In my new found quest for health, not only have I become conscious of what I put into my body (ie, no more Taco Bell) but I’ve also started to take note of what I put on my body. As I’ve mentioned over and over, I’m a self-proclaimed girly-girl. Sephora and the MAC counter are my own personal brands of heroin (like that Twilight reference? Gosh, I’m a nerd), and I could happily spend hours on end in each store. Every day. Seriously.
I’ve never given it a moments thought. As long as it didn’t irritate my sensitive lupus skin, if I liked the way a foundation covered my malar rash, a moisturizer moisturized or if I wanted the new sparkly eyeshadow MAC came out with, I bought it. I never read labels. Parabens? Sulfates? Feh! If my skin looked good, than I was swiping my credit card faster than you can say mattifying primer.
Recently, the media and many beauty blogger sites have spent a great deal of time discussing the dangers of parabens, preservatives used in cosmetics and in food, that are absorbed through the skin, the GI tract and into the blood. What exactly are they and why shouldn’t I be putting them on my face?
According to the FDA, parabens are “the most widely used preservatives in cosmetic products. Chemically, parabens are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Typically, more than one paraben is used in a product, and they are often used in combination with other types of preservatives to provide preservation against a broad range of microorganisms. The use of mixtures of parabens allows the use of lower levels while increasing preservative activity.”
Preservatives that help my makeup and skin care products last longer and prevent the growth of microorganisms so I’m not spreading Ebola all over my face. That doesn’t sound so bad, right?
Not so fast. Doing further reading, there have been numerous studies indicating measurable concentrations of different parabens have been detected in breast tumors. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to receptors on cells, and also increase the the expression of genes usually regulated by estrodiol, a form of estrogen. Studies have shown these genes cause human breast tumor cells to grow and multiply.
I have done a good bit of reading, and perused some reputable studies. That said, please take note I am obviously not an expert, nor would I ever pretend to be. But as someone with a strong family history of breast cancer (every woman in my Mom’s generation, my Grandmother and all three of her sisters, and my paternal grandmother) it is a bit concerning. Who knows if this is just a fad, and in a few years we will be once again rejoicing over the use of parabens. But, I have enough health issues as it is, so if I can prevent a little cancer by not rubbing them on my face and body, I am all for it. I’m vain, not stupid!
So that brings to me to my search for a new skincare line that is paraben free, but would be gentle for my uber sensitive lupus skin. Some anti-aging properties and a good SPF are a must, too! Darn, back to Sephora.
After hours of reading labels, speaking with Sephora skin-care specialists and trying a ton of samples, I finally found what I was looking for (take that, U2!) This was not an easy task, as there are not many products that meet my qualifications and at the same time don’t cause irritation.
Meet the big winner! First Aid Beauty. FAB for short! Perfect! The line is free of parabens, sulfates, other harsh chemicals, alcohol, dyes and fragrances and is targeted for the most sensitive skin types. Many of the product reviews on Sephora’s website were written by Lupus sufferers.
- 5-in-1 Eye cream– softens, brightens, and has anti-aging properties to prevent wrinkles.
- 5-in-1 Age Delay Face Cream w/ SPF 30- Used during the day, a great moisturizer. Combats signs of aging, brightens & evens my skin tone, moisturizes but absorbs into my greasy Prednisone skin, doesn’t cause breakouts or sensitivity, and most importantly contains SPF 30, the most important aspect of skin care for any lupus sufferer. Wears great under my makeup!
- 5-in-1 Age Delay Restore Cream- Used as my night cream. A rich moisturizer that has all the great qualities of the day cream without the SPF. Provides deep hydration without feeling heavy or greasy, doesn’t irritate or cause breakouts, and helps prevents wrinkles!