirable. But some of those
promises are like Sleeping Beauty's poisoned apple—irresistible on the
outside, but deadly within.

Consider your daily beauty routine: perhaps a moisturizer, a foundation, a
hint of blush, eye shadow, mascara, a bit of lip color, a spritz of perfume.
All across America women perform these daily rituals to look their best. The
only problem? They may also be poisoning themselves a little each day—and a
lot over a lifetime.

An estimated 100,000 synthetic chemicals are currently registered for use in
the US; and fewer than 10% of them have been tested for their effects on
human health. At the same time that an increasingly high number of these
chemicals have found their way into cosmetics, personal care products, and
our environment, breast cancer incidence has risen dramatically—from a
lifetime risk of one in 20 in the 1960's to one in seven today.

"It is unacceptable that cosmetic companies continue to use ingredients that
are breast carcinogens, as well as other toxic chemicals in their
products," says Jeanne Rizzo, RN, executive director of the Breast Cancer
Fund in San Francisco. "We call on the cosmetics industry to phase out their
use of these harmful ingredients."

The American Cancer Society projects 211,240 new cases of invasive breast
cancer among women in the US in 2005 alone, and 40,870 breast cancer deaths,
99.9 percent of them in women. The majority of breast cancer incidents
cannot be explained by hereditary factors, and new studies have put
scientists on high alert about effects of constant exposure to an array of
harmful chemicals over time. Long-term exposure to even very tiny doses,
whether ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, can prove
potentially dangerous.

The two worst offenders

Leading beauty care products frequently contain two classes of synthetic
chemicals known as parabens and phthalates (THAY-lates) that can cause
serious health problems. Parabens are used as preservatives to make products
such as blushes, eye shadows, lipsticks and foundations stay fresh longer,
and to enhance skin absorption. Phthalates are plasticizers and, in
cosmetics, add texture and luster—they make lotions and moisturizers appear
to do a better job, make our skin feel or look smoother, make hairsprays and
nail polishes flexible, and disperse fragrance. The FDA doesn’t regulate the
use of these chemicals in cosmetics and beauty aids, nore does it require
manufacturers to disclose them as ingredients. The so-called “trade secrets
loophole” allows manufacturers to conceal them under generic terms such as

Theo Colborn, PhD, president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange in Paonia,
Colorado, has put together a large database about chemicals that interfere
with the development and function of te endocrine system. She and her staff
review new findings and provide customized information to researchers,
legislators, and other organizations worldwide. Colborn, a highly regarded
environmental health analyst, says, “There is no doubt about the need for
extreme caution in using products that contain papabens and phthalates. Well
over 100 studies since 1992 have demonstrated that these chemicals can
disrupt both male and female hormone function, interfering with the roles of
estrogen and testosterone in animals and in tissue cultures, while other
studies have found intact parabens in human breast tumors.”

The mounting evidence of phthalates’ dangerous effect on male reproductive
development during pregnancy and after birth particularly alarms Colborn.
She notes that a broad spectrum of birth defects and lifelong reproductive
impairments occurred in lab animals exposed to these chemicals. Colborn
cautions women to “learn, read labels, go natural.”

While the individual chemical doses in the cosmetics we use may seem to
minute for concern, the typical US woman applies about 12 products everyday
that together average a staggering 168 ingredients. Jane Houlihan, vice
president of research for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in
Washington, DC, confirms that the risks from multiple exposures add up.
Houlihan warns that the “total risk can be greater than the sum of the parts
[as] some chemicals amplify the risk of companion chemicals.”

Who’s protecting consumers?

The European Union (EU) has taken the international lead in guarding the
public against chemical bombardment in personal and household products. In
2001 it classified the phthalates di-2ethylhexyl (DEHP) and di-n-butyl (DBP)
as substances toxic to reproduction, saying they “should be regarded as if
they impair fertility in humans” and “as if they cause developmental
toxicity in humans.” In 2003 the European Parliament banned reproductive
toxicants such as DEHP and DBP, as well as other carcinogens and mutagens,
in both domestic and imported cosmetics.

