It all started out with a mustache.
A melasma mustache.
It was the fall of 2013 and I noticed a dark patch of skin in that area between my nose and upper lip. Freaked out and hoping it was merely my imagination, I ran into my co-worker’s office and asked her if she noticed it, too.
“Maybe you’re just forgetting to put sunscreen in that area when you apply it every morning?”
That’s it! That’s definitely it!
That wasn’t it.
Turns out I had melasma, a chronic skin disorder that results in symmetrical, brownish facial pigmentation. It typically occurs due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and sun exposure, and women are more likely to develop it than men. It’s been nicknamed the “pregnancy mask.”
What did I do? I hopped on the internet, did some Googling, and quickly learned that a popular chemical called hydroquinone is effective for getting rid of those pesky brown patches because it inhibits the production of melanin. In short, this is a topical bleach that fades the dark spot over time after many uses.
The chemical is easy to purchase and can be found in a host of bleaching products available anywhere from high-end brands sold at dermatologist’s office (like Obagi), and over the counter at your local pharmacy and grocery store.
I slathered the bleach all over my mustache. For weeks. Months. Didn’t matter that it smelled bad and made my eyes burn because I was going to get rid of it once and for all, dangit!
The mustache still isn’t gone. If you look really hard, it’s still there.
When it wasn’t working, I started researching the chemical and was stupefied and horrified at what I found.
Hydroquinone is directly linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation.
It’s sold here in the United States. It’s sold everywhere. So it has to be safe.
Wrong. So, so wrong.
Most of the cosmetics on our shelves aren’t regulated. Congress hasn’t passed a major federal law regulating the safety of personal care products since 1938. There are 1,300 products on our shelves that have been totally banned in Europe. Banned.
Since 1938, more than 80,000 new ingredients have been introduced to our personal care products, including soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, perfumes, lotions, skincare, and sunscreens.
More alarming, the Food and Drug Administration allows companies that use chemicals that are known to be extremely harmful, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and lead, in the products we put into our bodies and our kids’ bodies every single day.
Bottom line. Companies are allowed to use toxins that are known to cause cancer, reproductive issues, and hormone disruptors, without getting into trouble.
It’s all about the Benjamins.
Marketing has become a joke. For instance, companies can advertise their products are “natural” but it’s a gimmick. Read the ingredient labels and research the chemicals.
They ain’t natural.
In the United States, one person under the age of 40 is diagnosed with cancer every eight minutes. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Two decades ago, one in twenty women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, one in seven women will develop breast cancer. More shocking? 90% of these women have no pre-existing genetic link to the disease.
One in three children are born with severe allergies, autism, ADHD or asthma.
Think about it.
How many young people do you know who are in their thirties, were otherwise healthy, and have been diagnosed with cancer? How many young people do you know who have struggled with infertility? How many kids do you know with peanut allergies or are somewhere on the autism spectrum?
I know tons of each of these types of people and it’s alarming.
Bells and whistles are going off.
Something’s gotta give.
Most of you are annoyed reading this. You’re rolling your eyes. Another blogger using scare tactics about something. Microwaves. Cell phone radiation. Antiperspirants. Alcohol. Talcum powder. Asbestos in old buildings that you can’t avoid because you work there.
I might as well never leave my house.
I get it. I do.
Look, I’m no hippie. I’ve tossed down a margarita or ten at the pool and have been known to indulge in fries and burgers from McDonalds.
But at least I know alcohol and McDonalds are bad.
And when I do it, I know better, but I do it anyway.
When I’m using products, I want to know what’s in them, and then know about the risks I’m taking before I choose whether to make them.
When I was having lunch with a good friend a while back, she introduced me to Beautycounter. The company sells an array of gorgeous, safer skin care products and she loaned me a “pouch” that included the skincare regimen to use for a couple days, commitment free.
I loved it.
I threw away my Neutrogena face wash and never looked back.
Shampoos. Lotions. Makeup. Sunscreen. Kids’ products. Anti-aging and regular skincare regimes.
I love it all and use it guilt-free.
Here are some of my favorite products:
This is the Face Collection that includes cleanser, exfoliator, day and night cream, eye cream, and rose spray.
I spray this Rosewater Mist on my face throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up instead of drinking coffee.
My favorite of all the Beautycounter products, Face Oil. I was nervous about putting something called “oil” on my face, but it’s comprised of calendula oil and serves as a moisturizer. My skin has seen a huge difference.
They also have an entire anti-aging line, the Countertime Collection, with non-toxic active ingredients.
In May, I decided to become a Beautycounter consultant. Not because having a full-time career as an attorney, raising a family, and managing my blog aren’t enough to throw me into a tailspin, but because I wanted to get the word out about the crap on the shelves and how there are much better alternatives.
I wanted to help educate people.
I wanted to be part of something important. This little grassroots movement.
If you want to learn more about the products or making extra money becoming a consultant (psss… you get 25% off the products), send me a message and check out my Beautycounter website here.
I didn’t want another friend like me, ignorantly slathering bleach all over her mustache.
Another thing: I don’t want you to just take my word for anything I’m saying in this post.
Do your own research.
The innate nature of being an attorney makes me skeptical. I didn’t believe my friend when she was telling me about this company, the mission, and the risks associated with the long term use of products on our shelves.
I did my own research.
Please do the same.
In the wise words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now ya know!”
Learn more about the impact the environment is having on your health.
Beautycounter created a “Never List” containing ingredients you should never use on your skin, as well as the reasons why you shouldn’t use them. Check it out here.
South Tampa friends: if you’re interested in trying the products, I’ll personally deliver a pouch to your doorstep so you can try the skincare regimen for yourselves. Shoot me an email at Jennifer at The Champagne Supernova dot com.