Truth Or Consequences, Could Your Germaphobia Come Back to Bite You?

Everywhere you go, germs and bacteria surround you and so does the fear of how they may harm you. The media is saturated with sensational stories about the hidden germs in hotel rooms, and the ever-encroaching threat of foreign and exotic, even life-threatening viruses. We have become obsessed with germs and bacteria, but bacteria are everywhere –around us and inside us. And even though we know that not all bacteria are harmful, we are constantly seeking to eliminate them… consequences be damned!

 

Creeping In: How The Seeds of Germaphobia Were Sowed

 

Our national obsession with germs and bacteria may have started as far back as the Civil War but seems to have taken root in the early public health campaigns of New York City. With the advent of clean drinking water and new sewer systems, came a new level of awareness regarding the importance of cleanliness and good hygiene as well as the hidden health threats looming in filthy, unsanitary conditions.

 

Many of our beliefs around germs and disease may have been fueled by the work of Pierre Bechamp, and later, Louis Pasteur. Pasteur is well known as the scientist who brought us “Germ Theory” and led us to believe that germs from the outside world invade our bodies and “cause” disease, which is why we have to kill them before they kill us. In an ironic twist, it turns out that Pasteur had plagiarized some of the work of Bechamp, who demonstrated that it’s the “terrain” (meaning the environment inside your body) that matters more than the germs themselves. Pasteur distorted the work of Bechamp and made a name for him self by asserting that it was the other way around. As he lay on his deathbed, he admitted that Bechamp was right when he uttered “The microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.”

 

The proliferation of Pasteur’s “germ theory” combined with the success of early public health campaigns eventually gave rise to a new generation of household cleaners, personal care products, and drugs designed to kill bacteria and germs. Juliann Sivulka’s extensive research, presented in Stronger than Dirt: A Cultural History of Advertising Personal Hygiene in America, suggests some of the “anti-microbial” advertising began as early as 1875 and continued well throughout the twentieth century.

 

Without any guidance on how to lead healthier lives and strengthen our immune systems to better handle the biological challenges we might encounter, we’ve increasingly come to rely on anti-bacterial (and potentially toxic) products like bleach, ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, and more recently, hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps, to assuage our fears. Many of these products now contain worrisome ingredients like Triclosan, a derivative of Agent Orange, whose over-use is creating new resistant strains of bacteria or “Super Bugs.” Ironically, these Super Bugs pose an even greater threat to our future ability to resist infection and disease, which begs the question is our fear of germs really helping us or could it be inadvertently hurting us? Knowing the genesis of our “germaphobia,” it’s not hard to see how the work of a misguided scientist coincided with larger commercial interests to bring us to this point.

 

Germaphobia: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 

There’s no question that there are harmful bacteria that can make you very sick or even kill you –the SARS and Swine Flu strains being the most recent threats that come to mind. But we can’t let our fears of these viruses blind us to the potential harm that comes from trying to kill all germs and bacteria (real or imagined). Or more to the point, what’s the hidden price we pay when we use a product or take a drug that’s designed to kill “bad” bacteria but it also kills “good” bacteria in the process?

 

Our intestines are loaded with “good” bacteria (intestinal flora) that help break food down so the body can make use of its nutrients. Much of the “good” bacteria in your digestive tract also protects you from poisons in food and other infections like yeast infections which thrive on excess sugar in your gut. When you have an infection (like a bladder or upper respiratory infection), the antibiotics your doctor prescribes kill both good and bad bacteria. While you may rid yourself of one problem, in killing the “good” bacteria, you may be getting another problem. Women often get a yeast infection as a direct result of taking antibiotics for other infections. Then they are given a different antibiotic to address that problem and the cycle perpetuates. Or, as is often the case, the condition clears up only to return months or even years later.

 

This phenomenon, when played out on a big scale, can have significant consequences, as was the case in 2007, when there was a huge outbreak in drug-resistant staph infections. While this has been an ongoing problem in hospitals, it was rare to see an outbreak of this magnitude in schools and even the locker rooms of professional sports teams. Thanks to our incessant use of antibiotics, this bacterial strain has become immune to what was previously used to kill it. The result? Each year in the United States, we lose almost 18,000 people to this type of infection. Ironically, it seems the only cure is to further the cycle by creating stronger (and theoretically better) antibiotics.

