Beauty at Any Cost – Helping Young Women Avoid This Dangerous Trap

It’s no secret that our society and the media have established and continue to promote an idyllic, almost impossible, standard of beauty that women consistently judge themselves against and are always aspiring to achieve.

With the advent of readily available cosmetic surgery and treatments, this quest has reached a new fever pitch. By one estimate, American women spend almost $7 billion dollars a year on products used in the pursuit of beauty.

And we’ve all seen or heard stories of women addicted to Botox or plastic surgery -some have had so many nips and tucks that their faces resemble cartoon characters and still they want more! These extreme cases are the casualties of a popular culture that is saturated with images of airbrushed, over sexualized, and perfectly coiffed celebrities and models that can make even the most confident of us feel a little insecure or inadequate at times.

The extent of this problem was documented in a 2008 report released by the YWCA called “Beauty At Any Cost”. The report underscores the substantial health implications for women on the endless treadmill of “unrealistic beauty attainment.” Through chronic and unhealthy dieting, using smoking as a weight-loss aide, taking unnecessary risks during cosmetic surgical procedures, and absorbing unsafe chemicals through cosmetics, women are placing themselves in precarious health situations to maintain some semblance of their idealized physical selves. Women and girls are at risk for lifelong health problems – and the problems start at an early age.

Add to the mix a $50 billion a year unregulated cosmetics industry that puts unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing or monitoring of health effects, ready to profit from these narrow beauty standards to convert women and girls into life-long customers. Many of these companies go to great lengths to market to teens and “tweens” (8 to 12 year olds) as part of this goal. Their emphasis is on creating cheap products that appeal to this demographic with little or no regard for the potential health or environmental impact of the chemicals used to produce them.

Clearly, young girls and teens are more vulnerable and susceptible to harm than ever before. However, with a little guidance they can learn to make safer, healthier choices for themselves and set an example for their peers.

What can you do to help the young girls and teens you know avoid falling into this trap? Here are some guidelines that you can use:

1. The Buck Starts and Stops with You

Most children are influenced by the behaviors and attitudes of their parents and caretakers. So it’s up to you to set the bar for what’s acceptable. If you want your daughters, nieces, or younger sisters to adopt healthy habits then make sure you are doing the same. Take a look at your inventory of cosmetics and personal care products and eliminate those that contain ingredients that are known to be harmful. If you’re not sure where to start, check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database available online.

Their comprehensive database contains over 25,000 cosmetics and skin care products from both major companies and smaller ones you may not even know. The products have all been researched, catalogued, and ranked for safety concerns based on currently available data on toxicity of their ingredients. The database also provides lists of the Top 10 Worst and Best Products and Companies based on their ratings.

Show them how to use the database and make it clear that you will not fund the purchase of products that have been ranked with high safety concerns.

2. Turn Them Into Smart Shoppers

Share your concerns with them about the safety of many beauty products on the market and how even small amounts of repeated exposure to certain ingredients can cause harm. Teach them how to read product labels and look for problem ingredients to avoid.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires ingredients to be listed in descending order of concentration. So ingredients listed at the top are the most prevalent and the ones to pay more attention to.

Teens Turning Green (formerly Teens for Safe Cosmetics) has compiled a list of chemicals in personal care products to avoid called the Dirty Thirty. You can download it at their site. Review the list together, then use it as a guide for reading labels and ruling out the products that contain them.

3. Encourage Them to Take Action

There’s nothing more powerful than kids and teens united and engaged in action to promote a worthy cause, and what could be a worthier cause than their health and safety? Encourage them to learn more about this issue and how they can get involved to make a difference.

Whether it’s action to pressure the government to regulate cosmetics, or participating in consumer boycotts that force companies to change in response to trends in the marketplace, or joining groups that teach and promote self-esteem and healthy body images — all of these activities serve to enlighten them and reinforce the positive messages that will ultimately lead them to make better choices and influence their friends to do the same.

4. Turn Them On To Greener Alternatives and Make it Fun

Throw a spa party at your home for your daughters and their friends and introduce them to the ever-growing variety of safe and healthy skin care products, natural scents, and cosmetics available, and make it “cool” for them to explore and indulge their senses. Make it a recurring event so that they have a chance to be constantly exposed to a lot of new and different products.

Or take them to the local health food store for a shopping spree where you can review and compare the products together and make it a contest to see who picks the best ones first. Remember, just because a product is sold in a health food or natural product store, it doesn’t mean that product is safe or natural. It can be an excellent teaching moment to help them (and you) become a truly discerning shopper.