In the US, many manufacturers oppose the tighter regulations, in part, no
doubt, to avoid the expense of reformulating scores of products, but
increased pressure from advocacy groups is finally getting results. In 2005
the California State Assembly passed a safe cosmetics act to tighten
regulation and disclosure requirements for known harmful chemicals. Also, US
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (with support of such influential proponents as
Senators John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy) introduced the Child,
Worker, and Consumer Safe Chemicals Act to establish “a safe standard that
each chemical on the market must meet.” The legislation shifts the task of
proving the safety of chemicals from the EPA to the chemical manufacturers.
Colborn warns, however, that “the bill is just the first step toward making
needed changes, and it could be easily undermined by industry lobbyists.”

Several nongovernmental groups are particularly active in the fight for
stronger regulation, labeling with out loopholes, and better public
education about human hazards of this chemical bombardment. Stacy Malkan,
media spokesperson for The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Health Care
Without Harm, frames the groups’ central focus when she says, “The FDA’s
regulatory system needs a complete overhaul when it comes to the regulation,
testing and approval of chemicals. People have a right to know what is in
the products they buy. Cosmetics are amon the least regulated. Our
organizations believe chemical companies should themselves be testing their
products before supplying them to others.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics asked hundreds of cosmetic companies to
sight their Compact for the Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty
Products, which includes a pledge that their products will meet the EU
standards within three years and be free of chemicals known or strongly
suspected of causing cancer, mutation, or birth defects. Although several
major cosmetic companies, including Avon, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Revlon,
Proctor & Gamble, and Unilever had refused to sign the compact as of
September 2005, 175 companies have signed on—among them The Body Shop,
Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face, and Avalon Natural Products—giving hope and
options to those of us who are unwilling to sacrifice our health, yet
unwilling to “go bare.”

Going chemical free

Avalon Natural Products responded to mounting scientific evidence and the EU
legislative actions by beginning, in 2003, to reexamine its ingredients.
According to Morris Shriftman, the company’s senior vice president, Avalon
reformulated more than 80 products in its organic line to eliminate
parabens. It has already excluded synthetic colors and fragrances,
formaldehyde donors (preservatives that precipitate formaldehyde when mixed
with certain common ingredients), and any objectionable ingredients listed
in the EU directive. While the company has yet to reformulate all the
products in its other lines, it continues to review and revise the
ingredients. Avalon has become one of the major financial supporters of the
Breast Cancer Fund and is active in a program to stimulate and encourage the
growth of organic agriculture. Avalon uses only herbal infusions, essential
oils, and plant oils certified on its labels. The company has also rejected
the use of mineral oil and petrolatum because these petroleum-based
ingredients can clog the skin and because petroleum is a nonrenewable

Newer cosmetic companies have taken the high road from the beginning. Five
years ago, Myra Eby founded MyChelle Dermaceuticals in Frisco, Colorado,
after more than two decades of experience in the natural products industry.
“The use of irritating and toxic chemicals in so-called natural skin care
products just didn’t make sense to me,” Eby states. “The body absorbs at
least 60% of whatever is applied topically to the skin.” As a new mother,
Eby wanted skin care products so safe and natural they could be used even on
a baby’s delicate skin. So she set out to create products that are free of
parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, EDTA, urea, and artificial colors
and fragrances.

Even though Avalon and MyChelle—and a slew of other conscientious
companies—have begun offering healthier beauty options, don’t be fooled by
companies who call their products “natural” after adding a few herbs or oils
but whose products are fill with other harmful ingredients. A lot still
needs to be done before cosmetics’ labeling becomes meaningful. Just because
a product is found in a natural foods store, for example, does not
automatically mean it’s safe. You still have to read and analyze the
ingredient list carefully before you buy.

The cosmetic conundrum

While it’s true that a host of cosmetic companies now make a range of skin
care products, where do we go for makeup? Are there any options for those of
us who aren’t ready to follow Theo Colborn’s advice and “go natural”? For
some of us, going natural can feel like “going ugly.” But there are ways to
stay our prettiest and still make safer choices.

One option is to use the searchable Skin Deep database on the EWG website to
find out how the cosmetics tested in its study of more than 10,000 beauty
products rank in harmful ingredients. The site lists health concerns for
each product category and then names the top-10 products to avoid and the 10
best choices. The site also provides detailed information about rating and
ingredients for a full range of cosmetics and skin care products.

