Can Blue Light Glasses Prevent Eye Damage?

silver framed eyeglasses on white table

The lockdown has caused us to spend more time staring at laptops and other digital screens. Some people are worried about prolonged exposure of blue light emitted from screens, creating the demand for blue light glasses. Blue light glasses have been popular amongst office workers and gamers, and are advertised to block short wave blue light, reduce eye strain, improve sleep, and prevent eye disease. Optical company Zenni reports that sales for the blue-light-blocking product Blokz have risen 60% annually for the last 2 years, with nearly 2 million pairs sold in 2020 alone. Market research company 360ResearchReports, projected that the global market for blue light eyewear will increase from 19 million in 2020 to $28 million by 2024.

What is blue light?

red clouds in the sky

Blue light is a visible light on the light spectrum with a relatively short wavelength of about 415-455 nanometers. Because of this, blue light contains more energy than many light types. Blue light is not a new phenomena. In fact, most of the blue light is from the sun. However, gadgets like televisions, smartphones, laptops and tablets are found to emit brighter, shorter wavelength light.

What are Blue Light Glasses?

man wearing black frame eyeglasses

Blue light blocking glasses have special lens to block or filter out a portion of short wave blue light. The lenses are advertised to protect eyes from blue light emitted by digital screens as prolonged exposure may lead to potential damage to your retina.

Do they actually work?

gold framed eyeglasses on white paper

In short, there is inconclusive evidence that blue light glasses reduce eye strain and protect your eyes from effects of blue light. This is partially due to the lack of research on this subject as blue light glasses is a relatively new product.

Can blue light from screens cause me eye damage?

closeup photo of person

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has said that blue light glasses is unnecessary for computer users and that blue light from digital devices does not lead to eye disease or cause eye strain. Some experts from Trusted Source suggests that prolonged exposure of low levels of blue light emitted from devices are not hazardous and that the demand for blue light glasses is born out of fearmongering from companies. A 2017 systematic review reported that some advertisers of blue light glasses received fines for marketing the glasses with misleading claims.

However, experts acknowledge that damage may occur with high doses of blue light or long durations of less intense exposure. Blue light can come in the form of tablets, computers, smart phones, and day light. According to an article by Medical News Today, the increased use of light emitting diodes, LED, organic LED and active-matrix LED, means people now have chronic exposure to blue light. The lack of research means that experts cannot rule out the link between chronic exposure of blue light from LED and eye damage.

As of now, further research is needed to determine if devices can emit enough blue light to harm the eyes. Long term studies are necessary to investigate harmful effects of prolonged exposure of blue light.

Can blue light glasses help me sleep better?

man lying on bed beside short-coated black dog

There are other arguments for blue light glasses such as blue light glasses can help one sleep better. This was found to be true. A study conducted by the University of Houston found that participants wearing blue light glasses show a 58% increase in night time melatonin levels. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology says that it is unnecessary to spend extra money on blue light glasses just for this purpose. Instead, the organization suggests alternatives to getting such a good night sleep such as decreasing screen time usage in the evenings.

Are Blue Light Glasses worth the hype?

woman using smartphone beside curtains

This may surprise you, but many eye issues caused by digital screen have nothing to do with blue light. Eye discomfort felt after long screen time falls under computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain. Eye discomfort is a result of eyes constantly shifting focus and moving on a screen. The lack of blinking can cause the cornea to be dry and irritated, hence bring about feelings of discomfort. Furthermore, the glare and contrast of light against the screen can cause headaches. A 2017 review of three clinical trials found “poor” evidence to support the use of blue-light-blocking glasses to preserve eye health and prevent dry eye. Blue light glasses users who claim that their glasses relieves headache and eye discomfort have a high possibility of being victims of a placebo effect as scientific evidence have yet to support direct claims that blue light glasses can cure eye discomfort.

What can I do to protect my eyes?

black and silver pen beside white book and black pen

There is inconclusive proof that blue light glasses are useful. Instead, optometrists provide helpful tips and tricks to protect your eyes and reduce eye discomfort.

  • Screen users are encouraged to practice the 20-20-20 rule to relax the eyes. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 
  • Use eye drops to keep eyes lubricated while you work on the computer.
  • Make sure you’re not too close to your screen as as sitting too close can strain your eyes.
  • Take eye breaks from the screen. Go for a walk! Start a hobby that doesn’t involve staring at a screen!
  • Dim the lights in your home or workspace. Healthline urges screen users to consider using red light as opposed to an LED bulbs as red light is less likely to disrupt your circadian rhythm.

Conclusion:

There is inconclusive proof that prolonged exposure of blue light can cause damage to the retina. In fact, there is no direct link that prolonged exposure of blue light harms the eyes. The discomfort and irritation that we feel is not because of blue light, but due to the overuse of electronic gadgets. Hence, it is imperative that we try to minimize screen time.


References:

 “Blue light glasses: Do they work? – Medical News Today.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/do-blue-light-glasses-work. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

 “The effect of blue-light blocking spectacle lenses on visual … – PubMed.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29044670/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

 “Do Blue Light Glasses Work? Effectiveness & Tips for Reducing ….” https://www.healthline.com/health/do-blue-light-glasses-work. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

 “Global Blue Light Blocking Glasses Market – Industry Reports.” https://www.360researchreports.com/global-blue-light-blocking-glasses-market-14357890. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

 “Attenuation of short wavelengths alters sleep and the ip RGC pupil ….” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/opo.12385. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

 “Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Actually Work? – Health Essentials ….” 18 Mar. 2020, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/do-blue-light-blocking-glasses-actually-work/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

 “News Pandemic Screen Time: Will Blue Light Glasses Help? – WebMD.” 15 Jan. 2021, https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20210115/do-blue-light-glasses-work. Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.

Can Gel Manicures Increase Your Risk of Getting Skin Cancer?

Shiny and chip resistant, gel manicures have become an indispensable part of many women’s beauty routines. Gel polishes are held in a long chain of molecules that form a flexible yet durable coat upon hardening. However, the downside with gel manicures is that ultraviolet light is crucial to cure the gel polish. In short, no UV light, no gel manis! To harden gel polish, a woman places her hand under a lamp emitting UVA rays. This is concerning as UVA rays are the most mutagenic wavelength range of the UV spectrum.

Are LED lamps better?

Some salons use LED lamps and you may be wondering if that is a better option. It is a common misconception to think that LED lamps are better as it uses LED instead of UV. LED is used by many salons as it has a much shorter curing time, however, this is a double edged sword as LED lamps actually emit much more intense UVA rays than UV lamps or even the sun. Another concern for the use of nail lamps is that there is no standard for how long hands should be kept under the lamp. Salons are more likely to want over cured gel nails and happy customers instead of an under cured nails, prolonged exposure of UVA lights add up.

