Is Deodorant Shortening Your Life?

Do you often wonder if you smell? Are you one who NEVER leaves home without a heavy coat of deodorant under your armpits? If so, take note…

The ABC’s of B.O.

Being conscious of your stink factor starts early on in middle school. This is when you sit through the prepubescent talks about the inevitable biological changes that will soon take place, such as emitting a new and rather objectionable body odor.

Companies have used these classroom lessons as an opportunity to promote their deodorants by providing product samples and coupons to preteens. But unless you’re told otherwise, you probably assumed these products are safe.

Here’s what you need to know about minimizing your unique essence, deciphering deodorant ingredients, and being a smart consumer.

How Chemicals Enter Your Body

Hair follicles (small ducts containing the hair shaft) and sweat pores are open entryways to chemicals. Areas of the body that are particularly hairy (e.g., the underarms) and have higher concentrations of sweat pores (e.g., under the arm) are most easily penetrable by chemicals.

Once chemicals enter the body and penetrate the deeper layer of the skin, they’re distributed via the bloodstream where they may exert their effects far from the original point of entry. Transdermal patches are effective because they deliver medication through the skin and into the bloodstream.

“Safe” Until Proven Toxic      

Deodorants (classified as cosmetics) are considered safe only until they’re proven toxic. Until a chemical is tested and evaluated for toxicity or if the results aren’t publicly available, current laws recognize the chemical as safe.    Thousands of chemicals are considered “safe” because the government agencies cannot address the hazards associated with all of them.    Continue reading “Is Deodorant Shortening Your Life?”

Potential Cure for Baldness?

Stress linked to graying and hair loss.

U.S. researchers made an unexpected discovery that seems to restore and prevent hair loss. The experimental study injected a compound called astressin-B into mice to block a hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor or CRF.  CRF is a stress-related hormone that’s linked to depigmentation (graying) and hair loss. Continue reading “Potential Cure for Baldness?”

Can Enzyme Supplements Prevent Gray Hair?

Q: Regarding your post on How to Prevent Gray Hair, can an individual augment the level of enzymes to generate pigmentation with pills or injections? ~ D.E., Santa Fe, NM

A: Thousands of enzymes are manufactured by the cells in all living matter with each having a specific purpose.  All chemical reactions in the body (i.e. breaking down or synthesizing compounds) are regulated by enzymes and you could not live without them.

From Body to Bottle

supplementsDue to the “more is better” mentality, there are many enzyme products and advertisements in the marketplace.  However, there is not enough clinical evidence that would support swallowing or injecting enzyme supplements to keep you healthy as well as prevent gray hair (in particular, the enzymes catalase to break down hydrogen peroxide and tyrosinase to produce melanin).

Continue reading “Can Enzyme Supplements Prevent Gray Hair?”

How to Prevent Gray Hair

Q:  Why does hair turn gray?  Is there any way to slow down this part of the aging process? ~ K.P., Richfield, OH

A: Hair is initially white (no pigment) and gets its natural color from a type of pigment called melanin.  Melanin begins forming (melanogenesis) in utero and is produced by specialized pigment cells called melanocytes.

These cells are located at the opening of the skin’s surface where the hair grows.  When a hair is being formed, melanocytes inject pigment into epithelial cells within the hair follicle (a sac from which the hair grows).

Blonde, Brunette and Somewhere In-Between

Hair has only two types of pigments – dark (eumelanin) and light (phaeomelanin) – but they create a wide range of colors.  Your natural hair color is determined by the amount of and blending of melanin in the middle layer of the hair shaft (cortex).

Gray Hair

Pigment cells die and hair loses color
Pigment cells die and hair loses color

White hair has no pigment.  Gray hair has a reduced amount of pigment.  The mixture of pigmented hair and white hair produces the perception of “gray hair”.

Hair loses color and starts to gray when pigment cells die and levels of enzymes decrease.  The chances of your hair color turning gray increase 10-20% every decade after your 30th birthday.   Continue reading “How to Prevent Gray Hair”