The world of beauty often seems glamorous, elegant and alluring, but could there be a darker side to the image? Although many women love beauty magazines and products, the aesthetic industry is not as chic as it may seem. Stacey Malkan, author of the award-winning book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, says that after five years of researching the chemicals big companies use in common, cosmetic products, she wanted to reveal how these companies were responding to concerns about toxicity.
“In the book, I recall going undercover to an industry conference and listening in for eight hours as the companies discussed their plans to avoid regulations,” Malkan says. “The beauty industry has a lot of power over us-over our sense of selves, over the public space, even over our bodies as they continue to expose us unnecessarily to toxic chemicals.” Fortunately, Malkan believes that the consumer and patient hold far more power than they may believe. “We get to decide which products to put in our bodies and which companies to support with our money.” We completely agree. It’s crucial to become your own authority and take charge of your skin, especially when dealing with cancer.
If you continue to feel overwhelmed while choosing safer products, try remembering that any reduction in toxic exposure is better than none, and every informed decision you make is a step in the right direction. Luckily, we’re not without hope, because the book also includes information on certain companies that are working hard to raise the bar on safer and more natural products. “Many people have said the book can be scary but empowering,” Malkan says, “but this is information that every person needs to know.” If we work together, she believes that educated and empowered patients can give the beauty industry a makeover, one step (and voice) at a time. To join in on the fight, try signing up for the Safe Cosmetics action list, purchase your own copy here, or go to the Not Just a Pretty Face website for more information.
* Do you think the beauty industry needs to change? Are there any companies or products that you personally trust? Let us know!