Does gel manicures increase my risk of developing skin cancer?

person wearing silver ring with black manicure

According to an interview conducted by Today magazine, Dr. Chris Adigun, a dermatologist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who specializes in nail disorders and who contributed expert advice on the safety of gel manicures for the American Academy of Dermatology said that theoretically it is likely that exposure to UVA rays during gel manicure appointments add up and may increase your chance of getting skin cancer as UVA rays increase one’s chance of getting skin cancer and one is exposed to those very rays during a gel manicure. However, she acknowledged that there isn’t enough research done to support this claim as gel manicures are fairly new.

Here is a compilation of research done on gel manicures:

  • A 2014 research warned longer exposure times led to increased potential for skin damage, but concluded the risk for developing cancer was small.
  • A paper profiled two women who had regular exposure to UV nail lights and developed squamous cell carcinoma on their fingers and hands.
  • UV rays are thought to not affect nail melanomas, however, a 2017 study discovered some nail melanomas contained mutations with a UV signature, which means a link between UV rays and nail melanomas cannot be shrugged off yet.

What can you do?

person holding brown woven basket

Worried about the risks but don’t want to give up gel manis? Don’t worry, we have some solutions for you!

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a broad based spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher before your nail appointment. Ever wondered what SPF numbers mean? Click here to find out. However, it is not clear how effective sunscreen is at blocking intense UVA rays emitted by nail lamps. The best way to protect yourself is to invest in a pair of fingerless gloves with an UPF (Ultraviolet protective factor). Covering your hand with garments such as scarfs, or other items of clothing also helps.

Finally, it is important to note that many medications can increase your sensitivity to UV rays and cause blistering and burns on skin exposed to nail lamp. If you’re currently prescribed some drugs, check with your doctor if it is okay to go for a gel mani.


References:

 “The Gel Manicure Lowdown: UV vs. LED | Allure.” 16 Dec. 2014, https://www.allure.com/story/gel-manicure-led-uv-light. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

 “Acrylic nail curing UV lamps: High-intensity exposure … – JAAD.” https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(13)00906-7/fulltext. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

“Further Investigation Into the Risk of Skin Cancer Associated With ….” 30 Apr. 2014, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/1862050. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

 “Occurrence of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers on the Hands After UV ….” https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/711988. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

 “Unexpected UVR and non-UVR mutation burden in some … – PubMed.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28067894/. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

 “Is a UV or LED lamp better for curing gel polish? | Salons Direct.” 25 Sep. 2014, https://www.salonsdirect.com/blog/is-uv-or-led-lamp-better-for-curing-gel-polish/. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

 “Are Gel Manicures Safe? – WebMD.” 23 Sep. 2014, https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/gel-manicure-safety. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

 “Are gel manicures safe? What to know about UV exposure, skin ….” 17 May. 2019, https://www.today.com/health/are-gel-manicures-safe-what-know-about-uv-exposure-skin-t154294. Accessed 29 Apr. 2021.

Essential Coping Tips for Living with Chronic Pain

painting of man

My name is Jackie Waters, and I am a mother of four beautiful and energetic boys. I live with my family on our three-acre hobby farm in Oregon. My journey has been full of challenges… including a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I know what it’s like to live with chronic pain and how the search for relief can sometimes feel hopeless, but I’ve learned through both research and experience that there are many things those of us suffering can do to ease our pain. While supported by research, the following article is largely based on my experience in coping with my arthritic pain. I hope these remedies will help you, too.

Although it seems completely unfair, chronic pain can hit you out of nowhere and with no clear trigger. Doctors sometimes don’t really know what causes it. What we do know, however, is that chronic pain is extremely tough to live with. Chronic pain can affect every aspect of your life, including your physical health, your mental wellbeing, and even your social life.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Finding ways to manage chronic pain can help you thrive in the face of your diagnosis. From healthy lifestyle behaviors to natural remedies like supplements, there are several ways to find relief and make peace with your condition. Here are some tips that I picked up while coping with my own chronic pain diagnosis.

Bring More Calm to Your Life

person lying on chair and facing on body of water

Feelings of stress can provoke muscle spasms, stiffness, and painful tension in the body. As a result, relaxation techniques can be beneficial for relieving muscle tension and reducing pain.

  • In shock from your diagnosis? If so, take some time for yourself to absorb the news and come to terms with things.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique for producing deep relaxation throughout the body and has been shown to relieve chronic pain, stress, and anxiety.
  • If your home seems like a breeding ground for bad energy, do some cleaning and decluttering to banish those negative vibes.
  • Begin your day with a calming morning ritual so you can stay relaxed right from the start.

Keep Your Body Moving

silhouette photography of woman doing yoga

Exercise can have surprising benefits for chronic pain patients. Besides reducing the severity of pain, physical activity has several other benefits for your overall physical and mental health.

  • Any form of exercise that doesn’t cause you discomfort may help to calm down overexcited nerves that trigger your chronic pain.
  • Start with small lifestyle shifts, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and devoting part of your lunch break to taking a walk, to increase your level of physical activity.
  • Try a gentle, low-impact form of exercise, such as yoga or swimming, to get your muscles moving without worsening your pain.

Prioritize Proper Nutrition

fruit salad on gray bowls

Certain foods can contribute to inflammation in the body, increasing the severity of chronic pain. Try to stick to a simple, clean diet to lower inflammation.

  • You can make all kinds of healthy recipes with simple pantry staples.
  • Some of the best foods for reducing inflammation include berries, fatty fish, and green veggies.
  • Consider cutting sugar from your diet. Sugar can hide in all kinds of packaged and processed foods, so be sure to read those ingredient labels.
  • If you have a sweet tooth, stick to dark chocolate!

Try Natural Remedies

sliced orange fruit beside green and orange vegetable

Prescription painkillers do nothing to treat the underlying cause of chronic pain, and they can be extremely addictive. Seek relief from natural remedies instead!

  • Natural solutions, such as supplements, can provide relief from muscle pain, improve your sleep, and assist in treating head tension.
  • Turmeric contains active compounds that are known to reduce inflammation.
  • Acupuncture treatments tend to work well on chronic pain in the back and neck.
  • Applying heat and ice may be effective for some types of chronic pain.

As you learn to live with your chronic pain, you will figure out which strategies and techniques work best for you. Don’t be afraid to try different things until you develop your perfect self-care strategy. Coping with chronic pain is difficult, but it’s not impossible.

Refer to 1Source for a comprehensive library of health products and information about the importance of opting for safe ingredients when it comes to your health.

Relaxing Outdoor Ideas That Will Help You Reset

person on hammock

Even though we are tired, many of us has admitted to gravitating towards things that further exhaust us. Besides, we may believe we do not deserve a break and disregard our bodies’ pleas for rest. Nevertheless, it is crucial to get enough rest. Need a few suggestions on how to unwind? Do you love being active? Have a look at the compilation below and remember these outdoor activities for the next sunny day.