 

The good news is that science is beginning to recognize that we’ve gone too far with antibiotics and is looking at the use of gentler, safer plant-based alternatives. Tea Tree essential oil, with its strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, has shown promise in a number of different studies as a safe and effective way of killing “bad” bacteria without destroying the “good.” It is widely used in Australia (where it grows in abundance) to successfully treat conditions like yeast infections and Athlete’s Foot.

 

In his book “Life Helping Life,” Dr. Daniel Penoel, a renowned expert in medical aromatherapy, points out that Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has great potential as an antibacterial agent, but its different from conventional antibiotics in that it attacks only destructive bacteria. It was “created from life to help life,” so it knows what to do. Other essential oils that show promise in the treatment of bacterial infections include Thyme, Oregano, and Clove Bud. And a number of other essential oils with their anti-viral properties, have been identified as strong immune system defenders. To put things in perspective, studying the use of essential oils in the treatment of illness and disease is a required part of the curriculum at medical schools in France, indicating their validity as a legitimate alternative.

 

The world is undeniably full of bacteria. Both modern medicine and society have long exceeded the boundaries of sensible practices in their respective approaches to dealing with it. Only by taking a step back and openly embracing natural alternatives will it be possible to successfully turn the tide of antibiotic-resistant infections that threatens us today.

© Copyright 2010 Dropwise Essentials

Beauty Salon Treatments – An Introduction to Pedicures

A pedicure is a soothing and relaxing experience to revive tired and aching feet and to improve the appearance of the feet and toe nails. It is a very similar process to a manicure but obviously for the feet instead. The word pedicure is derived from the Latin word pedis, which means of the foot, and cura, which means care. The best pedicures not only make the toes beautiful, but also include lower leg and foot massages to totally refresh the feet.

Stages of a Pedicure

Firstly any old nail polish will be removed from the toe nails and the nails will be trimmed to the correct length avoiding cutting into the corners of the nail to avoid ingrowing toe nails, they will then be filed to the desired shape.

After this, the feet will be soaked in a large bowl of warm water which may have some oil or moisturizer in it to hydrate the skin. The feet will soak for about 10 minutes which should feel very relaxing and will soften the feet so that any hard or dead skin on the feet can be removed either scrubbed away by exfoliation or by being clipped away.

The feet will then be dried and a generous amount of moisturizer will be applied to the feet and legs which normally involves a lower leg and foot massage to relax and work the moisturizer into the skin. A cuticle cream will also be applied to the toe nails to soften them.

Once this has been done, the cuticles will be pushed back and then polish will be applied to the toe nails in the desired colour or as a French polish.

The feet will end up smooth and moisturised, and the toe nails perfectly shaped and polished.

5 Beauty Products For The Vegan-Minded

While it is getting easier and easier to find foods and clothing that fit into the vegan lifestyle, it can be difficult to find beauty products that don’t use any animal products whatsoever. The good news is that some companies are making vegan alternatives for everything from nail polish to moisturizer and beyond.

1. PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics Nail Paint

PeaceKeeper has a line of vegan nail polishes in a variety of shades that are long lasting and dazzlingly shiny. They even have a vegan French manicure kit available. The Environmental Working Group has rated it the safest natural nail polish that is paint-based on the market. To top it all off, all of the profits that they make after taxes go to fund advocacy programs for women.

2. Earth Diva Cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow

This line of eye shadow is proud of the fact that they are certified as vegan. Their shadows are created for a wide array of possibilities, from casual and everyday wear to shades suitable for more dramatic and formal occasions. The kits come with three shadows, an eyeliner, and three brushes – all vegan.

3. GOGO Instant Natural Argan Mascara

Josie Maran created this mascara to condition your eyelashes and encourage their growth each time you apply. It does this because it is infused with Argan oil. With every purchase made, the company makes a donation of their mascara to cancer survivors and those currently fighting the disease. With every 5000 units sold, they donate a dollar to City of Hope – a hospital, graduate medical school, and research center that is best known for being a cancer treatment center.

