I used to feel comfortable about what I do to take care of myself. But that changed around 2009; a year I began to question many things such as what is the point of healthy clean living if the environment or food or toxic chemicals were causing early cancers in my peer groups?
In 2009, two women close to me had breast cancer. Both healthy in body and mind, one in her early fifties and the other in her forties, and it was also the year my husband discovered his late-stage cancer. He was 45. Not one of these three had hereditary factors for their cancer. If I ever thought that poor lifestyle habits and genetics were the likely causes of cancer, causing good cells to turn bad, these three people blew that thought out of the water for me.
Cancer diagnoses seem to be occurring more and more frequently. The World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting an increase or a surge of 57 percent worldwide in the next 20 years. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists the top cancers as prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers Do you know someone diagnosed with any one of these early in life? I’ll bet you do.
How can this be? As a society, we have learned to question ingredients in our food. We know that artificial ingredients in processed food, while cheaper, are not good for our bodies. We have learned a great deal about the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe in the last 10 years.
Still, there is more that we need to understand, such as the interaction of chemicals in products that we use every day. Products like soap, cosmetics, hand or face cream, deodorant, toothpaste, hair spray, shampoo, or any product that projects itself as a cure or enhancement.
Women and girls are the targets for cosmetic enhancers from body shapers to manicures and pedicures. Ultraviolet rays are not the only threat to our skin. Consumers are doing research and urging companies to take out toxins found in everyday items are hazardous to our health. Chemicals like triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical common in soaps and body washes is absorbed by our skin. Also, natural aging and chemicals break down the safety barrier that is our skin.
Tattoos are popular in recent years for men and women of all ages. Tattoos can be small or full body. It is not simply a matter of ink on skin. Tattoos breach our skin. Really, chemicals embed into living, aging skin, and tools deconstruct our finest feature and first line of defense. Tattoos can result in infections, allergic reactions, bloodborne diseases, and various skin problems that will require medical care.
Simply stated, skin is the largest organ of the human body. Its function is protection. It protects our internal organs and our skeletal and muscular systems; skin supports and houses our cardiovascular, nervous, and immunity systems. Our skin contains what we are inside and gives us our beautiful exterior that we carry from birth to death. That is how resilient skin is.
We age, our skin ages, and in the process, our natural protections break down. Think about that the next time you look in the mirror, or the next time you consider an expensive age reducing remedy. Just what is the mixture in that bottle? What are those ingredients? Will they help or hurt you? Who will benefit from your purchase?
Karen Julius is an independent health marketing and communication consultant. She has a Bachelor degree in journalism as well as Associate degrees in communications, and health science. In 2012, she completed her Master of Science in health communication. Karen is a frequent writer on LinkedIn. She has her own blog, KJ Health Marketing & Communication. She also works with entrepreneurs starting health-tech businesses. Follow Karen on Twitter at @karenjulius.