Beauty queen offers ugly adviceWritten by Colleen Kennedy | | email@example.com
Former Ms. America Susan Jeske knows a thing or two about beauty but her Saturday, April 17 speech has some ugly advice.
The 48-year-old Californian will discuss the ugly truth behind the beauty industry to raise awareness about the potentially harmful effects of common personal care products.
Hosted by the Northwest Ohio Health and Wellness Partners, the event will be held at the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“When I was younger I was taught that your skin is a barrier between you and the elements but that’s not true,” Jeske said. “Your skin is the largest organ in your body; it’s a living organ. These cosmetic and personal care products contain chemicals that are absorbed through the skin, inhaled or digested and are linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other health problems.”
Several years ago Jeske suffered from skin problems primarily on her scalp including itching, profuse sweating, scales and puss pockets. Jeske consulted a holistic doctor who asked what she had been putting on her skin. Upon showing him what products she was using, Jeske said the doctor advised she switch to natural and organic products. Within two weeks of switching, Jeske’s longtime skin irritations had disappeared.
That still left one unresolved issue: the products Jeske had been using were manufactured by the internationally renowned cosmetics company for which she was among the upper echelon, but preferred to not name. In February of 2008, despite some uncertainties, Jeske gave up her six-figure salary and company car and dedicated her time to advocating her cause.
“I didn’t even know what I was going to do for a living,” Jeske said. “I started studying everything that had to do with natural and organics. That’s when I realized the FDA is not protecting us.”
Over the past seven decades, the United States has banned ten chemicals used in cosmetics and skin care products. A concerning number, Jeske said, when compared to Europe’s list of 1,100.
“There is no regulation when it comes to cosmetic and personal care products,” Jeske said. “As a matter of fact, they’re the least regulated products on the market today. That’s incredible.”
But this isn’t just an issue that effects women. Jeske said the average women uses 12 to 24 products, from shampoo to lipstick, per day on her skin and through those products is exposed to 200 chemicals daily. Similarly, the average male uses only six to 12 but is still exposed to 126 chemicals.
“When you talk to cosmetic companies they’ll say it’s such a small amount that it doesn’t add up,” Jeske said. “That’s a bunch of bologna because I remember the tobacco companies telling us that one cigarette was not going to kill you — which is true. One cigarette doesn’t kill you; it’s multiple packs, day after day, year after year.”
Consumers should also be aware what cosmetic companies consider “safe” for products. What “safe” means, Jeske said, is that the company has tested the product’s ingredients to determine if they cause rashes, swelling or other acute reactions. What they’re not required to test for are long-term negative health effects.
Despite her past experiences, Jeske still loves make-up and uses at least 42 different personal care products daily. All of the products she uses are natural or organic with the exception of mascara which Jeske admits she hasn’t been able to find a well-performing substitute for.
“People need to learn how to make safer choices until the government starts watching out for us,” Jeske said.
Admission is free but seating is limited. To reserve a spot contact Bob Holmes at (419) 475-9957. Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will be donated to the Northwest Ohio Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.