Blog Archives

Teeth Whitening

Bright Teeth Illustraiton by Kim Carney of MSNBC

Since I was a child, I’ve watched TV shows depicting beautiful people with white, perfect teeth. I grew up thinking that extremely white teeth were the standard for good teeth. Throughout the U.S., there are many products that sell kits to whiten teeth. In Hollywood, most celebrities don’t just have white teeth. They almost glow in the dark like cartoons.

Myself, I think this is a bit extreme. It’s normal not to have glowing teeth. It’s okay if they are slightly colored. Who can afford the time and money to get teeth professionally whitened once a month?

Are those teeth whitening kits safe? I’ve used several whitening treatments in my coffee addict days. They definitely made my teeth whiter, but they had adverse affects. I used the Crest white strips, whitening toothpaste, and whitening mouth wash. I used the white strips once daily and the mouth wash twice a day morning and night after brushing and flossing. One morning, I went to do my daily routine of brushing my teeth and I discovered a nickel-sized cyst that had grown on my gums overnight. I started freaking out; I’d never seen anything like it before. My bunkmate at the time, who was using the same products and process that I was, also had one near her molars on her gums. We both decided to stop the whitening treatments to see if that was what was causing it. Two weeks later, the cysts disappeared and never came back.

Since then, I’ve promised myself I’ll never use another artificial whitening product ever again. I’ve done a lot of research on artificial tooth care products and their effects, and it’s devastating. They can cause labored breathing, bloody urine, infertility, and incontinence. Wow, no thank you. I’ll stick to my natural whitening remedies.

There are many amazing natural teeth whitening remedies on the internet, but they can be overwhelming. I’ve been using a recipe for a tooth whitening toothpaste that I got from an ex-boyfriend. It’s very simple, cheap, and can last a very long time. Here it is:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 8 drops of peppermint oil

Put the ingredients into a big glass bowl and mix well. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate, scooping out about a week’s worth at time.

That’s it. It’s very simple and very effective. I have seen a great improvement in the color of my teeth from light yellowish to white. It takes about a month to really see any results but you’re avoiding crazy cysts and possible side effects. I will never go back. I love my new natural whitening toothpaste and you will too. So give it a try. It won’t hurt and I really think you’ll love it.

Commercial Deodorants Have Chemicals

Homemade Deodorant

How is your Deodorant working for you? Do you use a commercial deodorant product advertised on television?

How would you feel if I told you that most of those deodorants contain cancer-causing ingredients? Well, it’s true, they do. Many contain preservatives called parabens that cause hormone disruption—specifically, they mimic estrogen—and can cause DNA damage that could lead to breast cancer. You can recognize parabens in the ingredient list: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.

And do you think it’s good for your armpits not to sweat? No it’s not good. If you’re using an antiperspirant, it blocks your sebaceous glands from producing the sweat that should to help cool the body. You may think you will sweat more if you don’t use an antiperspirant; at first you will, but once your body becomes regulated and back to its natural state, you will not sweat as much and the odor will reduce.

When you decide to do the switch, you will notice changes. Aluminum is the main antiperspirant ingredient in almost all deodorants. Aluminum-based compounds are used to plug up sweat glands. Aluminum may be harmful when placed on to the skin or the breast; it also mimics estrogen-like cells that cause a hormonal effect which may contribute to breast cancer.

Now, remember, what you eat comes out through your pores. So even if you’re using a natural deodorant, if you eat greasy fast food, you’ll most likely still have an odor. Your body cleanses by expelling the toxins through your pores as well as your digestive tract. So eat healthier and you won’t have as much odor. A natural deodorant can mask the occasional scent.

Chlorophyll is also a natural plant-derived ingredient. Chlorophyll can be found in plants and gives them their green color, and it may help protect the body from cancer from the inside out. When ingested, it helps oxygenate the blood and cancer cells don’t thrive in oxygen. So eating a lot of leafy greens will help and act as an internal deodorant.

So which natural deodorant should you use? That all depends upon you. What scents do you like? Are you sensitive to certain oils or plants? If you’re still not sure, make a list of your likes of herbs and oils that help as a natural deodorant. You can even make your own; it’s very simple and cheap and you can have a lot left to make more in the future.

Here is a simple recipe that I use:

  • 1 cup coconut oil (antibacterial)
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

Just put it all in a cup and mix it all together and you will have a natural, healthy, safe, deodorant!

You can put it in a jar and use a scoop to get it out and rub onto your under arms.

Remember that it will take about 12 days to acclimate your body to the use of natural deodorant. So, be patient, and know that you will be reducing your risk of breast cancer by switching over to natural deodorant.