Walking

woman walking on pathway with falling leaves near body of water during daytime

A short stroll is an excellent stress reliever. Most people walk for spiritual and emotional wellbeing along with fitness. You catch some fresh air, work out your muscles, and get some exercise, talk about killing two birds with one stone! Forget the gym! An advantage to walking is that it can be performed anywhere without the need for expensive facilities. Besides that, walking has several health benefits such as help relieve joint pain, reduce stress, and benefit people who have rheumatoid arthritis.

Day hiking

woman walking on pathway on top of hill at golden hour

A growing number of studies indicate that hiking can help ease tension, stress, and even depression. The sights and sounds found in mother nature can soothe and lift your spirits. Studies have shown that there is a clear correlation between time spent in nature and lower levels of negative feelings. Besides that, nature has regenerative properties that increase energy and improve feelings of resilience and concentration. Getting some sunshine, listening to the sounds of nature, and a short getaway from urban setting can do wonders to restore your energy.

Reading outdoors

white cup with saucer near bok

Not all outdoor activities need to include exercise to be a successful stress reliever. Unwinding can be as easy as sitting on a park bench and reading a book or completing the daily newspaper crossword puzzle in your yard while getting your daily dose of Vitamin D! We are surrounded by electronic gadgets nowadays. It is imperative that we lower our screen time. Opt to read a book instead!

Cycling

men's black bike helmet

Going for a bicycle ride is not only a good work out, its also an excellent stress reliever. Often, riders speak of a “cycling high”, which is a great feeling after a cycling session. Scientific research has credited this phenomena to the rise in neurochemicals, dopamine and serotonin in the blood which can help boost your mood. Besides, moving out and about in nature has been found to help with anxiety. Cycling under natural light may also aid the treatment of a seasonal affective disorder. A fast bike ride has also been found in some experiments to lower blood pressure in individuals.

Camping

A woman walking in a field holding a Boxed Water carton

If you feel a bit more adventurous, going camping for a weekend or even a week can be a fantastic tension reliever. Most of you who appreciate the outdoors will be pleased to hear that, according to recent findings, spending a weekend exploring the beauty of camping resets your internal body clock as you are exposed to more natural light during the day and less at night. This will help repair disrupted sleeping habits and restart your body’s normal ‘circadian cycle,’ which anticipates day and night and determines how your body functions. This affects alertness, physical ability, temperament, and sleep.

Furthermore, when you are stressing out by the several activities you do regularly, your mental wellbeing begins to deteriorate. Camping allows you to relax and connect with yourself. Most people believe that camping necessitates a great deal of endurance or sacrifice. In fact, you can still have access to all of the contemporary conveniences you rely on while enjoying the great outdoors, particularly if you are camping in a place like MI state park campsites.

Swimming

woman in water

Not only is swimming a relaxing experience, it can also help you get in shape. Swimming not floods your body with endorphins or feel good chemicals, but is also very beneficial to meditation. Swimming allows you to concentrate on your strokes and breathe and let anxiety fade away. This basically washes away your static feelings. Importantly, advanced swimming skill is not needed. You set your own pace!

Conclusion

Relaxation is often undermined, but it is more important than we realize. Whatever is triggering the stress in you, take some time to try out one of our outdoor activities. With the cocktail of endorphins triggered, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much relaxed you’ll feel. Sometimes, all we need is a break.

How Home Design Can Impact Our Mental Health

gray wooden house

We’ve all been through days when we feel like heading home is the only good part. It might have been caused by anxiety due to work problems or emergencies. Or it could be due to a fight you might have had with a family member or spouse. You might have lost an important game. Or worst suffered the loss of a loved one. Once we’ve gone over the shock, our natural instinct is to go back home where we know we are safe and secure. It is here that we can destress and recharge. Lick our wounds, so to speak. It is in the homes that we retreat when we feel like we need social and emotional protection.

Although we have very little control over how the rest of our lives shape up, it is in our homes that we have full authority with the help of local contractors. No matter the style that you prefer – be it minimalist, maximalist, contemporary, or modern – the way we design and furnish our home, paint the walls, organize our personal items will always have a huge impact on our sense of security and overall well-being.

This is evident in children. You will often see them creating nests in their own bedrooms. They always want the things they love close by. Without any thought, they try to make their rooms as personal as possible, at the same time ensuring that it is a safe haven, free from the influence of others like parents and other siblings.

 Home Design and Mental Health

living room

Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental health problems that people face, according to the Mental Health Foundation. However, there have been several techniques implemented through interior design that has been shown to reduce both stress and depression. The connection between emotional well-being and home design is not new. But it is only recently that actual studies have been conducted to ascertain to which extent this connection is rooted. Within the healthcare industry, this link is well established. By creating space that facilitates social support helps boost our mental wellbeing.

We can cite an example of how delivery rooms have changed over the years. In the past, labor and delivery were done in a separate wing of the hospital. Family members were asked to wait outside while the mother goes through labor and delivery on their own, although assisted by doctors and medical staff. The delivery rooms of today are basically regular rooms where the family can visit and help support the mother in labor. Even during delivery, a spouse or a family member can stay with the mother to help her get through the process of giving birth.

Within the corporate and business world, there is careful consideration of the layout of office spaces. Corporate interior designers will pay attention to lighting, color, textures, layout, and even artwork to create a space that is motivating and uplifting to promote productivity, efficiency, creativity, and satisfaction. These designers pay close attention to the mindset as well as the aesthetics.

There are a lot of interior design elements that can be associated with helping improve the mental health of people. However, there are specific elements that are mentioned over and over again to have the greatest impact. These include natural light, expansive space, flowers and plants, color, natural elements, and artwork. When these are used correctly, it’s possible to create an environment that helps to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.

The Effects of Sunlight

white concrete house near green tree during daytime

A room that is well lit brings out a lot of positive feelings in us. But natural light may also help reduce depression. Whether you get it through being outdoor or through a window, a dose of sunlight is enough to lift our mood. As a matter of fact, with enough sunlight to light up a room, it can really make us happier. A prolonged period of not getting enough sunlight is enough to cause us to become anxious and depressed. In mental health, there is a term called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” which is a form of depression that many people experience during the winter months – when there is sunlight. Scientists have experimented with light exposure as a way to help boost people’s mood during this time of the year.

turned off laptop computer on top of brown wooden table

Sunlight may also energize and motivate people at home to work. A study conducted in 2002* reported that it is daylight that has the biggest impact in improving the productivity of people and increasing sales. There have been a lot of studies that demonstrated the many positive mental and physical effects of natural light. Another study* in particular states that workers who are exposed to natural light are able to outperform their colleagues who don’t get as much sunlight. And workers who are exposed to artificial light, there is signs of lower motivation, poor sleep, and lack of vitality.

