Is Your Beauty Treatment Hurting You? It's Possible

August 25, 2016
By Meagan Morris
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You invest in cosmetic and spa treatments to enhance your appearance, not ruin it. Sadly, that doesn't always happen—sometimes it's because of user error, other times it's because the treatment is just bad, period.

Don't waste your money—or worse, DIY—on treatments that can be downright dangerous for both your appearance and health.

Just Say No to Peroxide

Want white teeth? Just swish some peroxide for pearly whites. It's one of those most prevalent things you'll see on Pinterest, but it does more harm than good. It seems like it makes sense because hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in tooth whitening systems, but the low concentration in bottles and the small amount of time you swish won't do much.

Plus, peroxide does a number on your gums and there's a chance they can get red, irritated and even develop ulcers. Just stick to the whitening toothpaste and the tried-and-true home bleaching kits. They might be pricier, but better broke than sorry.

Brazilians of Problems

Many curly girls can't sit in a stylist's chair without hearing about the power of straightening treatments (I know I can't), but there's one type that you shouldn't even consider: The traditional Brazilian blowout.

The expensive treatment promises—and delivers—silky smooth hair that lasts several months, but there's a health tradeoff. The FDA issued a warning against the treatment in 2011, thanks to its cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde.

They're still not outright banned in the U.S. (though they are in other countries), but you should instead opt for the many new keratin treatments offered by many salons. Though expensive, keratin treatments enhance how your hair looks and last for months without compromising your hair. Keratin is the protein naturally found in hair and stands up well to chlorinated water and humidity.

Bonus: It won't harm your health.

Cancer Risk From a Manicure?

Shellac and gel manicures are perfect for busy women because it lasts for weeks and doesn't require you to sit still for 20 minutes (who has time for that?!). Instead, the gels are "cured" with UV lamps—and that's the problem. A 2009 study found that gel manicures increase the risk of developing skin cancer because of exposure to UV rays. The risk might not be as great as, say, regular tanning bed visits, but it's still there.

Don't want to give them up? Wear UV-resistant gloves or broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 on your hands.

When Scrubs Attack

Exfoliating is good, but exfoliating too much is bad—very bad.

Typically, most face scrubs should only be used once or twice a week, not everyday. Do that and you risk tearing and irritating your skin—and even worse, it can cause premature aging because of the constant irritation on the skin. Plus, you run the risk of infection by scrubbing skin that's irritated or cut.

Instead, go for a gentle sonic cleansing system, like a Clarisonic brush. These cleansing systems are a gentle way to clean off daily dirt and bacteria without irritating the skin. Pair your Clairsonic—or similar facial brush—with once-a-week exfoliating and you're good to go.

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