Are your cosmetics safe?

Are your cosmetics safe?

The Paraben Paradox- clarifying a very controversial topic
By: Carrie E. Pierce


Many Menopausal women have asked about the paraben controversy currently sweeping the cosmetics industry. There is so much misinformation swirling about this issue, it’s difficult to tell what the truth actually is.

Parabens are the most commonly utilized preservative system in the United States. The parabens are designated as methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, and parahyroxybenzoate and stem from a family of chemicals called alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. They are petroleum derived.
During 1977 approximately 30 % of all cosmetic formulations registered with the FDA utilized parabens as preservative.
Water has been the only ingredient used with more frequency in cosmetic formulations.

Parabens are known to be broad-spectrum antimicrobials and they are deemed safe for use; shown to be nonirritating, nonpoisonous, stable over the pH range. They are also non-sensitizing.
Parabens are used in very tiny amounts within cosmetic formulations in a range usually from 0.2 to 0.5% for methylparaben and approximately 0.1% for propylparaben.

They’ve been widely used since the early 1900s and have appeared in thousands of products ranging from cosmetic preparations to pharmaceutical medicines.
Other preservatives such as urea and quaternarium/quaternary ammonium compounds cannot be represented in such a benign way.

The current hullabaloo surrounding these little molecules started in Europe during 2004. An English toxicologist published a study stating that she had found paraben residues in cancerous breast tumors.
She also stated that there was strong evidence indicating that these paraben residues came from parabens that were applied to the skin, not consumed via mouth.

Although there were several proven flaws in her study, the study was published and widely circulated throughout the world.

Numerous agencies built upon the study’s incorrect findings and circulated misinformation. Soon, it became widely believed that parabens cause breast cancer.

By 2005, scientists began to publish opinion pieces on the European study, evaluating paraben safety as it relates to breast health.

As there were many faults contained in the original European study it was important to dispel the myths.
This has proven a tough task, as folks have run scared, and some cosmetic companies are doing all they can to keep the fear raging- because they are profiting from it.’

The original study was fundamentally flawed on several levels:

#1: The toxicologist performing the original study, looked at only 20 breast tumors; an extremely small group of tissue samples.

#2: There was no control group. The toxicologist failed to study healthy tissue samples to look for paraben residues in them.
Had she, she would’ve found them.

#3: No mention was made that methyl- and propylparaben are the primary preservative systems for chemotherapy drugs.
Of course these tumors contained traces of paraben residue! If any of the tumor donors had received chemotherapy, it was a given that their tumors would show traces of paraben residue.

#4: No one studied the lifestyles of the tumor donors. Perhaps they had participated in hobbies or occupations that exposed them to other more potent sources of parabens, aside from just cosmetics preparations.

#5: The study claimed that the source of the paraben found in the breast tumors came from underarm deodorants/ antiperspirants.

The SCCP (Scientific Committee on Consumer Products) makes the point that approx. 98% of deodorant and antiperspirants do not contain parabens.

So, what does all this mean to the dazed and confused consumer?

It has been concluded that there is little evidence that parabens cause/are linked to breast cancer, especially when taking into consideration their very weak estrogen mimicking potential.

(Parabens are one thousand to one million times weaker than naturally occurring estrogenic compounds and also weaker than soy.)

It is acknowledged that parabens are capable of penetrating the skin, though not to the degree that folks seem to think. When paraben penetrates the skin it is not stored in the body but is rather turned into a metabolite that is incapable of becoming estrogenic.

Another point to consider: methyl and propylparaben do not release formaldehyde gas when the product containing those parabens is used. Many other preservatives do.

It makes sense to demand that the cosmetics industry work to develop naturally derived preservative systems so that we can do away with outdated, petroleum-derived preservatives.

Yes, it is far better to use products that are formulated from natural ingredients that are recognized by the body: ingredients that our bodies have evolved with, throughout history.

The bottom line at this stage is simply this, in my professional opinion:
Until all companies are required to use only naturally-derived preservatives, as a professional who has studied this topic in-depth, I have no problem using a preservative system that: doesn’t release formaldehyde gas, is stable over the pH range, kills yeast, fungus AND mold, is deemed safe enough for use in IV medicine and is less of an estrogen mimicker than soy. Like it or not… agree with it or not… Methyl and Propyl paraben fits this bill.

Cellulite Treatment – Really?

Reducing Cellulite – Is It Even Possible?
Expert’s Name:  Carrie Pierce


Medical Researchers have just begun to unravel cellulite’s dark mysteries, and the findings are both encouraging- and discouraging.