5. Reward Them for Making Good Choices

Focus your efforts on helping them make the best possible choices and then reward them for it. Make sure that the rewards you give them are in line with what you are trying to teach them. In other words, don’t reward good choices in one arena with bad choices in another (i.e. taking them out for junk food or offering them candy).

If you succeed in convincing them that personal care products made with organic ingredients are better, there’s a good chance you can convince them that organic foods and foods made without chemicals and additives are also better for them!

Copyright 2009 Dropwise Essentials

3 Simple Steps to Natural Beauty

Are you sure what requires a great skin? Have you stuffed dozens of products in your shelves for great looking skin? It’s about time you systematically organize your priorities. To have beautiful looking skin dermatologist suggest that you need to be focused on three basic cleansers, moisturizing sunscreen and night cream.

Step 1: Using Cleanser:

Unless you have sensitive skin wash you face twice a day. Morning cleansing will get rid of oil and dead skin cells pile up during sleep and washing at night will remove dirt, pollutant and facial makeup from your face giving it fresh look. Cleansing the face will make skin smooth and impurities free in which face cream and night cream can absorb and cosmetic ingredients can be most effective.

Step 2: Applying Moisturizing Sunscreen:

Apply moisturizer that contains SPF 15 or higher is a must to do to task before leaving home. Jeffrey Dover, MD associate clinical procedure of dermatology at Yale university emphasis it by saying “this smart combination does more to keep you looking young then any anti-aging cream”. Moisturizer prevents skin dryness and prevents you face from getting lines and wrinkles leaving your skin look soft and smooth.

Step 3: Don’t Forget Night Treatment:

Using anti-aging product at night before sleeping is very beneficial. According to dermatologist ingredients work better at night when they are not exposed to sun and sweat. Select creams wisely those with anti-oxidants and peptides will repair damage, rebuild collagen and reduce inflammation.

These steps are very simple and you can easily follow to be beautiful.

Natural Versus Organic Beauty Products

There are innumerable health care brands in the market offering a variety of beauty products with large quantity of buyers for every segment. However, people tend to get confused over the terms used by these companies in their product designs as to whether the commodity is natural or organic. On hearing the term ‘Organic’, people associate the products to natural constituents like organic food without realizing that the phrase here means differently.

Organic means a component derived from the living matter. In other words, anything extracted from a natural thing and manufactured in way that involves no use of artificial chemicals is termed as Organic. Even 1% of organic ingredients found in a Natural constituent make it impure. Products tagged with the logo of being organic assure that the commodity is produced in the most hygienic conditions with zero application of fertilizers.

Meanwhile Natural ingredients are those which are directly retrieved from plants and minerals and involves minimal to no processing. One has to stay cautious while purchasing anything that is labeled as natural considering many companies mixes synthetic items too. There is a wide range of beauty care products ranging from makeup cosmetics to body lotions to moisturizers which people use on day-to-day basis.

However, with ever increasing toxic products that is overtly misleading with the wrong detailing and questionably cheap prices, consumers are shifting to all natural skin care. It’s a positive move considering a person can protect itself from the harmful effects of Sodium Laureth Sulphate which is used in making synthetic beauty creams and lotions and is highly prone to causing skin cancer.

Since natural products are unrefined or pure, they are free of side-effects and are more effective considering they don’t contain any irritants. Furthermore they have an inherent fragrance that is very inviting. And besides distinctive benefits, natural beauty products are very earth-friendly as compared to their counterparts which omit hazardous gas while under manufacturing. Absence of chemicals safeguard from skin irritations like itching, or redness. The most popularly used natural beauty care products include Coconut Oil, which is exceedingly effective in nourishing the lipid content of skin cells; Shea Butter i.e. known to reduce facial scars, Tee Tree Oil, which is utilized in making toothpastes and sanitizers; or Honey i.e. full of anti-oxidants and works as anti-bacterial.

On the other hand, Organic beauty products are also very beneficial but they have some drawbacks. First and foremost, the cost of purchasing such products is not budget friendly. It’s hard for a common man to afford them. Secondly, manufacturing these cosmetics involves very complex processing. Third, the time span of organic products isn’t very long i.e. they expire much sooner than their equivalents. And fourth, Organic beauty care products aren’t everyone’s cup of tea as there is never a guarantee whether a product will match the skin requirement of an individual or not.