4. Lush Massage Therapy Bar

Many of Lush’s products are vegan and clearly marked so. They do not test their products or any of the ingredients used in their products on animals, and they have a cruelty-free policy which is declared right on their website. They also make their products by hand and package in recycled materials or no packaging at all – if you shop in the bricks and mortar store, you can even take soaps with you unpackaged. Their Therapy Massage Bar, a purely vegan item containing organic oils, is a moisturizing bar that can be used in the shower or out.

5. theBalm to the Rescue Vegan Lip Treatment

This lip gloss is made containing micro-exfoliating crystals that smooth your lips while you wear it. It is vitamin infused, so it nourishes your lips, as well. Every bit of the proceeds from the gloss are given to Pug Rescue of Sacramento, an organization which rescues abused pugs and finds loving homes for them, keeping them from ending up euthanized.

You don’t have to forego your favorite beauty rituals when you go vegan. There are replacements for virtually any beauty product that you need. Many are also available at prices that are not too far outside the non-vegan varieties, so they are no harder on your budget.

Top 10 "Sexiest" Beauty Revealed Through CNN Search

Read all about it! From Hollywood heartthrobs to a naughty Disney”esque” costume page, the Websearch at news giant CNN powered by Internet authority Yahoo claims to know what is relevant to a search of the sexiest. Who are we to disagree? Beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder. The who, where, what and why;

#1 Sexy strangers in a strange land.

Just to show that the press does not always favor the celebrity lifestyle! Sitting a savory silver medal placement are some uncommonly common sexy citizens of Seattle. In and about this trendy town, these folks really hitting the heart and groin of the Seattle Stranger’s top list. Featuring interviews from sexy baristas to beautiful bookworms, number two on the list will leave you hot for teacher.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=20529

#2 Sexy Kitty – 9 lives.

Number two has us a little confused, but somewhat intrigued? This is a personal webpage that does not really look too sexy to this cat? Not too sure what is up with that one, CNN breaking news? I don’t think so.

[http://sexiest-cat.esp.st/]

#3 Once upon a time…

Fairytales and sexy costumes are out of the storybook and into our hearts. With Halloween right around the corner, sexy beats spooky hands down. Have a boo at a twister torn Dorothy and a naughty Little Red Hooding that makes the Big Bad Wolf look innocent. There is nothing Grimm about these tricks and treats. Kiss fewer frogs this Halloween and find your Prince Charming quicker.

http://www.sexiestcostumes.com/Fairytale.htm

#4 One for the boys.

Number 4 on Yahoo, but number 1 with the raging hormones of American boys, is the annual and always popular FHM’s 100 sexiest women of 2006 poll. Voted number 1 on the poll this year rules Scarlett Johansson over second place and last year’s winner Angelina Jolie. Johansson was quoted as saying “One of the best things for a woman to hear is that she is sexy. I’d like to thank FHM’s readers for the huge compliment.” Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, Keira Knightley and Halle Berry also graced the top 10.

http://www.fhmus.com/girls_100_sexiest.asp?cnl_id=1&stn_id=72

#5 and #6 The sexiest man is…

This one is for the ladies. Occupying dual spots is the AOL’s People online top 100 men of 2004 and 2005. Ladies looking forward to the 2006 list, can have a gander at their favorites of the past two years. Let’s take a look at the other side of the gender objectifying shall we. With a lot of pride and little bit of prejudice, Matthew Mcconhaughey oozes the most sexuality, with Patrick Dempsey and Terrence Howard close behind his behind. These guys are enough to rev the engine of any hot-blooded American woman. Common characteristics of the hottest hunks are handsome looks, successful careers, and loads of charisma. Nobody knows men like People!

http://people.aol.com/people/gallery/0,26335,782692,00.html

http://people.aol.com/people/gallery/0,26335,1113899_1129983,00.html

#7 Sci-Fi Divas!

The new genre of sexy science fiction divas bears little resemblance to the bad “b” flicks of old. In a 23-hour marathon of Farscape aired on May 31st, the alien seduction was near cataclysmic. Alien abduction may have gotten a bad wrap in the past.

[http://www.scifi.com/farscape/sexypoll/]

#8 and #9 Where do the sexy hang out?