Spaciousness Improves Our Spirit

flat screen monitor inside room

If you ask people, they will always prefer a spacious room rather than one that is cramped. Having an expansive space to live and work can be a great way to elevate our mood. One study* stated that people become more creative in rooms where the ceilings are high. Their moods are also greatly improved. Another way to achieve the benefits of having enough space, ironically, is in rooms with lower ceilings. It seems, rather, that a sense of spaciousness is a key element in creating happier spaces.

A home with a clean and open layout improves our mood. This is dictated by human evolution. For thousands of years, humans roamed the plains of Africa hunting and exploring the grasslands for food. Our brain is wired to function best when our eyesight is not obstructed by large objects. We can apply the same philosophy in our modern settings. Our homes can be made to feel open by how we design them, the choice of furniture, lighting, and how we organize our personal items.

In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz about the Konmari method of organizing our items. This method was founded by Mari Kondo, a champion of how best to tidy up and what it does to our well-being. She draws inspiration from the ancient practice of Feng Shui. For example, she espouses the idea that if an object doesn’t bring you joy, then you should let go of that thing. In her hit Netflix show, “Tidying Up,” she helps people with dramatic decluttering cleanses, helping them arrange and store their remaining possessions. She helps them transform their homes into a space that is cleaner, lighter, and noticeably happier.

Plants and Flowers Make Us Happy

two black suede armchairs during daytime

When we bring nature into our homes, it elevates our moods. An effective way to do this would be through house plants and flowers. A study that was conducted by Texas A&M* reported that the presence of plant life can help improve concentration and memory, as well as reducing stress.

There are many types of houseplants, many of which serve as natural air filters which help reduce allergens and improving the overall air quality. They can also increase the oxygen in the air, help stabilize the humidity, and improve the look of any room. There is little doubt why people feel more relaxed, at ease, and a lot more centered when plants are around.

Flowers can also help to lift our moods. In fact, flowers in the homes can reduce the chances of residents form developing depression. And besides their aesthetic beauty, flowers can have a relaxing and calming effect on a lot of people. Not only are flowers a great addition to just about any room, but they also make people happier.

Bringing Natural Elements to Boost Our Mood

gray fabric loveseat near brown wooden table

The use of space, sunlight, plants, and flowers all help to make people feel happier and more relaxed inside their homes. All of these elements are natural ones. All through the history of mankind, we have tried to mimic the beauty of nature inside our homes. Whether it is through woven grass mats, animal furs, or a Christmas tree, we have been bringing nature into our personal spaces for thousands of years.

The practice of Feng Shui is influenced by shapes and textures that represent the natural elements of earth, wood, water, metal, and fire. Modern homes of today can incorporate these elements in many different ways. The use of pools and fountains is a great way to celebrate the water. Mirrors and any reflective surfaces can also provide the same benefits. Open windows and fans help to bring the wind but fabrics that move can also provide the same benefits. Candles and fireplaces are responsible for bringing fire. As for earth and metal, this is represented in materials like iron, silver, brass, stone, and wood.

Colors for Mental Health

multicolored wall in shallow focus photography

A well-documented mood-stabilizing design is in the use of colors. Both researchers and designers continue to study the effects of colors and all their elements to improve the emotional well-being of people. When we talk of colors, we refer to reds, orange, and yellows as warm colors. Blues, greens, and purples are cool colors. This is not a coincidence. When we enter a noticeably warm room, we feel it physically. Cool colors make us feel the cold. This is one reason that the color red is so popular during the winter months while colors like teal and turquoise are popular during the summer.

Each color is also associated with certain emotions and decades of research has confirmed this idea.

  • Red is the color associated with aggression, passion, and power.
  • Orange is known for energy, competition, sports, and innovation.
  • Yellow is often associated with warmth and relaxation.
  • Green is a color best for soothing and making us feel calm.
  • Blue is the color that we use to evoke a sense of freshness, calmness, and serenity.
  • Purple evokes the feelings of luxury and privilege, at the same time the feeling of being special.
  • Grey is used in accenting the homes as it is a neutral color and evokes balance.
  • Brown is the color commonly found in nature. It makes us feel strong and reliable.
  • People think that black is the absence of color but in reality, black means all colors are present. It is linked with death, mystery, or unhappiness. But it is also the color for seriousness, sophistication, and intellectualism.
  • White is the most neutral color and one that is quite common in many homes. It helps make the room appear brighter, bigger, and more expansive.

It is also these personal spaces of ours that we live out important moments in our lives. It is this exact reason why our homes should be as comfortable, supportive, and relaxing as much as possible in order to provide us the needed emotional energy that we need to get through our day today.


References:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00994480.2002.10748389

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4031400/

http://www.informedesign.org/Rs_detail/rsId/3387

 Texas A&M

Why Everyone Should Watch “Toxic Beauty” Documentary

white and brown plastic bottles on white textile

Brief summary of Toxic Beauty

Toxic beauty is a documentary feature film following a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, a renown household brand. We follow personal stories of whistle blowers, survivors and women in a race against time revealing a series of ugly cover ups in the beauty & cosmetic industry. Besides that, the film weaves in a human experiment conducted by Mymy Nguyen, a Boston University Masters student who measures her chemical body burden when using different cosmetic products.

“The cosmetic industry is destroying women’s cells.”

This powerful statement mentioned by an ex formulator of one of the biggest cosmetic brands hooked me on immediately. I’ve had sensitive skin and eczema when I was a child, and the prolonged periods of itchiness and rash were not fun. Since then, I’ve always been wary of chemicals I apply on my skin, always fearful of a reaction. Even though I outgrew the sensitive skin phase, my sense of wariness about products I apply on my skin never left me. While my peers were playing with make up and slathering themselves in an assortment of cosmetic products, I stuck to the most routine: washing my face with water and applying sunscreen. After the unpleasant realization that I end up consuming the wax like substance, lipstick on my lips, I resulted to eyeliner as the only form of make up I use.

three makeup brushes on top of compact powders

Granted, some of the times, the lack of available scientific information in the present results in health issues in the future and cannot be avoided. However, what shocked me was that renown household companies like Johnsons & Johnsons which specialize in a range of baby products was engaged in a lawsuit that unveiled a series of cover ups that spanned across decades. Bear in mind this isn’t a direct hit on Johnson & Johnson as talc is used rampantly in other products. However, a link between talc and ovarian cancer was discovered all the way in early 1980s by world renowned epidemiologist Dr Daniel Cramer. However, nothing was done. No warning label was placed on talc even after the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared Talc as a possible carcinogen. The cosmetic industry has had little change since 1936, and the way we regulate personal care products need to improve.

