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The Breast Cancer - Beauty Connection

by Dr. Diane Gioia-Bargonetti


There are so many things to worry about in this chemically-challenged world. Don’t eat; don’t breathe; don’t touch, don’t drink---and, now, don’t apply this or that to your skin! Yes, Virginia, add beauty-related products to your “be cautious” list, because there are an alarming number of unlabeled chemicals of concern in your personal care products.

A General Rule: When ingredient lists are left off of products, by and large there is something of concern on that ingredient list that a company does not want to disclose to the public. Regarding cosmetics, EVERYONE would be flabbergasted at the high levels of damaging chemicals, i.e., phthalates and parabens, discovered in the actual ingredients of personal care products such as make-up, body and facial lotions/scrubs, nail polishes, hairsprays, etc., as well as high priced perfumes & colognes. Even more disconcerting, these beauty-related products often do not list any ingredients on their labels or containers! (Hard to believe this is legal!)

For Your Edification: Parabens are chemical preservatives, identified as estrogenic and disruptive to normal hormone functions. They are believed to increase the risk of breast cancer. Similarly, phthalates are also hormone-mimicking chemicals, and that raises concern about their implications for not only increased breast cancer risk, but also early onset of menopause. Phthalates are also known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive issues in lab animals.

So, one might logically ask: Is there a breast cancer-beauty connection?...We have all heard the arguments over whether environmental hazards (contaminated water, pesticides, household cleaners, etc) are explanations for the high incidence of breast cancer, but seldom do we hear about the danger in products marketed primarily to women for beauty purposes.

If you think someone in the government is regulating personal care products—think again. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has no authority to require a pre-market safety assessment as it does with drugs, so cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market. (Yikes!) According to an environmental cosmetic database, it is estimated that 89% of ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel, the FDA, or any other public institution! Did I mention that Cosmetics is a $35 billion/year industry?

So, it is definitely reasonable to speculate about the breast cancer-beauty connection. My first reaction when researching this article was that women should be screaming: “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!”

In fact, we all should be angry, because with a little information, many people would automatically protect themselves and change to more holistic, environmentally-friendly products, instead of blindly continuing to use products with hidden dangers.

So, as I see it, the root of the problem is that most women are completely oblivious to what they are actually putting into their bodies—through their largest organ—the highly absorptive skin! WOMEN ARE SMART—ALL THEY NEED IS THE INFORMATION. By the time most women leave their homes in the morning, they are already overloaded with phthalates and parabens—in fact, they have made a concerted effort in contaminating themselves by being slaves to daily “beauty rituals.”

These hormone-disrupting chemicals (phthalates) are also linked to obesity in men and genital abnormalities in infant boys. Although both parabens and phthalates are widely used in synthetic fragrances, you won’t see them listed on any fragrance label either, because fragrance components are protected as trade secrets. (You can readily see how this might affect a baby in utero.) Also, you can search the web and not find a list of ingredients for many popular products. Outrageous!

I suggest to my clients to call or email a company directly if they are not sure about any product’s ingredients and therefore, its safety. This pro-active approach alerts these companies that people are concerned about “being poisoned” by their favorite body wash, or lipstick and yes, this just might affect their bottom line. Wouldn’t you rather be a catalyst for change…than a passive volunteer for experimentation?

Not to over-simplify this, but I believe a productive first step would be to educate the public about simple, but effective ways to improve their lifestyle and thus, their health. This is part of why I started HHIM: HOLSTIC HEALTH INFORMATION MOVEMENT, whose mission statement is “to serve people and their health needs by teaching them all about holistic health,” i.e., treatments, therapies, remedies, healthy products & services, supplements, diet & exercise protocols, etc.

In my lectures, I encourage people to seek out and support companies that care about the public’s health—companies that have a long and distinguished list of products made with essential oils…so, you can work wonders with your skin and hair while simultaneously promoting general good health and wellness. A win win!!

Some of the familiar essential oils used in personal care products are: lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, geranium, lemon, and rosemary…to name a few. In lieu of your favorite perfume, fragrance or cologne, be creative and substitute nature’s gifts: the essential oils. I make a blended essential oil scent of Sandalwood, Patchouli & Lavender, that both my husband and I wear. I can’t tell you how many times we have been on an elevator and heard: “Wow, you smell great! What are you wearing?” (And, we think to ourselves: “And, it’s healthy, too.)