Love your Body

Since we were little girls, we have been bombarded with images of women with small waists, big boobs, curvy hips, long legs, perfect skin, and the overall “perfect body”. We grow up with insecurities from these images thinking that is the way we are supposed to be and, if we are anything else, we are ugly. Of course, all of this is due to TV, movies, magazines, and advertisements placing pressure on women to be this unrealistic image of “perfect”. What really is perfect? I believe there is no such thing. How can one body image be the ultimate ideal for every person on this planet? The answer is there isn’t one. Everyone has their own image of beauty in their head.

I find beauty in everything. Our unique qualities—not mass populated images—make us beautiful. One of my personal favorite celebrities is the female artist P!nk. She is not the typical beauty that you see in Hollywood. She has a muscular physique and a more boyish figure, with small breasts and small hips. But she exudes confidence and love for herself and her body regardless of the Hollywood image of beauty. Yet we still have women like Kim Kardashian splashed across all of social media, magazines, and TV. She has had plastic surgery to alter her appearance and to maintain the Hollywood image. Don’t get me wrong, she has a very curvy figure and that has changed the ideal image from anorexic thin to voluptuous but, she is still shown as having absolutely no imperfections thanks to her plastic surgery.

As women, we need to learn to be happy with our bodies. Do daily affirmations and rituals to show love to ourselves. On my bathroom mirror, I have a card on which is typed “You’re Beautiful”. It reminds me that regardless of how I see my bodies imperfections, I should love myself. Even if you are overweight hating yourself won’t help. Learning to love yourself will give you the mental strength to push yourself to a healthier lifestyle. Think about it, if you really think everyday “OMG, I hate being this fat, I am so nasty” it will cause you to be depressed and depression brings on fatigue, anxiety, bad eating habits, and this whole cycle continues. Positive thinking helps bring results. it makes you push forward for a better and happier life.

Of course, eating healthy and exercising helps increase our confidence and makes us feel beautiful. I know that when I am exercising on a regular basis, I feel clear-headed and amazing. I see myself as strong and making good healthy progress in my life.

Another issue we have with body image is body-shaming. Social media is the most popular place to post pictures of people doing embarrassing things and they may not even know they are being photographed or filmed. The other day, I saw a video on Instagram of a bigger woman riding a bike at a good rate, working hard, and clearly trying to get some exercise. And all the video said was, “This woman is so big, you can barely see the bike. Elephants should stay at the zoo.” Why would we say this about this woman who is clearly trying to improve herself and become healthy? We should be encouraging this woman, not shaming her.

So ladies, let’s stop body shaming ourselves and others and start encouraging positive body image. Let’s face it, ladies, there is no real “perfect” in this world. We are all unique and we should embrace it and love who we are as women.

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

It’s almost spring and summer will be right around the corner. The one thing we always hear during the spring and summer months is “Wear Sunscreen!” Ok, we know the the risks of not wearing sunscreen but do we know the risks of wearing it? Everyone thinks that sunscreen is all upside with no downsides. Unfortunately, sunscreen comes with many risks.

Most store-bought sunscreens contain harsh cancer-causing chemicals that cause aging and damage to your skin. For instance some of the most well-known and widely-used sunscreen in the U.S. have some chemical ingredients that may be extremely harmful and could cause serious problems. What are the ingredients that may be harmful? There are many, but here is a list of the ingredients that I try to avoid:

  • Oxybenzone: This is a chemical penetration enhancer that provokes a reaction when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. When absorbed into the skin, it can provoke an eczema-like reaction that sometimes spreads beyond the exposed area and can stay on your skin well beyond your time in the sun.

  • Octinoxate: One of the most common ingredients in sunscreen, it helps other chemicals to absorb into the skin. It can disrupt hormone balance when mixed with water—perhaps by jumping into a pool while wearing sunscreen. It can also produce free radicals which can damage your skin and cell tissues.

  • Retinyl Palmitate: A derivative of vitamin A, Retinyl Palmitate is supposed to improve the sunscreens performance against UV damage but actually, when exposed to the sun, it can break down and create free radicals that damage cells and DNA, and possibly cause cancer.

  • Paraben Preservatives: Parabens are in many products and could be very harmful. They can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and are suspected to be a major factor in breast cancer.

Now that you know that there are risks, please make sure to look at the ingredients to make sure the product is safe for you and your loved ones. The Environmental Working Group does an annual study of sunscreens and they provide a list of healthy sunscreens and brands that you can research yourself. They also provide a breakdown of the ingredients of the various products and why they are safe for you.

Get out there and enjoy these glorious seasons, but use a safe and effective sunscreen so you can fully enjoy the sun without hurting yourself or your skin.