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.”
Updated 20 October 2017
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Are your beauty products increasing your risk of breast cancer?

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.


Comptoir Libanais brings the Levant to London

Comptoir Libanais has outlets across the UK. (All images supplied)
Updated 19 September 2018
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Comptoir Libanais brings the Levant to London

  • Comptoir Libanais has 22 branches around the UK
  • The restaurant is known for its colorful interior and delicious food

LONDON: For years, London has been known for embracing culinary tastes from all over the world, served up by establishments ranging from snazzy and glitzy new restaurants to venues that are more than 100 years old and have been handed down from one generation to the next.
Comptoir Libanais (Lebanese Canteen), which was founded in 2008, stands out among the more recent arrivals for bringing a true, authentic taste of the Levant to London and beyond, with almost two dozen restaurants in the English capital and other cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford and Liverpool.

For years when he was a child growing up in Algeria, Tony Kitous, the restaurant’s founder and owner, watched his mother create tasty meals for his family. This was something he carried with him when he moved to England at the age of 18.
“I came to London with a dream but it wasn’t until I scrubbed dishes and slept in friends’ houses that I realized what I wanted my dream to be: To bring a taste of home to London, a city I grew to enjoy and love,” he said.
Kitous’s passion for Middle Eastern food and what it symbolizes, the culture and hospitality, is clear in his colorfully decorated restaurants, which resemble traditional Beirut canteens or souks. The menu offers a mix of hearty and light dishes, including mezzes, wraps, grills, salads and traditional side dishes.
“I want all visitors to feel right at home, even if they’re on the go,” said Kitous. “The patrons that try the restaurant for the first time can see how we choose the freshest ingredients from our partners and can truly feel as if they’re in the Levant region.
“Lebanese food is universal. It has a bit of everything in it without having the ingredients over powering one another — all dishes complement one another.”
Every dish, every ingredient and even the plates on which they are served are personally selected by Kitous. “Nothing but fresh is allowed here,” he said.
It all sounds great but does the food live up to the expectations? I dined at the Oxford Street branch and found that the fatoush, hummus and cheese sambousak were great starters. The fresh halloumi manousha had just the right amount of crispiness around the edge, with a soft middle complementing the cheese.
The lamb and prune tagine, served with a side of couscous, swept us to the streets of Morocco. The lamb was soft and melted in the mouth, complemented by the sweetness of the prunes. As a vegetarian option, the aubergine tagine was balanced and tasty.
For Arab diners the menu is filled with the tastes of home and it is hard to imagine how anyone could limit themselves to ordering just one dish. Every option was perfectly seasoned and the table was a beautiful, tasty mess — truly a canteen experience.
The interior design of all Comptoir Libanais venues is similar, offering a burst of color and eccentricity through mismatched tiles, colorful furniture and walls adorned with old Arabic movie posters, including one of legendary actress Sirine Jamal Al-Dine with her signature smile. Thanks to an open kitchen in the back, the restaurant is always bustling with activity and the sounds of patrons enjoying their meals. You could really sense the hints of Kitous’s childhood memories imprinted in the decor. Whether you are in the mood for a hearty breakfast, a quick lunch or a good, delicious dinner to end your day, Comptoir Libanais will not disappoint.