Oh, dining hall food. No matter how good your college says it is, it is never good. Tufts certainly does not have the worst food. It is edible, and they do have a great salad bar, but sometimes you just cannot eat it anymore.
You need a break. There’s also the fact that it closes by nine–very problematic for late-night hunger. So what do you do? You order pizza, or eat the junk food that you’ve stocked up on for just such an occasion. Problem: Your skin doesn’t like this plan as much as your stomach might.
Now, everyone has her own special skin cleaning routine. I, for one, have never had particularly bad skin, and so I never used to wash my face. I know, terrible, right? I shower in the morning (I’m not a morning person; it has always been the only way I can wake up) and so I used to go to bed every night with my day’s makeup still on. My pores must have been so gross! I should have had the worst skin possible. I guess I lucked out.
When I got to college, I noticed that my skin started to get a little worse. Ironic, because I no longer wore makeup every day. But I was staying up later and therefore eating greasy foods late at night, and I think that this was the problem. I decided that it was time, at 19, to begin a skin care routine. Well, I looked at my options and was overwhelmed.
Turns out there is a remedy for every skin ailment. And every brand advertises quite well. Did I want a scrub? A cream? A milk? A foam? One specifically for blackheads? Acne? Oh my. We should mention that I am very bad with decision making. Obviously I was going to get one from the health food store, but that didn’t narrow down my options very much.
I decided to go with mother (I figured she would steer me in the right direction) to our health food store over winter break in search of the perfect facial cleanser. I saw a few that looked perfect and brought them to her for approval–and was shot down. “But it’s the health food store! What could be wrong with them?!”
Parabens. That’s what was wrong with them. Parabens. They aren’t very popular in my household. Parabens are chemical compounds that help prevent bacteria from growing and running rampant; therefore, they are used in many products like facial cleansers, sunscreen, shampoo, etc.
The problem? Parabens have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, mimicking estrogen. Estrogen has been noted as a key player in the growth of breast tumors; and sure enough, parabens have been found in the tumors of women with breast cancer. While it has yet to be proven that parabens cause breast cancer, it is hard to deny that there is an ominous connection between the two.
Let’s just say that I didn’t choose one of the facial cleansers that listed “parabens” under its ingredients. There are face products that do not use them, so if you really care about not being exposed to them, just spend a little time in your health food store reading the labels. I found a product that I am overjoyed with–see if you like it, too! I’m using Evanhealy rose cleansing milk. It’s ridiculously lovely.
Note to self: Clean your face, for real–not with parabens.
Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.