Not-so-natural beauties in search of a bit of color should consider using
crushed mineral cosmetics. Unlike most cosmetics, mineral make up consists
of no talc, chemical additives, fragrance, fillers, preservatives, or dyes.
And some products contain natural sunscreens. Also, while the FDA ignores
the chemical ingredients in most cosmetic lines, it does carefully regulate
mineral pigments. All micas anda oxides are manufactured to high standards
of purity in special laboratories.

“While cosmetic manufacturers purchase pigments,” reports Kathleen O’Brien,
president and founder of Alima crushed mineral cosmentics, “it is what
happens with the pigments after their purchase that makes the difference.
Mineral make up is combined with as little as possible. There is no need for
preservatives if the minerals are kept dry and clean in their powdered
form.” Generally applied with a brush, mineral-based foundations, blush and
eye shadows blend a silky whisper of color across your skin that reflects
light and minimizes imperfections—without any harmful side effects.

We do have choices when it comes to beauty aids, and it makes sense to take
a precautionary approach. Search for products that are pure, safe, natural
and organic. We may have to say goodbye to a favored cream or foundation—but
we owe it to ourselves and our children to educate ourselves, choose wisely,
limit the number of products we use, and buy from those manufacturers who
are concerned about safety and quality.

What, after all, is beauty? Who defines and determines who and what is
beautiful? In realtiy, we do. Unfortunately, we are all influenced by media
buzz and marketing hype, by fashion trends and the computer-enhanced images
around us. Many have learned to equate happiness with beauty, rather than
with self-acceptance and emotional and physical wellbeing. But beauty must
genuinely bemore than skin deep—it must be wise and everlasting. In this
millennium, let’s start a new cultural revolution—one that values health as
the true American beauty.

Where Can I Learn More?

The Breast Cancer Fund is extremely well organized nationwide. It works
closely with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and initiates major
fund-raising events to further the cause. For extensive information,
including scientific sources and study reports, plus downloadable posters,
visit www.breastcancerfund.org, or call 415.346.8223.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics seeks to protect consumer and worker health
by pressuring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of known
or suspected harmful chemicals. See which companies have signed the compact
and view posters available to download at www.safecosmetics.org, or call

The Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, DC, specializes in
environmental investigations. EWG does its own laboratory tests to determine
new environmental and health concerns and to find solutions. Access the Skin
Deep report and a searchable database of results from its six-month
investigation into the health and safety of more than 10,000 personal care
product ingredients at www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep, or call 202.667.6982.

iiserendipityii [userpic]

pesto is the besto

March 2nd, 2006 (08:23 pm)

so tonight im making pesto, i havent done it in a while, but i want to have it ready and premade for this weekend. why? you might ask. well, i need it for the risotto im going to be making for myself and the only other non meat eater going up tahoe this weekend. we're going up to go skiing this weekend with a bunch of simons school friends. about 16 people all together i think (the number keeps changing) they decided that the easiest way to deal with food is to buy a bunch of stuff from costco (ewwww!) for breakfast stuff they got muffins, danishes, and bread. (aka, sugar, even more sugar, and processed cardboard) bleh.

Dinner is going to be a bbq, so im gonna make risotto with pesto, and grill some organic eggplant on the side. breakfast will be organic whole wheat flax seed bread, fruit, and maybe eggs. (maybe), lunch for them will be sandwiches mayo, ham/various deli meats, and probably iceburg lettuce (but seeing as thats a vegetable i doubt it will make the cut) ha! lunch for me will be the same delicious organic whole weat flax seed bread, with organic hummus, tofutti cream cheese, thinly sliced red onion and cucumber slices! MMMmmmm!!!! =) makes me so happy. im pmsing hardcore rightnow, and one of the hundreds of the group emails for planning commented on the "meat haters" and i was going "grrrrr" for about half an hour. i wanted to correct her, not meat hater ---> animal lover!!! =) bah, so there, i know she (the main organizer) was trying to be funny, (ha ha) but i wasnt in the mood for it. im goign to do my best not to snap over the weekend. we'll see. heh.

i also got some trailmix today for during the day. it took a while to decide which one, too many options at rainbow. while i was in that corner i discovered the bulk olive oil, dried mushrooms and wasabi powder! =) woo hoo. ive been trying to reuse containers as much as possible and same with the plastic baggies and paper bags. also, i had bought some containers for storing pasta, flour, sugar, etc at home. they were some cool ones with a futuristic looking lid that supposidly seals stuff really well.

