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Food & Health

Are your beauty products increasing your risk of breast cancer?

Leena Al-Abbas, founder and owner of The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge in Dubai, the region’s first-ever and only organic spa says: “As a consumer, it is your responsibility to do your research and weigh the pros and cons of each beauty product or treatment.”
DUBAI: The beauty and personal care products industry is the fastest-growing business in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). According to research conducted in 2016 by Euromonitor International, the market is valued at $25.4 billion and expected to grow at 6.4 percent a year over the next five years. The market in Saudi Arabia dominates the retail sector overall, with individual spending anticipated to grow from $168 in 2015 to $273 in 2020.
The mass production used to keep up with this demand can have significant impact on the health of the nation. Several research studies suggest a possible link between breast cancer and parabens, a key ingredient in many personal care products. One study suggests that underarm products containing parabens act like the estrogen hormone in the body, fueling certain breast cancers. Similarly, other types of parabens can be found in cosmetics, moisturizers, hair care, and shaving products. The International Agency for Research for Cancer has classified certain chemicals like ethylene oxide (used in perfumes and cosmetics) and oxybenxone (found in many sunscreens) as cariogenic with sufficient evidence of breast cancer.
Which brings us to the bigger question…at what cost are we willing to look and feel good? Leena Al-Abbas, founder and owner of The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge in Dubai, the regions first-ever and only organic spa says: “As a consumer, it is your responsibility to do your research and weigh the pros and cons of each beauty product or treatment.”
“With the amount of information and awareness available at our hands, there is really no reason not to educate yourself on the dangers of harsh chemicals. Understand the difference between chemicals and harsh chemicals, and opt for alternative treatments,” she says.
Al-Abbas’ journey started seven years ago, when she realized that beauty salon treatments were triggering adverse skin reactions like breaking out in rashes, and an itchy scalp. The organic movement had just started gaining momentum in the West and despite Abbas’ search for organic beauty treatments within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), she could not find anything that catered to her sensitive skin.
Seven years later, the salon offers toxin-free, all organic products and treatments that go back to nature — using fresh fruits, organic sugar, rose water, etc. The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge strives to increase awareness among women about the dangers of using harsh chemicals and promotes ethical, holistic beauty by offering a menu of toxic-free services.
“Customers who are dealing with fertility issues or are pregnant, and those who are recovering from breast cancer are advised to stay away from toxic chemicals,” hence, the salons clientele is mostly pregnant women, cancer survivors, and vegan customers.
The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge educates and offers safer alternatives to conventional salon services. Some of its unique treatments include:
· Non-toxic, vegan manicures and pedicures that are safe for pregnant women.
· A special waxing sugar blend that does not damage the skin and provides healing, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties.
· Organic herbal treatments that strengthen the hair, are safe for sensitive skin, free from ammonia, parabens, alcohol and gluten, 100 percent vegan and certified non-GMO.
Lastly, Al-Abbas shares some tips to help customers make better health and wellbeing choices. “It is impossible to avoid every single synthetic chemical, but you can do your part in limiting the amount of toxins your body is exposed to. Be sure to eat clean, avoid chemical-laden processed foods, and look for organic products.”
“It is best to educate yourself and spend some time reading ingredients. Also, a great source to research the amount of toxic chemicals that might be in your cosmetic and personal care products is to log on to the EWG Skin Deep Database and check your products,” Al-Abbas concludes.

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