I’d like to believe I’m an over cautious person, however, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that point that conglomerates often use harmful chemicals and ingredients in products and sell them to unwitting buyers. Labels such as “fragrance“, “parfum” and “aroma” do not show the ingredients used and can conceal a range of potentially hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, the fact that we live in a world operated by a post- market regulatory system is hazardous as a product goes into the market and a regulatory system kicks in only when there are incidents. The fact that we are slathering ourselves with potentially harmful chemicals every day of our lives doesn’t sit well with me. In 2004, Dr Phillipa Darbre, a scientist from the UK found parabens in breast tissue. In 2018, a study by the National Institute of Health linked breast cancer to the use of personal care products. Furthermore, the use of certain products high in oestrogen were found to link to hormonal disruption in baby boys causing a myriad of side effects such as developmental delays, low sperm count, infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity and skin disease. The idea that a lot of these “bodily malfunctions” are essentially self induced is worrisome. How do we make informed decisions? How do we know which product is okay to use?

black makeup brush, lipstick, and blush on powder

It is scary that our physical and mental health risks can be self induced through using products containing harmful chemicals. The documentary follows Mymy Nguyen who conducts a self experiment to measure chemicals in her body when she doesn’t use any self care products at all, when she uses all of her usual routine, and when she uses natural and clean products. It was shocking that when she used her products she’s been using for years eg shampoos, toothpaste, make up, the parabens and phthalates (toxic chemicals) found in her urine samples were higher than the 95th percentile of Americans. It is close to impossible to not use any personal care products as tasks like washing your hair or brushing your teeth cannot be avoided. She expressed her fear of not being able to have children and like the women we follow in the lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson expressed the guilt that the health risks were almost like it was self induced. I disagree with the statement, as I feel the chemists and R&D part of companies should be more stringent and responsible about the types of ingredients they choose to use. But how do we make sure that the products we use aren’t harmful to us?

Regulatory bodies such as the FDA should aim to be more stringent with regulating cosmetic products instead of buckling under the pressure of conglomerates who promise to self regulate. Furthermore, consumers should take one step further and use ingredient analyzer platforms such as 1Source, EWG, and Incidecoder to make sure that the products they use do not contain harmful ingredients / chemicals. It is really simple to use, especially if your ingredient label is filled with long chemistry names we are unfamiliar with. Simply type the name of the product into the platform. A rating of the products will be shown and toxic ingredients will be flagged. By making smarter purchasing decisions, consumers can support clean businesses and put pressure on other companies to use cleaner ingredients. For starters, here are some toxic ingredients and chemicals to look out for in your personal products.

Different types of harmful chemicals

woman in gray sweater holding lipstick

Endocrine disruptors:

  • Mimic hormone activity with links to birth defects, reproductive harm and cancer
  • Found in hair, nail, sunscreen and baby products, makeup, lotions, toothpaste, soap, fragrance

Phthalates:

  • Endocrine disruptors linked to developmental disorders, reproductive harm & cancer
  • Found in fragranced lotions, body wash, hair, skin, baby products, nail polish, perfume, color cosmetics.

Parabens:

  • Endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive harm, developmental disorders, cancer
  • A preservative found in deodorants, antiperspirants, soaps, hair, shaving, fragranced products.
Toxic Beauty Documentary: Endocrine Disruptors chemicals, even in small amounts, it is not worth the long term harm? “One common adage is that the dose makes the poison, that is not so straightforward with endocrine disruptors”

Toxic ingredients and Chemicals to look out for

  • Shampoos containing formaldehyde have a high risk of serving as an endocrine disruptor, and bring about side effects such as allergies, depression, and cancer
  • Deodorants contain endocrine disruptors such as formaldehyde which causes hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and tumors
  • Skin cream containing mercury, coal and tar may serve as endocrine disruptors that causes tremors, insomnia, and/ or cognitive dysfunction
  • Soap containing coal, tar and 1,4 dioxane may serve as endocrine disruptors that causes allergies, infertility and heart disease
  • Fragrance often contain toxic chemicals that are not disclosed and may cause allergies, reproductive disorders, and cancer
  • Skin lighteners containing chemicals hydroquinone and mercury may cause skin disease, organ damage or cancer

References:

“Carbon Black, Titanium Dioxide, and Talc – IARC Publications Website.” https://publications.iarc.fr/Book-And-Report-Series/Iarc-Monographs-On-The-Identification-Of-Carcinogenic-Hazards-To-Humans/Carbon-Black-Titanium-Dioxide-And-Talc-2010. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

“The Film — TOXIC BEAUTY.” https://www.toxicbeautydoc.com/the-film. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

“TOXIC BEAUTY.” https://www.toxicbeautydoc.com/. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

Hand Sanitizers Contain Carcinogens

person holding white plastic pump bottle

An online pharmacy, Valisure, raised alarm on a carcinogen found in hand sanitizers sold during the coronavirus pandemic. The pharmacy, Valisure, tested 260 hand sanitizer products for toxic chemicals and found high levels of benzene in nearly 44 products sold in the US. According to the 1Source database, Benzene is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and prohibited by the European Commission for use in cosmetic products. Benzene can harm individuals through dermal absorption or inhalation.

Hazards (UN GHS):

yellow hibiscus in clear glass vase

1. May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways (H304)

2. Causes skin irritation (H315)

3. Causes serious eye irritation (H319)

4. May cause genetic defects (H340)

5. May cause cancer (H350)

6. Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure (H372)

7. Toxic to aquatic life (H401)

8. Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects (H411)

red and white UNKs restaurant

Products entered the market by demand due to a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizers. To meet the high demand for hand sanitizer during Covid-19 public health emergency, the FDA allowed an ” interim limit of 2 parts per million (ppm) for benzene in liquid hand sanitizers. Before June 2020, FDA banned benzene in the manufacture of any stage of drug products due to its toxicity. Despite the relaxation, Valisure reported that out of 260 hand sanitizer products tested, 17% contained benzene, with the highest level of benzene detected at 16.1ppm, over eight times the interim limit.

Some of the brands containing carcinogens include Artnaturals, which ironically describes itself as born from a “desire to free beauty from high prices, toxic chemicals”. Star Wars Baby Yoda themed bottle was caught in crossfires. New entrants which appeared to plug the market after household brands such as Purell and Suave sold out were noted to contain Benzene. Tainted sanitizers can be found for sale at Amazon and Target. Out of the 44 hand sanitizer products contaminated with Benzene, 2% are manufactured in Mexico, 50% in China, and 34% in the United States.

List of tainted hand sanitizers:

1. artnaturals9. beauty concepts
2. Scentsational Soaps & Candles Inc.10. PureLogic
3. huangjisoo11. Miami Carry On
4. TrueWash12. Natural Wunderz
5. The Creme Shop13. clean-protect-sanitize
6. Star Wars Mandalorian14. Puretize
7. Body Prescriptions15. Hand Clean 100
8. Born Basic

Besides that, Valisure also detected unacceptably high levels of methanol, and a acetaldehyde, defined by the WHO and IARC as ” possibly carcinogenic to humans” . The FDA stated that companies manufacturing hand sanitizers should not ” add other active or inactive ingredients”, for example to enhance the smell or taste. However, out of the 44 batches of hand sanitizers containing benzene, 20 of their product labels indicate the additional ingredients which fail to adhere to FDA guidelines. Enhancing the taste and smell is hazardous, as it may increase the risk of making product more appealing to be ingested by children.

