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As beautiful people everywhere will tell you, it’s not easy to look fabulous, but what you may not know is it’s not always safe, either. While it’s no secret that fashion and health aren’t always simpatico, there may be dangers lurking in your beauty regimen you haven’t even thought of. 


For instance, people who want the sun-kissed glow of a tan without the skin damage often head for the local spray-tan place. Not to be a downer, but that fine bronzing mist also has its risks. Many chemicals in self tanners are harmful or toxic in larger amounts, and have been linked to cancer and other nasty stuff. Remember, anything you put on your skin (or breathe) can get in your body.  Also, many people have had problems with rashes, dizziness, and coughing. A solution is to find a safe self-tanner, one without all the harsh chemicals. 



We all know about the obvious hazards to piercing – uncontrollable bleeding, stretching, metal allergies, infections, and scarring, just to name a few – but those 

who don’t go to a reputable salon face additional dangers: HIV, tetanus, and Hepatitis B and C could be on the piercing needle.


Of course a tongue piercing, although it endows your speech with such a “beauthyfoo akthent", presents a whole host of dental dangers. That little silver stud is like a wrecking ball on your pearly whites, chipping away at enamel like a periodontal woodchuck.  


Here’s something to think about next time you’re trying to break-dance your way into those new tight jeans; packing those sausages might be hurting your health. A neurologic condition called Meralgia Paresthetica is the fancy term for what happens when your tight pants constrict a nerve. Those tingling and burning sensations you’re feeling aren’t people checking you out, they are nerve damage and Mother Nature’s way of telling you to size up.  


Blood clots, yeast, and bladder infections can also ruin your day if your blues are too tight, but it’s a condition called Genital Heat Stress that should make you sit up and take notice. It’s pretty much what it sounds like; if your private parts toast in their stone-washed cotton kiln for too long, various important tissues and systems begin to shut down. Tight jeans also reduce cooling air circulation, making this condition more likely. If you feel an unpleasant prickly heat then it’s probably time to change into a stylish pair of baggy sweats.


Bras have caused anguish to women for many years, but it is completely taboo to run around without one. Unfortunately, this double-standard has even infiltrated the workplace, where many companies require them in the dress code. Underwires can poke and bruise delicate tissue, and bra straps can generate serious back problems and rub skin completely raw. Still, doctor’s studies show that the lack of a bra can lead to more severe back problems for certain women. 


The main cure for your brassiere dilemma is to ensure that you are wearing a bra that fits you. Ill-fitting bras are more likely to cause problems. If it is your straps that are causing the hang-up, try bras with a different strap placement, or find bras that allow you to custom change the placement yourself. A product called The Strap Perfect clip can also help. 


By the way, those rumors you might have read about linking bras to cancer have been put to rest by the American Cancer Society. An ACS press release states that the gossip sprang from a husband-and-wife team of medical anthropologists who composed a book, Dressed to Kill. The ACS says that the study did not factor in other options, and overlooked certain variables that weakened their study. Furthermore, they say that due to the path of blood flow through the armpits, there is not significant evidence that lymphatic compression is a factor in breast cancer. 


In a totally unrelated issue, a woman named Roberta Ritter of Parma, Ohio began a battle in 2008 against Victoria’s Secret due to a rash on her breasts and arms. She said the rash stemmed from chemical baths in which the company’s bras were allegedly soaked in formaldehyde. Presently, the plaintiff has dropped the lawsuit and Victoria’s Secret released a press release in which they claim that they “carefully select the types of raw materials used…and avoid problematic ingredients.” 


The point made here is that all undergarments, including bras and other new purchases, should be washed and cleansed thoroughly before wearing. No company can be entirely sure of what chemicals are found in the dyes and treatments used in their fabrics. Although it may be daunting to wash every thing you buy, you certainly don’t want to end up like Roberta. 


Along the same line, you must also be extremely careful with that other sexy necessity - your thongs. Your thongs need to be cleaned more frequently and thoroughly than other garments. Just think where they are going. 


A recent study in gynecology offers these helpful tips: 


1. Switch it up! Try not to make it a daily thing as this may cause skin to be rubbed raw, making it more susceptible to infection.

2. Never wear thongs overnight

3. See a doctor immediately if there are any signs of any type of infection – and stop wearing thongs until the problem has ceased. 


When it comes to style and your health, you’ve got to watch your step. Those platform pumps may go perfectly with that new dress, but foot-fashion can carry high risk. Most obviously, high heels and platforms seriously blunt your catlike agility, making it harder to dodge danger. They also make you much more likely to trip, and because they raise your center of gravity, make it harder to recover if you do. What’s more, they can wreak havoc over time as they over-stretch some ligaments, compress others, and shift the weight distribution forward. These and the changes in gait can cause foot pain now, and later in life. / Issue 115 - September 0690
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