This is an example of a win win. . .BECAUSE, Sandalwood is balancing; Patchouli is uplifting; Lavender helps calm the mind; AND, our essential oil blend SMELLS GOOD, TOO. (Have fun creating your own win win!)

Healthy Product Overview Guide: For make-up, try Dr Hauschka Skin Care & MyChelle lines and most products in the Origins Organics. Certain products in the Physician Formula & Ecco Bella lines are also healthier alternatives. Both Aubrey Organics and Bert’s Bees have men’s & women’s lines of phthalate and paraben free skin, body, and hair products. Himalaya USA makes an exfoliating Walnut & Wood Apple Face Scrub with no sodium sulfate, parabens, silicones or phthalates! As facial hair removal can be a frightening and toxic beauty ritual, I would be remiss not to mention Epicare, which is a “do-it-yourself” threading-inspired method of facial hair removal that is affordable & safe! Epicare is a natural, simple tool that uses no chemicals, waxing, shaving, bleaching, or tweezing. Just take the simple apparatus and bend & roll unwanted facial hair away!

Herban Cowboy Dusk Organic Cologne is vegan, cruelty-free, and sweatshop-free. (Perfect!) They also feature a certified organic line of personal care products for men that offer high-quality green colognes, deodorants, and soaps. For safe hair spray, Aussie Mega Styling Spray and Suave Natural Aloe Vera Extra Hold are good options. And, the safest nail polishes I can find are the water-based ones like: Honeybee Gardens and Suncoat. (Note well: Grapeseed oil is a natural alternative to synthetic preservatives and wonderful for your skin.)

There are many more fantastic, healthy options waiting for you…but, you may have to do some research on your own. Start by reading whatever labels you can find on any product(s), and, if necessary, be ready to call the company if you are not confident about the ingredients! (And, please, be advised that not all products in a health food store are necessarily “healthy.”)

Although there isn’t a definitive answer (at this point in time) as to whether there is a link between breast cancer and habitual use of cosmetics, my advice is not to wait for the FDA, NIH, or the media to warn you about anything a multi-billion dollar company is doing. No matter what the media tells you or doesn’t tell you—or what science claims is safe in certain amounts—the information now available about parabens and phthalates should be enough to prompt changes in what you decide to buy and slather on your skin. After all, you care way more about your health than any company ever would. Remember your power---you have free will about what to purchase—and that becomes YOUR VOICE!

You will look just as beautiful with organic products—AND, you will be protecting your health. Another win win! (lol)

Girls will be girls, and we learn to love cosmetics at a very young age. Let’s make sure this crazy fascination doesn’t compromise our health by opting for better choices whenever possible. After all, in today’s world, every man, woman, boy and girl has the right to good skin, good hair, and good health!! So, whether it’s about beauty products, foods, water or even environmental issues, etc., “Change what you can and hopefully you will be protecting yourself.”

There is a big, beautiful, clean, holistic world out there—waiting for your discovery and patronage! So, get on The Holistic Health Train. . .there’s lots more out there to learn…Whoo-Whoo!!

Blessings, “Dr Di”

HHIM: Holistic Health Movement Tax Deductible Donations Welcomed

127 West 83rd Street Suite 117

New York, NY 10024

Dr. Diane Gioia-Bargonetti, a.k.a. “Dr. Di,” is an Emmy-Nominated Television Producer who became a Naturopath (ND), Certified Traditional Naturopathy (CTN), when she was given one year to live (over 25 years ago) by the conventional medical community. “Dr Di” served as the Resident Naturopath at the A.R.E.NYC (Association for Research and Enlightenment), also known as The Edgar Cayce Holistic Healing Center, for 7 years. Presently, she practices in Manhattan and Brooklyn and lectures in the Tri-State area.

“Dr Di” established the non-profit HHIM: HOLISTIC HEALTH INFORMATION MOVEMENT to serve people and their health needs by teaching them all about Holistic Health. She is a COPR Associate (Commission of Public Representatives) at the NIH (National Institutes of Health), and teaches at Vital Connection University.


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