In the letter, Valisure requested that all contaminated batches of hand sanitizer be recalled by the FDA and that they conduct an investigation of products and provide information to the public.


References:

 “Phene; Benzene – 1Source – 1Source.com.” https://1source.com/ingredients/phene?lang=eng. Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

“Carcinogen Found in Hand Sanitizers That Plugged Covid Gap ….” 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-24/carcinogen-found-in-hand-sanitizers-that-plugged-pandemic-gap. Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

 “Some Hand Sanitizers Made During the Pandemic Have ….” 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/hand-sanitizers-made-covid-coronavirus-pandemic-carcinogen-benzene-2021-3. Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

 “Some hand sanitizers found tainted with cancer … – Chicago Tribune.” 25 Mar. 2021, https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-covid-hand-sanitizer-benzene-carcinogen-20210324-xfnmhfztorfcflursbxdyd5esu-story.html. Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

“Watch Fox News Channel and Fox Business … – Fox News Video.” 18 Jul. 2012, https://video.foxnews.com/v/5614615980001. Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

 “Valisure Detects Benzene in Hand Sanitizers – Valisure.” 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.valisure.com/blog/valisure-news/valisure-detects-benzene-in-hand-sanitizers/. Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

 “Valisure’s FDA Citizen Petition on Hand Sanitizer.” 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.valisure.com/wp-content/uploads/Valisure-FDA-Citizen-Petition-on-Hand-Sanitizer-v4.14.pdf. Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

I tried the Billion Dollar Morning Routine (Honest and Realistic Journey)

One night when I was on my phone during the hours of when I was supposed to be asleep, I came across a video titled ‘We Tried the 1 Billion Dollar Morning Routine’ produced by As/Is.

The video left me with curiosity and motivation to attempt the morning routine as well. Before I started, I did a little research.

As I believe, The routine was popularized by the motivational Youtube Star, Jim Kwik who showed on the Be Inspired Youtube Channel. The video currently has 6,327,884 views with 177k likes.

Upon research, there is no exact routine set by time. Some would wake up at 4:30, while some others wake up at 7 am. I concluded that the wake-up time would be after 8 hours of sleep. And of course, everyone’s routine is different. Those who wake up at 4:30 usually clock in for work at 7 – 7:30 AM, and those who wake up at 7 AM usually work from home.

Are you a morning person?

But the routines are similar, if not same.

  1. Wake up early
  2. Recall dreams
  3. Make your bed
  4. Drink a tall glass of water – while taking vitamins or prebiotics
  5. 20-minute breathing exercise/meditation
  6. 2 minutes of intense movement
  7. Cold shower
  8. Regular morning routine e.g. brushing your teeth, morning face cleanse, brew tea
  9. Write in your journal. In this journal, you must write 3 points of what to do (assignments) ; 3 points of what to personally do ; 3 points of what to feel; and 3 points of what to be.
  10. Read a book for 20/30 minutes
  11. Make a smoothie – suggested to use blueberries as they are ‘brain berries’
  12. Do a brain exercise

It should be noted that some people’s approach to this routine can be modified. Jim Kwik himself said in the video that he just tries his best to do it all.

My Attempt(s) at the Billion Dollar Morning Routine (Long Read Ahead!)

Day 1, the first impression

1. Wake up Early

I woke up to my alarm at 7… but I went for a 30-minute nap. Not the best start but it is definitely a very big improvement to my usual waking hour, which is usually 10. Worse, the latest I woke up was 2:30 pm…

2. Recall dreams

Coincidentally, I dreamed about doing the morning routine in my dream. However, it was more like a nightmare. I cannot remember the events but I knew the energy of the dream was chaotic, the most I remembered was hearing arguing and things crashing like bombs and I felt claustrophobic.

I personally believe that I am sensitive to dreaming, compared to my friends, I have several dreams that I still remember today.

The dream also felt really real, I thought I was already up in the morning. Until the alarm proved wrong.

3. Make your bed

I never make my bed, ever. I don’t see the point of it because I will eventually sleep in it again.

However, the step is not as boring as it sounds. Jim Kwik said that this step is intended to push people to accomplish more tasks, it creates momentum.

He says that, when we go to bed, we go back to the cycle of ‘success’.

4. Drink tall glass of water and take vitamins/prebiotics

I am ashamed to say… I don’t wake up to drinking water every morning.

Although it was only water, I did struggle, I felt like I was forcing down water when I felt full.

Before I drank the water, I had to go to the bathroom first. This step was supposed to be in the 8th step but I knew I couldn’t down a gulp of water if I weren’t going to take a leak first.

I also don’t take any supplements. My prebiotics are in powder form that I put in my morning smoothie.

5. 20 minutes of breathing exercise / meditation

I wasn’t exactly excited for this part, 20 minutes of sitting still sounded like it would put me to sleep. The purpose of this step is to fully oxygenate the body.

I simply searched for a 20-minute breathing meditation on Youtube. For day 1, I am following a guide by the Mindful Movement. I only realized after the meditation that the video was only 19:38 minutes, but better than nothing!

This step was not effortless. I struggled with staying still. So, I helped myself with the breathing exercise by using my body instead. When I breathed in, I would trail my upper leg to my knees with my hands, then sweep them back up while I straightened my back as I exhaled.

It is only after that I realized that I should have done it the other way. And well… I sometimes don’t breathe the right way. When inhaling, the stomach should be expanding, and the opposite when exhaling. However, I sometimes do this in the opposite way. I hoped to correct my breathing habit by doing this routine for the next few days.

By the end of this step, it is 8:02 AM

6. 2 minute intense movement

The purpose of this step is to wake my body. Note: This is not a workout of the day!

For Day 1, I split this step into 1 minute of jumping jacks and the other minute to high knees.

7. Cold shower

This step… I couldn’t take a straight cold shower. Especially since the morning is breezy. However, I did attempt to do it.

Instead of ignoring this step, I did a mix of a hot and cold shower. I turn the water to cold when I am washing off the shampoo and conditioner from my hair. I also did this at the end of the shower.

8. Regular morning routine

For this step, I brushed my teeth.

Cleansed my face. Since I was more conscious to my routine, I gave the #60secondsrule face wash a go.

Despite the positive feedback, I never attempted it. My face actually felt nice after 60 seconds of cleansing.

Then I blow dried my hair and made tea.

9. Write in Journal

10. Read a book

I am currently reading Eye Of The Red Tsar by Sam Eastland. I have issues with focus, so to help me read, I turned on reading music for my 20 minutes read. As much as I like reading this book, I was waiting for the timer to go off in the back of my head.

11. Make a smoothie

I didn’t have any brain berries that were suggested to be used. I instead used a herbal smoothie mix that I was already having as my breakfast.

