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.


The man who leads millions of chefs from his kitchen in Saudi Arabia

Thomas Gugler
Updated 25 June 2018
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The man who leads millions of chefs from his kitchen in Saudi Arabia

  • Gugler moved to Saudi Arabia in 2002 to join Saudi Arabian Airlines as their executive master chef. In 2009, he co-founded the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association.
  • Now, as president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, he is tasked with the significant responsibility of leading more than 10 million members from across 110 countries.

DUBAI: As far as a career in food goes, Thomas Gugler seems to have done it all — from working with five-star hotels and gourmet restaurants to hospitals, airlines, mass catering and teaching in universities. 

Having worked in 13 different countries across the spectrum of the food and beverage industry, Gugler moved to Saudi Arabia in 2002 to join Saudi Arabian Airlines as their executive master chef. In 2009, he co-founded the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association.

“I knew I wanted to become a chef since I was two,” Gugler told Arab News. “My mother and grandmother were both fantastic cooks and that’s how I fell in love with this profession.”

He’s come a long way since he was two in his 35-year-long career, 17 of which he has spent in Saudi Arabia.

Now, as president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, he is tasked with the significant responsibility of leading more than 10 million members from across 110 countries.

“We organize worldwide cooking competitions and educational programs, as well as look into issues such as sustainability and cultural cooking. Our role is to build bridges between the commercial part and the consumers.”

With the head of such a prestigious global organization being based in Saudi Arabia, the local industry should be poised for growth, but, according to Gugler, there is plenty of room for improvement.

“Generally, the cooking and food standards here are not the best but with time and effort all this will be developed more and more,” he said.

Socio-political changes and the boost to the Saudi tourism sector will go a long way in developing the food and beverage industry, he believes.

“This will motivate and benefit the entire hospitality industry and raise the level, which is necessary. Stricter rules, regulations and food safety practices will encourage young and talented people in the industry to become better. It’s a golden opportunity,” Gugler said

His personal preference in food veers toward the local. “I like Arabic cuisine. The best kind is the cultural ethnic cuisine, the heritage of which can be traced back centuries. The local Hijazi cuisine is something no one should miss,” he said.