Our natural human tendency to judge each other by our outward appearance along with the craving to be accepted and approved of by our fellow man has developed into an obsession to make ourselves more appealing. Someone recognized this unquenchable human need for recognition and found a way to profit from it. Selling beauty has become a 500 billion dollar a year industry. The sad reality is that we compare ourselves to the ‘photo-shop’ images that bombard us in magazines, in movies and TV, and some of us are literally killing ourselves trying to live up those unrealistic standards. Our desire to become more desirable is costing us more than we bargained for.
Americans spend millions of dollars annually on diet pills in spite of known side effects, which include heart attack, seizure, and even death. An estimated seven million American women suffer from eating disorders, which have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The damage caused by tanning can lead to wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and most importantly, skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than three and a half million cases diagnosed annually. In fact, the rate of skin cancer has nearly doubled since 2004.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of cosmetic procedures has increased one hundred sixty-two percent in a span of eleven years. Breast augmentation, with over three hundred thousand procedures done each year, tops the list. The FDA says up to 40 percent of patients who get silicone implants, and 70 percent of women with implants for breast reconstruction, will need another operation to modify or remove them within 10 years. The biggest issue was scar tissue hardening around the implant, while pain, infection, ruptures and asymmetry followed close behind. Women with breast implants are also more likely to be diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare form of cancer.
A study conducted by www.MyVoucherCodes.co.uk polled 2,109 women from across the country and found that 53% of the women bought clothing too small as incentive to lose weight, and because clothes look nicer in a smaller size. 72% confessed hurting themselves accidentally while trying to look better.
We have fallen for marketing ploys promising to make us look beautiful, young and sexy. We torture ourselves curling, straightening, coloring, bleaching, painting on and plucking out our hair. We squeeze flesh into clothes that make us look like overstuffed sausages and wear shoes that make our pinky toes curl over and die. We slather our bodies with lotions, spray ourselves with perfumes, paint our faces, and use sanitizers by the gallon without considering what those products are made of. Then we wonder why our health is suddenly suffering.
I recently developed an allergic reaction to eye makeup that caused my eyelids to look like raw hamburger. Not the look I was after! At first I thought that the products were expired or contaminated. So I replaced them all. (I’m not ready to go quietly into the night just yet). But the new products were no better. I even changed brands several times with the same irritating results. I was forced to stop wearing makeup altogether until I could determine if the source of the problem was the makeup or stress-related.
An initial cyber search regarding the ingredients in cosmetics, hygiene and cleaning products opened my eyes to what the beauty industry has successfully hidden from the general public. Lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, zinc, chromium and iron are found in lipstick, whitening toothpaste, eyeliner and nail color. Why? The FDA does not have the legal authority to approve cosmetics before they go on the market; toxic and allergenic ingredients don’t have to be listed on cosmetics ingredient labels; and the term “Dermatologist Tested” on a product doesn’t guarantee it won’t cause allergic reactions.
Twelve common ingredients are used by most manufacturers to make cosmetics and hygiene products that have the potential to cause cancer, are toxic to the brain, trigger asthma and allergies, disrupt the nervous system, damage the liver and interfere with hormone functions. If you are serious about whole-body health, you can’t afford to ignore what you are putting on your skin. After all, it is the largest organ of the human body and anything we place on our it–including lotions, sunscreen, insect repellent, soap and perfume–is readily absorbed by the body and goes directly into our blood stream to travel into our organs. Our health is at stake. It is important to know what we are absorbing daily into our system that may be causing us harm. You can download a shoppers guide of ‘the dirty dozen’ chemicals to avoid at www.Davidsuzuki.org. Also, check out ‘Skin Deep’ at http://www.ewg.org to see if your personal stash of cosmetics are safe to use. This site has become my best friend. It has a database of over 69,000 products that were evaluated for toxicity, gives you safe alternatives, and where to buy them. Beauty shouldn’t hurt.
Our bodies are on loan from God. It is our obligation to guard what we allow into our bodies as well as our minds. Keeping ourselves in good condition is a spiritual discipline. God created the human body. Jesus died for it. And, if you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in it. Our connection to Christ guarantees that our body will be resurrected one day. When that day comes, God will hold us accountable for the way we took care of the body He gave us.
Start reading labels. If any toxic ingredients are listed—keep on shopping with this thought in mind… “If I can’t eat it…I won’t put it on my skin!”