12. Brain exercise

I downloaded the Elevate app for this step. I am using the free version. For the following days, I do 3 short exercises to strengthen my language and mathematics skills.

Day 2

Disastrous…

I couldn’t wake up early because I was tired. I slept late the night before (1:30 AM) from gaming with my friends. So I missed most of my morning (10 AM).

However as Kwik mentioned, he tries to complete all the tasks. So I tried to tick as many boxes as I can before the morning ends.

2. I couldn’t recall my dream

3. This time when making my bed, I put in more effort. It felt good to look at a neat ‘successful’ bed

4. Drink water – stopped my inner whining dialogue and just went with it.

Wrote in my journal…That is where the routine ends.

Day 3 (PAUSE)

This is the day when I had to stop the routine. I woke up late again from a long night of gaming with my friends. I felt very demotivated. I could have continued the routine as a Day 3, however, I wanted to give it another chance. If the ladies could do straight in the As/Is video, I should too.

So instead of trying to complete the steps, I sat down and wrote in my journal to reevaluate:

“I’m going to restart this journey on Friday the 25th marked as Day 1… clearly I failed twice. And as much as I am lazy, I am a perfectionist! Therefore, I’ll try again BUT I’m going to have to plan it.”

“I realized that I can’t push myself to wake up early at all after a ‘night’ (1-2 AM) of gaming on LOL. So to proceed with this routine, I must not play over midnight.”

“Something I noticed is that I am starting to inhabit step 3 and 4 (make the bed and drink water) with effort”

“For my journal lists, I must also be more specific and actually attempt to finish at least my to do’s”

“Instead of staying in bed for step 2 (recalling your dreams), I should get up and write it down in my journal since I am such a heavy sleeper… staying in my bed eyes closed? I pass out in 30 secs”

Overall, I initially went into this routine without any preparation, which was bad since the Billion Dollar Morning Routine is drastically different from my everyday lifestyle.

Day 3 (Redemption)

Day 3 was a massive improvement compared to the past 2 days of failure. Comparing how my day went between this day and the day before. There is a difference in motivation and drive. Even though the morning routine took some adjusting, it is a rewarding experience.

Day 4

As normally, the day went fine. However, the night out of Day 4 has caused another dip into my attempt at the routine.

Day 5

So indeed, after a night out (or to be more specific, an all ‘nighter’), I did not criticize myself as harshly as Day 2 or the paused day. Just like Day 2, I try to finish the morning routine within the hours of the morning. For a chill day, I had a productive workday.

So it’s not as bad as I described it earlier, but this is where the ‘dip’ happens.

Day 6

As observed, the day was not productive at all. So how did this happen?

When I gave myself an excuse for Day 5 and allowed myself to have a ‘chill day’, the slowly growing discipline I built up vanished. The routine is not for people who rely on motivation, but a habit mentality.

When I compared my progress to the ladies who attempted the routine from As/Is, it really demotivated me and in all honesty, it made my mental health fragile. I became demotivated and basically hated myself for the entire day. The day felt awful, productivity was not running, overall, it was grim.

Day 7

So, still being in the cycle of lack of discipline, I did not get the happy ending I wanted. However, I felt a glimpse of hope.

Although I did not have the best attempt. It made me reevaluate how I ‘drive’ my life.

Life without this routine

So to give the Billion Dollar Morning Routine a more fair judgement. I proceeded with a week of what my normal routine was.

And to no surprise. The week was less productive, unpredictable, exhausting and depressing.

I found myself in a spiral of some days waking up at 10 AM and some waking up in the PM. And with the progress of my work and activities in my life, made me want to stay in bed all day in the dark.

This experience had opened up my eyes. I didn’t think much of my normal routine. And because of how I felt with the Billion Dollar Morning routine, living my life how I normally did. I, for the first time, was hit by the reality of my everyday failure.

What I am taking from this attempt

The thing I did wrong was that I underestimated how challenging this routine was going to be. Especially for me, since I am a person who has more of a go along with the waves type of person. I have to give it to the ladies from As/Is, they made it look so easy!

Even though my attempt was not an accurate representation of this routine. I felt comforted by the women from their attempt where they as well have their own struggles with the routine. And like Freddie said “Do I feel like a billionaire? Actually, I do!”

So they both concluded that they themselves are going to take some things from the routine to add to their morning. Mei cleverly played on the words, made her own “Millionaire Morning Routine”

So for my personal take on the Billion Dollar Morning Routine. I am adding going to the toilet right after I wake up, and turn the 2-minute intense movement into a full workout because I do prefer exercising in the morning before breakfast. I’m going to work on the cold shower, but like the ladies, I’m sticking to the warm shower for now.

Challenge: Do the Billion Dollar Morning Routine for a week and see if you can use it in your life!

The Link Between Cooking and Your Mental Health

smiling woman standing and putting pepper on stock pot

Over the course of the pandemic, people have found new ways to keep their mental health intact — whether that means working out, journaling, or going on a Zoom call with friends. One such self-care routine is cooking. Of course, this is no surprise, as a full stomach can do wonders for elevating your mood. However, CNN notes that the act of cooking itself has therapeutic benefits as well. We list down a few of them below:

It gives you an achievable goal.


According to the Society of Clinical Psychology, behavioral action refers to “increasing patients’ contact with sources of reward” by exposing them to doable tasks that make them feel more accomplished. It’s one of the reasons ticking boxes off a checklist feels so satisfying — and cooking for mental wellness works in much the same way. The various activities associated with cooking, from dicing veggies to washing the dishes, all offer you a sense of control — which is something that’s sorely needed as the world navigates through COVID-19. When you’re focused on an achievable reward — a homemade meal, in this case — it’s easier to reduce procrastination and stay on track with your mental health.

It promotes mindfulness.

person cutting vegetables with knife

There’s a certain meditative quality in repetition that encourages mindfulness, and this includes the attendant chores of cooking. At its core, cooking is a ritual that gives you the opportunity to be present, appreciative and nonjudgmental. Focusing on your inner dialogue and the actual experience of cooking allows you to forget about your problems, if only for a moment. With that said, mindfulness is a muscle that needs to be practiced, and cooking is one good way to do that.

It helps you attain other fitness milestones.

assorted fruits and vegetable on brown wooden chopping board

Fast food culture has become prevalent around the world thanks to an increasingly busy workforce. But though fast food can be convenient, eating fatty, sodium-laden foods will eventually take a toll on your physical and mental health. Instead, make it a habit to cook your meals for the week ahead of schedule. This will not only give you full control over your nutrition needs, but will also free you up to do other self-care tasks like exercising and meditation.

To make meal prep easier, use multifunctional appliances. For example, you can use tools like the Braun FP3020 food processor to whip up a smoothie or shred some lettuce for a salad. Meanwhile, an Aroma rice cooker is great for cooking quinoa, rice, and even vegetables — all in one pot. With all this said, taking charge of your meals will make you healthier, both inside and out, so make meal prepping a part of your routine.

