What chemicals are you putting on – and into – your body every day?
What chemicals are you putting on – and into – your body every day?
Experts say that it takes three weeks of repetition for a behavior to become a habit. And as those of us who have tried to make any kind of lifestyle change know, those can be three very long weeks! So how do you motivate yourself to get through that difficult period? Is it internal or external motivation that inspires you? This great “Inside Beauty” blog from “What’s Up, USANA?” offers an interesting perspective:
You may notice that in a couple places I’ve used “antibacterial” and in others, “antimicrobial.” Although there is a difference (antibacterial products tend to reduce the growth of many forms of bacteria, while antimicrobial products prevent the growth of a broader range of bacteria and fungi, including molds), the terms are often used interchangeably.
I first became aware of triclosan as a hospital employee in the late 1970s. Some of the physicians I worked with even then, and certainly in the decades since, expressed concerns about the potential for germs to develop resistance to this or other antimicrobial agents, turning them into superbugs (I’m also leery of the excessive use of antibiotics, both personally and commercially, for the same reason). I’ve come across so many news articles, books, and university studies since then which have only served to reinforce this opinion. So naturally, I was immediately ready to share the Smithsonian Magazine article “Five Reasons Why You Should Probably Stop Using Antibacterial Soap.”
At first I was just going to post a brief comment and link to the article. Then I did a quick Google search for supporting clinical information on the effects of this pesticide. That’s right, triclosan is a pesticide. I realized from previous reading that triclosan – one of the most common antimicrobial agents used in antibacterial consumer products – is prevalent in many household items, but I didn’t realize just how many.
In fact, there currently is no evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water, says Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a lead microbiologist at FDA.
The agency issued a proposed rule on Dec. 16, 2013 that would require manufacturers to provide more substantial data to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. The proposed rule covers only those consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes that are used with water. It does not apply to hand sanitizers (for instance, Purell and similar products use alcohol), hand wipes or antibacterial soaps that are used in health care settings such as hospitals.
(There’s also the question of just how clean your home should actually be. I’m old enough to remember hearing countless mothers say “a little dirt is good for you.” A lot of research over the past couple decades suggests that’s true; exposure to bacteria, particularly in children, helps build healthy immune systems. I was a working mother of four who didn’t have the time or energy to maintain a spotless house, so I take some comfort in this)
Next question: even if there’s no proof that they’re better, what’s the harm?
• A UC Davis study in collaboration with University of Colorado found that triclosan may impair muscle (including heart) function.
• As I wrote at the beginning of this post, antibacterial soaps have the potential to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
• Triclosan has been linked in animal studies to other health problems, including interfering with thyroid and brain function, low testosterone, and disruptions to the immune system which may increase allergy risk. It has also been found in urine and breast milk.
• It also poses potential environmental hazards, although the EPA doesn’t seem particularly alarmed at this point about significant enough concentrations in water to do any real environmental damage, although they acknowledge that it may adversely impact aquatic invertebrates and algae. Algae, of course, is our oxygen-producing friend.
And finally, how prevalent is this stuff?
You’d probably be surprised – I certainly was. Hand soaps and body washes; deodorants; shaving gels; kitchen items: cutting boards, mops, trash bags; children’s toys; clothing; keyboards; pencils; air filters; paint; yoga mats; coolers; vacuum bags… and on, and on, and on.
So, what’s the takeaway? Pretty much the same as always: know what you’re buying.
It’s getting cold outside, Christmas is almost here, and the New Year – along with the obligatory resolutions – isn’t far behind. Shopping for loved ones, holiday eating (and penance), fighting the effects of the weather, cold and flu season, and self-improvement goals for 2014… there’s a lot to keep one’s mind occupied.
With time, as usual, at a premium, how about a suggestion for a little one-stop shopping?
You can give your loved ones, and yourself, some terrific Christmas gifts by shopping at USANA.
First suggestion – Winter weather takes its toll, sometimes painfully, on your skin. I may walk out the door without my wallet, my phone, or my keys, but I never leave home without applying my Sense Night Renewal. It’s a wonderful, paraben-free product with no added preservatives, which I credit with keeping my skin fresh, healthy and looking younger than it should!
Although the Night Renewal is my absolute favorite product for several reasons, I don’t want to slight some of the others. In particular, the Daytime Protective Emulsion (SPF 15) is always useful, and many people I know who suffer from dry, cracked hands – especially during this time of year – find the Intensive Hand Therapy extremely helpful.
I love the holiday season! The warmth and joy of parties and special times with friends and family, the decorations, the cards and good wishes from folks we don’t get to hear from as often as we’d like… and, of course, the FOOD!!!
Oh, the food…
For a lot of people, the Food Season begins at Thanksgiving – but for me, it starts about a month earlier. In my immediate family, we have six birthdays between Halloween and November 9, so we try to have a big party for everyone and individual parties for the two granddaughters. Then a big family dinner at Thanksgiving, then the traditional Christmas baking and candy making, then a Christmas brunch or dinner. Needless to say, my New Year’s resolution is usually to lose some weight.
USANA has that covered, too. USANA’s Reset kit is a healthy, effective way to lose weight. The shakes (available in either soy or whey) and nutrition bars come in several flavors, and are low glycemic and made without gluten. Both the shakes and bars can be purchased separately (they make great snacks!) or as part of the Reset program. A word of caution, though: carefully consider the stability of your relationship before purchasing ANY diet or weight loss products for loved ones.
And for USANA Associates and Preferred Customers, the 12-week RESET Challenge: DESTINATION TRANSFORMATION officially starts January 6. Last year’s challenge had over 3000 participants who lost a cumulative total of over 17,500 pounds. This event, which is open to Associates and Preferred Customers, offers some fantastic prizes for category winners and a Grand Prize trip to Sanoviv.
Finally – of course, this is also cold and flu season. USANA also offers some terrific, pharmaceutical grade products to support immune health, including Vitamins C and D, in addition to the Essentials.
You can find any of these products, and many others, here
Wishing you all the good things that this season and 2014 can bring.