well.... it turned out that the bases were made of polycarbonate, which they boast is nearly unbreakable, but what they dont mention is that they have an ingredient called bisphenol-A (BPA) that is an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen and has been linked to aneuploidy, adipogenesis and that drinking water or eating food caontaining BPA can potentially cause chromosonal disruption, miscarriages, birth defects, obesity and other not so fun things. soooo! back to the store i went. returned the expensive death containers, and instead got some safe (albeit breakable) french glass jars with the snap top lids that i can feel and see sealing all the goodness inside. =) yay.

one final recent victory (recent meaning a with in the last 2 months) i found this amazing site that has analyzed thousands of health and beauty products by their ingredients and potential hazards of those ingredients and sorted them by safest to most dangerous. its fantastic (http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep/). you can finally learn what all those long names you cant pronounce are, how bad they are for you and look up better alternatives. a lot of products will boast "natural" or "with essential oils/extracts" but a lot of that can just mean they have one little thing and then the rest is crap. so i looked up my stuff, and decided i didnt want to poision myself little by little.

so i got some new facial cleanser, toner and lotion. since thats mostly what i use. the kind i got was burts bees lemon poppyseed facial cleanser. and oh my fucking god, i love this stuff. not only does it smell like lemon poppyseed cake, but it feels glorious on my skin and leaves me super moisturized. then for toner i got their sensitive rose water one, that smells like my grandmas rose garden, and finally i got 2 lotions. one for the day, their marshmallow vanishing cream, and then their night rose cream. makeup will be the next step, cuz the good stuff is expensive... one extra splurge was their honey milk lotion. silky smooth and smells like coconut =) mmm ok, and one other one because i have no self control in department was their almond milk beeswax hand cream. i know these have some animal biproducts, but i think overall they are better choices, and im doing my best in other depts to improve the environment, so a little lactoperoxidase doesnt gross me out.

alrighty, off to make my pesto =)

iiserendipityii [userpic]

glad rags

March 1st, 2006 (07:36 pm)

so for my last cycle i decided to try glad rags. i went to rainbow and realized, you cant really try, its more like a commitment. you buy a healthy sized set (gauging how many times you need to change a day with your flow) and then you use them for as long as they last. (approx. 5 years according to them). i liked the idea of trying something differnt. and i did a lot of research about pads, tampons, diva/instead cups, etc. ive always been most comfortable using pads in the past, so it wasnt a hard switch for me. infact it was heaven. usually pads can leave me feeling trapped, and the plastic can get itchy or stick.

i bought the organic cotton kind, and when i tried the first one, i thought this is what it must feel like for babies with cloth diapers. (after trying them i dont think i could ever put a disposable on my kids, when i have them someday) you know that feeling you get when you wrap yourself in a big soft blanket, and your all cozy and relaxed. it was like that, but just down there. i loved it, it almost made me sleepy, haha. granted a bit more bulky, but i felt great =) and even better knowing that it will be better for me and for the environment. not to sound like commercial, but i never realy thought about all the trash i was producing by using pads. if you think about it. yuck.

so the other very differnt thing about using glad rags is that you wash them yourself. so that was new. and at first i thought, hmm. ew, but then i thought about it. i dont go ew when i get a bloody nose or a cut. blood is blood and this stuff came from me, so why should it gross me out. so i bought some clear and free natural detergent and washed them by hand, letting them soak first. it was a success and im actualy looking forward to my next period so i can use them again. haha =)

so thats my glad rag story. =)

iiserendipityii [userpic]


December 2nd, 2004 (11:43 am)

so i finally made a live journal and i will do my best to update it. i think it will be nice, because i tend to have some free time at work and when im typing it looks like im working =) so now we can communicate even more =) yay. i love you so much, i was thinking about you all day yesterday and i cried when i read the last entry on sephies birth. you are trully amazing =) im glad that through all our ups and downs we have stayed friends =) and i feel blessed to have you and sephie in my life. now just a warning. i might be posting some really boring things on here. =) sometimes i like to ramble, luckily you have the option to not read it =) haha. i love you babe. let the legacy begin

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