Gaze a medley of reviews of the most seductive and alluring Hotels and restaurant from around the world. The numbers 9 and 10 spots are reviews of fine dining and luxurious stays in upscale and exotic places to dine dance and discover romance

Number 9 is a savory Latin eatery called “Cacao” in Coral Gables, FL. The Chef/Owner Edgar Leal serves tantalizing South American cuisines that are as the reviewer comments, “as brazen as they are creative.”

http://www.sexiesthotels.com/restaurants/sexiest_rev5.htm

Number 10 spots the “Lotus” in New York City. “It’s a stylish supper club that’s sophisticated and elegant, and creates a comfortable atmosphere with ambiance sounds spun by the city’s best disc jockeys.”

http://www.sexiesthotels.com/restaurants/sexiest_rev9.htm

#10 Sexy – paparazzi?

Sneak a peak: Angelina bares all, tabloid style, in a most unsavory manner. With over 200,000 images of actresses in their steamiest scenes, the self-proclaimed “Largest Celebrity Discussion Message Board & Image Archive” sits in the highly coveted #1 position. Not a bit coincidentally Angelina also places second on the FHM 100 sexiest list mentioned below.

http://www.sexiest-celebrities.com/viewtopic.php?t=44

Sexiest Why?

Clearly it did not take much convincing to get a plethora of writers to jumping on this assignment. What is Sexy? A mouthwatering challenge if ever there’s been one. But thanks to Yahoo, short work has been made of a sultry subject. Well everything is relative, men and women, from Russia to New York to Seattle, can enjoy Internet giant Yahoo’s picks. Pick out a sexy Halloween costume or enjoy some fine food, all via the expert advice of CNN’ search and Yahoo.com. Why you ask? Because Sexy sells! So there you have it, from the most ravishing restaurants to the hottest hunks and sexiest sirens.

Do Eyelashes Grow Back? Find Out the Good News and More

Women ask “Do Eyelashes Grow Back” but they need to know that eyelash growth is more complex than meets the common eye! Most people do not compare eyelashes with human hair even though lashes are indeed the same. Eyelashes like hair have their own growth cycle that consists of three important phases.

3-Phases of Eyelash Growth

  1. Anagen – is an active, growth phase which lasts 30 to 45 days for eyelashes. When eyelashes are in this phase, the eyelash keeps growing and they do not fall out unless pulled, plucked or otherwise forced out.
  2. Catagen – a transitional phase where the growing is no longer happening. The follicle at this time is not making hair, therefore if the eyelash falls out during this 2 to 3 weeks, it will not grow back until the follicle’s catagen phase is over.
  3. Telogen – is a phase where hair and eyelashes fall out (a phase we do not like but must put up with). This phase is the hair’s resting period that lasts for about 100 days before it will fall out on its own. Losing eyelashes in this phase means that a new eyelashes will grow in faster because the natural hair growth cycle was not interrupted.

Eye lashes just like your eyelids are important for protecting your eyes from foreign debris such as air born dust. Keeping dust and debris out of your eye will avoid irritation and infections. It is important to have healthy and stronger eyelashes for these reasons, lashes are not just for appearance and looks. Eyelashes are also very sensitive and acts as an early warning system. When items such as water, insects or dust come close to contacting your eyelashes, they sense these items and alert you to close your eye lids before the items has a chance to contact your bare eye.

Do eyelashes grow back, as you can see if you pluck out your eyelash yourself or they fall out on their own, they will definitely grow back. Remember, eyelashes take about four to eight weeks for one to get fully replenished. Everyone has different types of eyelashes, some have long thick and full lashes while others have short, thin and light lashes. It seems a lot of women have had a desire to increase their lash length, thickness and fuller, the good news is that it is possible to stimulate eyelash growth. We do not mean to go ahead and cut the ends of your eyelashes to activate growth, this is a false theory.

There are many eyelash growth enhancers on the market, they are made up with ingredients similar to those found in human hair growth products. Usually these products are applied to the base of the eyelash before you go to bed and works while you sleep. This is great because it does not affect the use of mascara during the day. When you are dealing close proximity to your eyes, try to find products that use natural ingredients, have been clinical trialed and contain no side effects. Always use the product following the manufacturers instructions for the best and safest results. You may see positive growth in as little as two weeks giving you a head start to the full, longer and and thicker eyelashes.