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The Things We Do For Beauty

Updated on April 6, 2013

Do you think that chemical beauty treatments are worth the risks?

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People do a lot of things to improve their appearance that are not necessarily good for them. They continue to use products and get procedures done that can make them sick and in some cases even kill them over time. I have included information on some of the most commonly practiced beauty procedures and what they are doing to your health. Some have fairly mild side effects while others you might want to avoid in the future.


Heading to the Nail Salon

Many people go to the salon and get their nails done a few times a month, but are their risks to a perfectly manicured hand?

E. coli is the first thing you should be worried about the next time you step though those doors. Improper cleaning of tools can leave dangerous bacteria behind which can make you very sick. Make sure that the salon you are going to sterilizes their tools with equipment such as a UV sterilizer or a heat sterilizer. These procedures of sterilization are sure to kill dangerous contagions. Make sure that the salon doesn't just sanitize their products, which means that they just use soap and water for cleaning.

A variety of dangerous things lurk in the tubs you soak your feet in as well. Many salons drain the water between clients, but not all actually scrub them down. Make sure you are getting a freshly cleaned tub and purchase a liner if they are available at the salon. They are usually about $1.00 and you can never be too careful.

Make sure that any equipment that can be one use only is one use only. Items like nail files and buffers can carry pathogens even if there is no visible blood on them. Ask for new nail files and buffers!

Don't let them use razors to remove calluses or hard skin from your body. Not only is that a procedure that is illegal in most states in the U.S. but it is an easy way to contract hepatitis or even worse from a dirty razor. On the topic of razors, do not shave 4 hours before going to a salon. Tiny micro-nicks in your skin from your razor at home can become an easy target for infection. Having your cuticles trimmed is also a big no-no. Cutting the delicate skin around your nail can cause dirt and bacteria to get under the skin and cause infection. Have them gently put cuticles back, but do not actually cut them.

Check to see if your tech has any recent training and that the salon is licensed. Just because they learned to do things 20 years ago doesn't mean that they understand what today's standards are all about. Your tech should be fresh from school or taking continuing education courses to ensure your health and well being are looked after.

New studies also indicate UV lights used to dry gel nails can be a cancer risk. This doesn't happen from a few visits for special events though, it has to be prolonged exposure over time. The reason this is a particular issue is, when women constantly wear polish on their nails they are less likely to notice discolouration under their nail which is a sign of cancer. It is advised that a layer of no less then 15 SPF sunscreen be applied to hands prior to heading to the salon, however this can wash off during other treatments and doesn't protect nails. It is best to bring it with you and apply before putting your hands in the UV setter, read your sunscreen direction for the best time to apply.


Colouring Your Hair

This is almost as common as brushing your teeth. People change their hair colour and style sometimes on a daily basis. There are risks to this seemingly everyday procedure.

Hodgkins Disease and multiple myeloma can actually be caused by colouring your hair with commercial colour. Up to 20% of non-hodgkin lymphoma in women is caused by continuous colouring of their hair.

Arylamines are major concern in hair dye. They are linked to bladder cancer in women, especially in women who systems are slower at flushing the chemical out of their bodies after a dye job. Don't think that you are safe just because your dye is not permanent, this substance also in semi-permanent colouring.

Allergic reaction is an additions problem with colouring. Even if you have never had an allergy in your life you can develop life threatening allergies just from colouring your hair. The allergies may not just be to colouring products from many things including; clothing dyes, gasoline, oil, artificial food colourings, colourings in medication, ink, preservatives like Parabens and a wide variety of drugs including those in the caine and sulfa categories.


Tanning Beds. Yikes!!

Ok, we all know that the sun can cause cancer. Some people choose to put on sunscreen to prevent cancer and others, well they are playing with fire.