Cellulite is quite common in women- but can even be found in some unlucky men and a few teenage girls. It also worsens with the onset of menopause- and it is only now becoming clear as to why exactly this is.

What researchers have recently discovered about cellulite- and Menopause-sheds new light on the subject and provides key insights formerly missing from the equation.

It’s long been known that cellulite can exist in women who have as little as 15% body fat. Consequently because of this phenomenon it is incorrect to think of cellulite as merely ‘a fat person’s issue’ or that cellulite is just ‘fat’ in general terms.

It’s well documented that cellulite (also known as localized lipodystrophy) is a condition marked by a very telltale ‘orange peel’ dimpling of the skin on the hips, thighs and buttocks of folks suffering from this condition. What is often not known is that cellulite can also form on the chest, back of the neck, stomach and back of the arms.

But how does this unsightly and unsettling condition begin- and why does it get worse after menopause?

The body contains three layers of fat. It is the top layer of fat (the subcutaneous layer) that is affected by cellulite. This subcutaneous layer is comprised of fibrous connective tissue that resembles fine mesh. These fibers are known as septae.

Septae serve to form chambers in the skin that house fat cells and keep these fat cells tightly compacted. This compact fat then serves to provide insulation and structural support to the body.

New scientific findings reveal that PRIOR to menopause, cellulite is actually a condition comprised of two basic issues: Decreased microcirculation deep in the skin tissues- and inflammation caused by free radical buildup and insufficient lymphatic drainage.

There are also other possible conditions and circumstances that serve to exacerbate the condition. Some of these include: poor diet/sluggish digestion/no exercise/too much exercise and/or undiagnosed food sensitivities.

AFTER menopause however, another factor kicks in to greatly exacerbate the condition. This factor being: the dreaded hormone imbalances that accompany the menopause process-chiefly excess estrogen.

We’ll take a closer look at this hormone connection in Part Two- and we think you’ll be amazed at what you learn!

Anti-Aging Skin Care

Anti-Aging Skin Care

Expert’s Name: Suzanne Monroe
Skin Health
Your skin is your largest organ. While the skin protects the body, it also is a window to your internal system. If something is out of balance internally, like your hormones for example, your skin usually shows it. Because the skin acts as a barrier between your organs and the outside world, it can take a beating, especially during your menopausal years. Beginning as early as your 40’s or your peri-menopausal years, you may begin to notice a difference in your skin from the changes in estrogen taking place in your body. Acne may suddenly reappear, something you may not have had since puberty, dry flakey skin, unexplained rashes and wrinkles can all start to take over your once smooth and supple skin. Don’t panic! There are many natural steps you can take to help keep your skin vibrant, healthy and nourished both from the inside and the outside.

Naturally Nourished Skin

Water  If you do not drink enough water, your skin will show it. Water is important for all organs, even those we can’t see. Stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. If you suffer from dry skin, 90 ounces may be necessary.

Gamma Linoleic Acid  Evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant oil all promote skin health and may even help to alleviate some of the other symptoms that come with awlong with hormone imbalance. Choose one or even use a combination of all three to keep your skin healthy.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Fish, fish oil, flax seed and walnuts are all full of Omega 3s. These essential fatty acids are important for skin health. If you cannot eat 3 servings of coldwater fish per week, consider supplementing with fish oil. Make sure it is of high quality and without mercury.

Non-toxic skin care products  Many skin care products, meant to keep skin healthy, actually damage the skin with drying agents and chemicals. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, there is a high likelihood that it is a chemical. Just as concerning as the foods you eat, so, too are chemicals in skin care products. Some typical skin care ingredients to avoid include: parabens, propylene glycol, and petrolatum. Choose products like Vitamin E oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil or aloe vera, either fresh from the plant or in a product with a high concentration and few added ingredients.

There are many steps you can take to preserve your skin before and after menopause. It is never too late (or too early) to help slow down the aging process and protect your largest organ by taking a look at your diet and beauty routine! Small changes can make a big difference in the severity or frequency of menopausal skin symptoms.

Anti-Aging Skin

Anti-Aging Skin

Anti-Aging Skin Care
Expert’s Name:  Carrie Pierce

Aging happens- if we’re lucky!

It’s a normal -and necessary- part of being alive.

From a cellular point of view, aging takes place via these three classifications:

  • Intrinsic Aging (cellular aging that happens normally through metabolism/cellular lifespans)
  • Photo Aging (aging that happens due to sun exposure)
  • Environmental Aging (aging that happens because of the toxins found in our environment and lifestyle ie: cigarettes, alcohol, extreme weather conditions, pollution, etc.)

