You are beautiful you know, each and every one of you is beautiful and unique both inside and out. However, it’s the outside that is seen and judged first and perhaps the worst judge of our own beauty is the one sitting in front of the mirror . . . ourselves!

Why do you suppose we are so harsh on ourselves? Well, let’s evaluate what the world would have us look to as role models; the glamour magazines, the movie stars and television ads. All screaming out at us “look how beautiful this face is” suggesting that you too can be this beautiful if only you wore this cosmetic, dressed in this outfit or did this to your hair. In all the hype we forget that the models in the ads are airbrushed and computer graphically altered to look that way. Really and truly, no one looks that way! And yet we are encouraged to achieve this unachievable image for ourselves.

Is it any wonder that cosmetic surgery is on the rise and even performed on young girls? Yes, young girls are having facial plastic surgery, breast augmentation, tummy tucks and other surgeries to their bodies. Think about this for a minute, they don’t even have the emotional, hormonal or physical maturity to handle these types of alterations to their bodies and what is kind of message is this sending, that before the surgery you were not beautiful, how awful!

On 28 July 2011 a UK advertising watchdog organization banned advertisements featuring actress Julia Roberts and model Christy Turlington stating that their images were extremely retouched and that the ads were misleading. UK Liberal Democrat MP Jo Sinson commented that the L’Oreal ads were “not representative of the results the products could achieve”. View the article

These already beautiful women were airbrushed and graphically altered to look in a way that is virtually unattainable by any women, and the message it sends damages women’s perception of body image and self confidence. CNN and other media shrugged it off by reporting that the US doesn’t need such bans on ads because women in the US realize that these ads are placed solely to sell products and that women in the US know that these ads are portraying a fictional version of what women look like. Thus implying that women in the UK are totally duped by such ads. How ridiculous! If that wer so, why are so many US women and young girls depressed about their looks, opting for plastic surgery and buying all the make up?

Darryl Roberts wondered about this very thing, what is the “ideal woman” supposed to look like, so Darryl set out to find out and what he discovered was quite eye opening. In 2007 Darryl Roberts directed the film documentary America The Beautiful which illustrates America’s fixation with body image and the problems it generates within our society. This film illuminates the various issues of: child models, plastic surgery, celebrity worship, airbrushed advertising, eating disorders and dangerous cosmetics.

The media’s influence on our self image is one thing however, it goes beyond esthetics to affecting our health. In Stacy Malkan’s book Not Just A Pretty Face The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry we learn more about the harmful accumulated affects generated by the chemicals in all the cosmetics, hair care and skin care products that we put on daily. Many products contain chemicals, additives and hormones that alter our health in ways that are not fully tested. The cosmetics industry states that these chemicals are in such minute quantities that they are not harmful. What they fail to realize or don’t want to acknowledge is that the accumulation of these chemicals in our bodies over time can and is harmful. For instance, some hair care products used by African American women contain placental extracts (containing hormones) which are producing breast buds in infants. Is it any wonder that our young women are developing breasts at earlier and earlier ages?

The Breast Cancer Action is a non-profit organization dedicated to holding corporations accountable for their actions. Their Think Before You Pink campaign blows the whistle on corporations that are selling products under the guise of raising funds for cancer when in fact their products contain chemicals which have been linked to cancer. Talk about a conflict of interest!

So the next time you wash your hair, lather up with soap, smooth on skin lotion and put on your make up ask yourself if you did your homework. Are there chemicals in the products you are using that could harm and robe you of your health?

What about your daughters and granddaughters, what products are they using? Could those products harm their future health?

Watch The Story of Cosmetics

To find out what’s in your products check out the following web site:

Not Just a Pretty Face The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry By Stacy Malkan
Beauty to Die For The Cosmetic Consequence By Judi Vance
Exposed The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power By Mark Schapiro
How Everyday Products Make People Sick Toxins at home and in the workplace By Paul D. Blanc, MD