Cancer! Does this word not scare people enough anymore. Normally people go out in the sun in the summer, hopefully wearing sunscreen, and their skin will get a break in the winter depending on how far north you live. The UV index, which is what causes tanning and burning, can be as low as 0 in the winter depending on where you live. When you use a tanning bed year round you don't get any break and most people wear no sun protection in the beds. Just asking for trouble

Damage to your eyes. Most tanning salons provide customers with goggles to wear while in tanning beds. These are to protect your eyes from the harmful effects and bright lights in the bed. Lots of people choose not to wear these and again cancer risks start. It is hard to see a cancerous speck on your eye unless you pay close attention so always wear protection.

Let me also clear up this whole 'base tan' thing. Studies show that base tans only give you about 2 - 4 SPF worth of extra protection, just spread on some sun protection while on vacation because tanning before hand really doesn't help.

Ribbon Model of What Botox Looks Like
Ribbon Model of What Botox Looks Like | Source


If I said to you, " Let's go to out and inject bacteria into our faces that can cause severe food poisoning!" Would you think that was a good idea? Well that's what Botox is made from. In very small doses it can be used to treat aliments such as; lazy eyes and severe muscle spasms but why would you use it if you didn't need to?

There are some mild temporary side effects to getting Botox. If you don't like needles then you shouldn't bother because that is the only method of delivery. There can be some pain and swelling as with any injection, also symptoms like; fever, nausea, sore throat and anxiety are common.

Allergic reactions can occur but are very uncommon. If swelling of the; face, neck, throat, tongue or lips happen you need to get to the hospital immediately!

A very scary consequence of Botox is leakage of the bacteria into other parts of your body. This can lead to death if not treated as soon as possible. Signs that this has happened include; severe muscle weakness, loss of bladder control, seizures and pain in the arms or shoulders.


Laser Hair Removal

This procedure involves having a low energy beam of light shone though the skin and to the hair follicle shaft. It then absorbs melanin and heats up, destroying the hair shaft and stopping future hair growth. This procedure is relatively safe compared with some of the others on the list, but there are still risks.

Lasers irritate the top layer of your skin and this can cause redness and swelling in the areas of treatment. This usually only lasts a few hours but can last up to 3 days and can have the appearance of a sunburn. Blistering is possible but most patients don't experience it. Make sure not to peel off any blisters that form on your skin as a result of the procedure because it could result in permanent scarring.

Your skin can actually change colour after getting laser hair removal. Discolouring of the skin can either be darkening or lightening of the skin around the area of treatment. This can last for as long as 12 months. Keep this in mind, especially if you are getting a treatment on part of your face. Usually when the colour change happens it is from using either Q or Alexandrite lasers, so make sure you ask what kind of laser they are using before you book your appointment.

Eye damage is a huge concern when dealing with any kind of laser. Make sure that you and anyone else that goes with you wears the safety goggles. They might not look cool but they could save your eyes and they fit over any regular glasses that you may be wearing at the time.

After you have finished the procedure make sure you wear sunscreen! The lasers used make your skin especially delicate and easily burnt by the sun. This sensitivity can last up to 6 weeks after you have the hair removal procedure.

With this valuable information you will now be able to make informed decisions about you health and beauty. Some of these you might find are worth the risk even after you know the negative side effects and that's ok. The great thing is we can make our own decisions, it is just better to be informed before we make them.


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    • MelonieGilchrist profile image

      Gamrgurl 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for you feedback! You are so right about women being divided on this topic. I actually can't use hair dye due to an allergy and figured other treatments might be a problem as well. Not everyone will have an issue in a salon or laser treatment, but it's good to know your risks going into it.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great topic! I used to think that beauty treatments, plastic surgery, etc.. were such unecessary endeavors, but as I get older, I must say I understand why women are compelled to invest in it. I am sure that women will remain divided on this subject for eras to come. Great thoughts!

    • MelonieGilchrist profile image

      Gamrgurl 4 years ago

      Thank you for the compliment! With all the treatments out there, and everything pretty much mainstream now, people have to be careful!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Great topic--thanks for a look at how important it is to be careful in the search for what modern society considers beautiful!