Much of the changes seen in a woman’s skin as she ages are actually due to oxidative processes- or the internal ‘rusting’ that takes place as the body becomes long on toxic overload and short on antioxidants.

It’s now becoming well known that hormones play a significant role in the maintenance of beautiful, healthy skin, hair and nails- and as Menopause sets in, hormone imbalances begin to take their toll;

Hair growth slows and the hair thins, the skin becomes less elastic and there is noticeable loss of elastin and collagen, the skin becomes dry and prone to damage- even acne can occur in women who have never had this issue.

Most of the skin changes that occur during Menopause can be traced back to estrogen deficiency.

Estrogen plays a very crucial role in skin health- and in maintaining that ‘youthful’ appearance we all know, love and crave.

It’s thought that decreasing estrogen can bring with it thinning and drying of the skin-which in turn produces bagging, sagging and wrinkling.

Estrogen works to maintain the fatty structural layer of the skin (the subcutaneous layer) – and it is this layer that is responsible for keeping wrinkles at bay- and the skin moist and youthful appearing.

Collagen is the primary building block of the subcutaneous layer- and estrogen keeps collagen happy.

This hormone also impacts breast health and appearance, as well as being responsible for vaginal dryness and painful intercourse, when it’s lacking.

During menopause, estrogen levels can drop off rapidly, causing as much as 2% of collagen -per year in some studies- to be lost.

The loss of this collagen causes the skin’s elastic fibers to segment, leaving sagging in its wake, and as we know, sagging skin is a chief complaint cited by women in Menopause!

Unfortunately, Menopause accelerates and advances numerous skin changes.

The Most Common Menopause-Related Changes in Skin:

  • Decreased skin strength and integrity
  • Poor wound healing
  • Discolorations
  • Excessive dryness
  • Decreased skin plumpness
  • Decreased elasticity
  • Excessive facial hair
  • Acne development

If you’re finding yourself suffering with any- or all- of these Menopause-related skin issues, take heart! There is hope…

In our next article, we’ll take a closer look at what can be done to rectify these issues, and get you back on track to healthy, happy, radiant skin—despite your Menopause journey!

Skin Aging – What You Can Do

Skin Aging – What You Can Do

Natural Anti-Aging
Expert’s Name:  Carrie Pierce

The skin is a very complex -and incredible- organ.
Living, breathing and renewing, it serves as the body’s second bowel, third kidney and third lung.

Consisting of –basically-3 layers and millions of cells, it comprises approx. 5% of a person’s body weight and absorbs molecularly -from one degree to another- what is applied to it.

The outermost layer of the skin-the epidermis- renews itself approximately every 28 days.

The act of Aging slows this renewal process-causing dead skin cells to cling to the surface of the skin, creating an unhealthy appearance, and enhancing the wrinkling, bagging, sagging and dullness so often associated with age.

And as a reminder to you, much of having healthy, radiant skin is an inside job.

There are things that can be done daily-both internally and externally- to care for the skin and keep it radiant, healthy, firm and beautiful.

Today, let’s take a closer look at the role Omega fatty acids play in beauty-especially during Menopause.

In today’s world, FAT seems to be a word to be avoided at all costs- but nothing could be further from the truth!

In actuality, the right fat- in the right amount can be a powerful, potent beauty and health elixir.

It’s crucial to understand not only the importance of the essential fatty acids- but the role each plays- especially in the area of Menopausal skin, hair and nail care.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are further classified as the Omegas: Omega 3/6/and 9.

New research conducted in the past three years has also indicated the existence of a substance now known as Omega 7, which is proving to provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.

For now though, let’s focus on the more recognized Omegas.

There are 2 types of Omega 3 fats: DHA (ethyl-docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA ( ethyl eicosapentaenoic acid).

The Omega 6 EFA is thought to stem primarily from linoleic acid.  Linoleic acid is then converted to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the body. GLA is an important inflammation fighter and also has a role to play in the balancing of hormones and the maintenance of healthy skin-again, especially during Menopause.

These essential fatty acids are required by the body to function optimally.

The body does not manufacture EFA’s on its own, consequently these all-important fats must be supplied by our diet.

The Omegas are actually present in the cellular membranes of every single cell of the human body- so it’s easy to see how important they are!

Much of the changes seen in a woman’s skin as she ages are actually due to oxidative processes – the internal ‘rusting’ that takes place as the body becomes long on toxic overload and short on antioxidants and essential nutrients.

In Part Two of this article series, we’ll take a closer look at this internal ‘rusting’ process and discuss the powerful solutions that have been proven to correct and lessen this damage.

Don’t miss it!