Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter is here, let's talk skincare

not excited
It's too cold to walk my wimpy little dog because his paws start to freeze after ten minutes outside.  I already put him through the humiliation of wearing a coat.  I don't think he wants to wear doggy shoes too.  S has a snowsuit and a sled so she's warm.  I do not have snowsuit so I'm freezing.  We're supposed to get more snow on Monday.  I am really not excited.  I think I'm ready for Spring.  Only three more months of Winter.  What are we going to do?! 

Even since the temperature dropped last week we've been watching too much tv.  I promise it's going to change next week but I lose a lot of motivation when we can't can go outside.  I really hope this Winter is going to be short.  Some guy almost side swiped me on Friday while I was driving.  I hate driving in bad weather.  People always (almost) kill me. 

Anyway.  Last week I noticed my skin wasn't looking that fab anymore.  This tends to happen in Winter right?  Everyone's skin and hair just goes dull.  While I doing some research on face moisturizers I happened on some reviews going nuts over products that contained parabens.  You can read all about them here and here.  I shall excerpt the scariest parts for you:

What are parabens?
Parabens are actually several distinct chemicals with a similar molecular structure. Four of these are used frequently in cosmetics: ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben

Parabens are used to prevent the growth of microbes in cosmetics products and can be absorbed through skin, blood and the digestive system [1]. Parabens have been found in biopsies from breast tumors [2] at concentrations similar to those found in consumer products [3]. Parabens may be found in a wide variety of products including shampoos, lotions, deodorants, scrubs and eye makeup, and are found in nearly all urine samples from U.S. adults regardless of ethnic, socioeconomic or geographic backgrounds [4]. Adolescents and adult females had higher levels of methylparaben and propylparaben in their urine than did males of similar ages [5].

What are the health concerns?
Endocrine disruption: Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. They also increase the expression of genes usually regulated by estradiol (a natural form of estrogen); these genes cause human breast cancer cells to grow and multiply in cellular studies [9]. Parabens are also linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation [10]. Since parabens are used to kill bacteria in water-based solutions, they inherently have some toxicity to cells [11]

Despite the FDA saying they don't have any hard evidence that parabens cause cancer and you shouldn't worry because they are only used in tiny amounts, this is stuff I'm putting on my skin every day!  The effects sound really nasty so I think I'll pass.  The problem is that parabens are in most face creams.  I checked and thankfully they weren't in any body lotions we were using.  They were in my face cream.  :(+

I like moisturizers that have SPF in them because I am lazy about sunblock.  Germany doesn't exactly get a lot of sun and most day moisturizers do not have SPF.  I think this may be the reason Europeans appear to have sun damaged skin.  It's really hard to find anything with SPF.  First I checked the higher end.  I tend to believe that the more something costs the better it will work.  I couldn't find anything that had SPF without parabens.  I also like to buy things that say they are anti-aging even though I know that's probably a lie.  I guess I like the fantasy that a cream can keep you looking young :)

I decided to check out what I could get at the drugstore and found some Nivea products that were paraben free and had SPF.  After a lot of searching and a lot of label reading I settled on two to test.  The Pure & Natural night cream was nice except for the very strong smell.  I'm not sure if I can live with it yet.  I also picked up the sensitive day cream with SPF.  It is thankfully fragrance free.  Both creams are super moisturizing and pretty cheap.  While I was searching I also found some Balea moisturizers with SPF and no parabens.  The price was so low I was afraid to try them.  I really like a lot of things that Balea makes.  I'm in love with their body lotion.  I think it's the best stuff on earth because it isn't sticky and it doesn't irritate my skin.  It's a solid brand.
Pure & Natural Regenerating Night Cream