It engages the senses directly.

man in black and white stripe polo shirt holding bread


We’ve all been forced to stay at home because of the pandemic, which means we’ve had little to no sensory stimulation all this time. When this happens, everyday living becomes drudgery; you’re basically going through the motions with little reward. Cooking, however, can serve as a remedy, as it directly engages the pleasure centers of your brain through the sights, smells, and tastes of home-cooked meals. This gives you the mental health boost you need to take on other activities.

It allows you to flex your creative muscle.

person filling her plate


A report on Bloomberg notes that individuals who engaged in artistic activities reported lower rates of depression and greater life satisfaction. Indeed, everyone, no matter how artistically challenged, must have a creative pursuit in order to live a holistic life. For some, cooking fulfills that need. True enough, experimenting with recipes, ingredients, and cooking methods are also one form of self-expression that can bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment.

As we’ve mentioned before in our post on ‘Why Mental Health Should be Your Top Priority in 2021’, it’s important to pay attention to your mental well-being, given the effects of COVID-19. Take care of yourself by building positive habits like cooking, which nourishes both your body and your mind.



Natural hair dyes are not safer!

selective focus photo of woman in purple jacket

Changing your hair color is a luxurious treat, but going to a hair salon can be a costly affair.  To save time and money, many opt to dye hair at home with the help of boxed dye. Health conscious customers may purposely choose hair dye products with natural labels to reduce the risk of allergies, minimize chemicals, or cause less damage to the hair. However, the Consumer Council has discovered that many “natural” labels  are misleading and harbor false claims. Click here if you’re wondering how hair dye works!  

multicolored hair close up photography

The Consumer Council tested 26 hair dyes labelled with “natural”, “herbal”, “plant based”, and “organic”. Prices of hair dyes ranged from $18 – $450. Hair dyes were tested for 8 common hair dye allergens, ammonia, heavy metal content, pH, label information and the microbiological content of herbal henna samples. Results showed that companies utilized these keywords merely as a marketing tool, as the contents of the product failed to support its claims. 60% of the dyes tested contained allergens or heavy metals, posing a health risk to users. Conclusion of this report: don’t fall into the trap of assuming “natural” products are safer! 

13 oxidative permanent hair dyes and six henna-type products

The results showed that allergens were detected in up to 16 products. The three allergens found include p-Phenylenediamine (PPD), m-Phenylenediamine (MPD) and Touluene-2, 5-diamine (PTD) which is on the Poisons List of Pharmacy and Poisons Regulations. Phenylenediamine (PPD) contained highest content, ranging from 0.29% to 8.3%, with the latter from Herbul Sea Spirit  Grass Dyed Pure Black Hair. Although common, cosmetic regulations in the Eurupean Union and mainland China cap the concentration of PPD at 2%. Melva’s Hair Color Powder with Natural Nourishing Herbs exceeded the regulation by 100%, while Korean- made Cosline’s Squid Ink Speedy Color Cream was on point. 

What is PPD?

purple apple-cut haired woman facing at the back

PPD is commonly used in oxidative dye type hair dyes to produce colorful dye compounds when mixed with other chemical substances. Studies have shown that some people are at risk of developing scalp irritation, swelling, and even difficulty breathing. 11 products containing PPD, and 3 other henna dyes containing PPD: 

  • Herbatint’s Permanent Haircolor Gel (1N)
  • Naturtint’s Permanent Hair Color
  • Tints of Nature’s Simply Healthier Hair Colour Permanent Hair Colour
  • Khloris’ Sepia Seven Hair Color Cream
  • Naturigin’s Naturigin Natural Hair Dye – Black 2.0
  • Richenna’s Vitamin E Hair Dye
  • LUCIDO-L’s Natural Plant-based Hair Dye
  • Cosline’s Squid Ink Speedy Color Cream (1N)

Henna:

  • Hair Dye produced by Herbul
  • Ling Lee
  • Melva’s Hair Color Powder with Natural  Nourishing Herbs

Henna disaster 

people hands with tattoes

Natural henna needs to be applied for at least “three to five hours  before it can show a dyeing effect,” described by Consumer Council Chief Executive, Gilly Wong Fung-han during an interview with South China Morning Post. She described that many manufacturers may be tempted to add chemical substances to improve coloring effect as well as shorten the time it takes for the color to show. 

All six henna dyes were found to contain lead, with Herbul Sea, India, and Indigo dyes leading with a lead content of 3.1. Furthermore, Melva’s Hair Color Powder with Natural Nourishing Herbs contain a lead content of 0.4 to 0.6, with one sample containing 0.043 mercury. The heavy metal contents were within mainland China regulations, however the council cautioned prolonged exposure to the dyes. 

Furthermore, the total number of bacterial colonies in all samples exceeded the mainland’s requirement of less than 1,000 colonies per gram. Be Nature Organic Herba Powder was found to contain 250,000 bacteria, 249 times higher than what was allowed. 

One mutagenic ingredient prohibited by The Europian Union and mainland cosmetic regulations was found in TS Chakhan Hair Color Cream. Furthermore, there was an issue of false lalbelling as five of the hair coloring products failed to list the ammonia content. Out of the five, two of them (Herbatint and Tints of Nature- even claimed to be “ammonia free”, when they actually contained the chemical. Seven other products only had a partial list while two did not have any information on their contents at all. Read on to find out how 1Source can help you find quality products. 

The Consumer Council reminded consumers to conduct a skin allergy test on all hair dyes before using the product and highlighted that those with eczema or scalp damage should steer clear from hair dye treatments. Read on to find out how to use 1Source to navigate the beauty world. 


References:

“Hong Kong consumer watchdog warns ‘natural’ hair dyes are not ….” 15 Mar. 2021, https://toysmatrix.com/hong-kong-consumer-watchdog-warns-natural-hair-dyes-are-not-always-risk-free/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2021.

 “henna Archives – ToysMatrix.” 15 Mar. 2021, https://toysmatrix.com/tag/henna/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2021.

 “Consumer Council announces 60% of hair dye samples contained ….” 15 Mar. 2021, https://www.dimsumdaily.hk/consumer-council-announces-60-of-hair-dye-samples-contained-allergens-or-heavy-metal-content-ts-brand-contains-banned-drug-mpd/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2021

 “HK’s consumer watchdog found 11 hair dye products containing ….” 15 Mar. 2021, https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/167379/HK%E2%80%99s-consumer-watchdog-found-11-hair-dye-products-containing-allergens. Accessed 16 Mar. 2021.

 “Hong Kong consumer watchdog warns ‘natural’ hair dyes are not ….” 15 Mar. 2021, https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3125468/hong-kong-consumer-watchdog-warns-natural-hair. Accessed 16 Mar. 2021.