A few months ago, I was listening to the Yolanda Adams morning show. Actually, I happened to catch the tail end of her Wellness Wednesday show. She shared with her viewers the importance of limiting the use of parabens in their personal products because of her own personal experience.
One of our contributing writers, Nancy Yilk, owner of Optimum Health, spoke about the importance of using paraben-free products. This subject was discussed in our October 2009 e-mail newsletter. Once again, I would like to share Nancy’s article on this subject.
So What are Parabens?
Parabens are used to extend shelf life in products such as shampoos and personal body care products from shaving cream to lotion. What I often refer to as our personal jams, jellies, lotion and potions, items that we use on our skin to keep us looking good and keep us clean. Parabens are found in toothpaste, used as a food additive, and are found in products such as pharmaceuticals and even added to health food products. Parabens widely used, are not hard to find in products that you use daily throughout your home. Concerns surrounding parabens are that daily chemical use on a minute-by-minute case is giving us an over- exposure. Parabens broken down to their chemical structure (as our body breaks them down) mimics the structure of estrogen in our body. So much so, that our bodies mistake these chemicals for estrogen and receptors on our cell membranes are locking onto these artificial chemicals. That causes hormonal disruption. Natural hormones produced by our body move in and out of the cell receptors as needed. These chemicals from personal health care products appear to accumulate in tissue at unnatural and unsafe levels.
Eighteen years ago, I began making efforts to share with clients the health risks of chemicals called parabens found in personal care products. I first became aware of them when breast cancer researchers were identifying them with breast cancer. There was a PBS documentary called, “Exposures” hosted by Olivia Newton -John that reported to the public the concern. Unfortunately, over the last two decades, more clients came to me looking for paraben-free products because they were dealing with hormonal cancers. Many felt frustrated that information of the health risks of parabens had not reached them earlier. Universally, they felt they could have easily chosen differently if they had known the risk of parabens and the benefits of a paraben-free product.
When it comes to these chemicals, experts are divided on the discussion and the public is concerned that their best interests are not being kept in mind. The public is definitely taking the side of caution, voting on the issue with their dollars. Consumers are re-assessing any product with parabens and actively seeking alternatives. Bottom line is this; it is a concern that is not going away and it affects not just your clients, but you too. as salon owners. Your exposure is even higher, putting you at even greater risk than the public as you have your hands in these products daily.
Salon owners, think of it this way, our skin is what separates us from each other… it makes me, me and you, you. However, you must look at your skin the way your body uses it. Your skin cells are epithelial cells which are the type of cells not just on our outside skin, but are the same type of cells that run the entire pathway of our internal mucosal barrier from our mouth and digestive tract, to our bowels. This is why the skin is the largest organ in the body. Our skin is not what separates us from the world it is what connects us to the world and lets the rest of our body know what is safe or threatening to us. The primordial chemical fact of how our body communicates to its environment cannot be avoided. It is this communication that globally tells all our other body cells what is going on… whether we are exposed to a toxin found in nature or a raindrop that nourishes.
What’s being added to the mix of this time- tested communication is the fact that when you add up all the synthetic chemicals that are considered “within normal limits” allowed in our air, water and food source it equates to over sixteen pounds ANNUALLY. Since our creation, the human body has never before encountered these levels of synthetic chemicals. We have been exposed and over-exposed for just the last 50 years. Think of the fact that we’ve had dairy in the diet for a couple of thousand years and the human body has yet to mutate to fully handle dairy, so there is a legitimate concern of the over burden of these multiple chemicals. So, with all this in mind, you can bet your bottom dollar that clients are looking for sources of healthier choices of products across the line, from their foods to their shampoos.
Your clients are people who have the discretionary dollars to invest in their appearance and you can bet they are also investing in their health as well.
In closing, the goal is to limit products that contain parabens and introduce paraben-free products into your life. Let’s be real; you would go crazy trying to eliminate everything that is bad for you. Do your best, educate yourself and change one thing at a time for your health’s sake.