health

From our Director

PRETTY BOTTLES, UGLY INGREDIENTS: ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE AND YOUR WELLBEING

Take a bottle from your bathroom cabinet, from your laundry, or take a look at the ingredients on your expensive scented candle.  “Fragrance” or “parfum” on an ingredient list represents a trade-secret fragrance recipe that could be made up of hundreds of synthetic chemicals. What is in those air fresheners being auto-sprayed on us in a restroom? What gives that pervasive air diffuser it’s “forest fresh” scent? And what effect do the consumption of these fragrances though the skin, nose and mouth have on our health and wellbeing?

Fragrance was originally derived from flowers, leaves, fruits, resins and barks, captured in a precious glass bottle and used sparingly. Ancient texts and archaeological excavations show the use of perfumes in some of the earliest human civilizations. But post World War II, scientists found a way to synthesise natural aromas that was much cheaper and more commercially viable than the natural version. This was the birth of “Modern Perfumery”, and thousands of hidden chemicals and artificial substances being added to not only perfume and cosmetics, but room fragrances, cleaners and countless other common household and luxury lifestyle products.

 
THE HEALTH IMPACTS OF ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE
 

Chemicals and Health
I personally became interested in this topic after rapidly becoming sensitive to the chemical fragrances in my home, which were frequently setting off migraines. Today, most perfumes and fragrances contain synthesized odorants or “nature-identical” synthetic copies. Synthetics can also provide fragrances which are not found in plants, for instance, mimicking a sea breeze or cotton candy. Whilst synthetic fragrances can smell delicious, they also might be causing you ill health.

Whilst most of us grow up associating perfume with elegance and beauty, the self-regulated fragrance industry selects from over 5000 synthetic chemicals to concoct fragrances, most of which have never been tested for their health and wellbeing impacts. Because the formulas are a ‘trade secret’ they are not required to disclose those ingredients. 

Over the past 2 decades, an array of studies have been published worldwide on the negative health effects of some chemicals used in fragrance, including allergic sensitisation, and confirming some are carcinogens. A recent study published by the University of Melbourne on “Health and Societal effects from Exposure to Fragranced Consumer Products” was based on a national survey where 33% of respondents reported adverse effects such as headaches, migraines, nausea and asthsma attacks from exposure to fragranced products, from air fresheners and deodorisers to cleaning products. Other reports link artificial fragrance with diabetes, obesity, autism, ADD/ADHD and hormone disruption due to the presence of toxins, endocrine disruptors and phthalates.

 
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Fragrance in the new “second-hand smoke”
Workplaces, restaurants and public transport are now all spaces where we have the right to be free from breathing someone else’s cigarette smoke. However few rules apply when it comes to strong fragrances that can aggravate the senses. For those who do suffer from the effects, like headache and asthma and allergies, being forced to breathe in fragrance fumes from a co-worker or a public area is a vertiable invasion of personal space. In Europe, the USA and Canada, “fragrance free” workplaces are becoming more common post a few landmark court decisions. 

The purpose of manufacturer’s use of perfume or fragrance compositions is to affect consumers through their sense of smell and entice them into purchasing their perfume or perfumed product. Synthetics are pleasant in smell and relatively inexpensive, as such they are often employed in large quantities to cover the unpleasant scent of laundry detergents and many personal beauty products.

Despite the known effects of artificial fragrances, the vast majority of Australian consumer products contain them. Today, our society is suffering from over-saturation of synthetic fragrance in almost everything we use, from our beauty lotions (even those very expensive department store ones), designer perfumes, cleaning and laundry products, and countless other home and lifestyle products from luxury candles to toilet paper, panty and bin liners. Even washing clothes in detergents and fabric softeners containing fragrances releases toxic chemicals onto the skin and into the air all day long, and as you sleep.

 

Mindful Fragrance

It is only human to seek out pleasant smells and to try to eliminate unattractive ones from our environments. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a beautiful fragrance, if it is a genuine and authentic plant-derived, unadulterated essential oil, or an organic, wildcrafted scent oil.

Although the areas are under active research, much remains to be learned about the effects of synthetic fragrance on human health and the environment. In today’s world we are already exposed to so many chemicals, so it is therefore vitally important to be mindful of the types of products we use on our skin and in our homes. Our body absorbs what we put on it as well as the airborne molecules from the environments we frequent. 

The Case Against Artificial Fragrance

The words “fragrance” “perfume” or “parfum” on any product indicates it contains a compound or addition to create the scent. Almost all of these are 100% synthetic, with a rare few high-end brands including trace amount of natural extracts. Reduce or avoid products with “Fragrance”. Invest in fragrance-free non toxic products and when working with essential oils, chose organic or wild crafted that have not been grown or extracted with pesticides or chemicals.

Practice self care by being ruthless about the quality of your products and environment, and enjoy a breath of fresh air and peace of mind.

We’re proud that MISS FOX has always been a “fragrance-free” workplace as specified on our recruitment policies, and our spa has a gentle, pleasant smell due to our strict standards of chemical-free cleaning methods and certified organic essential oil diffusions. We continue to seek ways to offer services that are botanically-based and organic, or with reduced chemicals. At this time, our entire skincare, makeup and spa ranges are artificial fragrance free. All tanning and nail services offer fragrance-free options, please ask your therapist. We welcome your comments and feedback to management@missfox.com.au

Article Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726844/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/children-chemicals-fragrences-cosmetics-pthalate-attention-deficit-womb/

http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/fragsmoke.pdf

https://branchbasics.com/blog/fragrance-is-the-new-secondhand-smoke/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/toxic-perfumes-and-colognes/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-s-epstein/toxic-chemicals_b_625648.html

https://www.mamavation.com/featured/toxic-perfume-chemicals.html

https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/the-case-against-fragrance-review-kate-grenville-raises-a-stink-about-scent-20170216-guelwq.html

Media Spotlights

SKIN SOLUTIONS: WOMEN'S HEALTH & FITNESS

Skin Analysis Melbourne
SKIN ANALYSIS MELBOURNE

Like beauty X-ray vision, skin analysis is one of the industry’s most popular procedures. Gone are the days of naked eye assessment; trained therapists can now use nifty modern tools to take a look at what lies beneath your skin’s surface – from pigmentation issues and fungal infections to pre-teen sun damage. But to what effect? WH&F journalist Angelique Tagaroulias and editor Katelyn Swallow investigate.

To be honest, I spent a large portion of my youth out in the sun – from family days at the beach as a child battling the waves to my later years sun-tanning by the pool, lathered up in coconut oil (eek). To top it off, my skincare routine as an adult consists of splashing water on my face and the occasional cleanse on days that I do care enough to wear make-up.

Despite my lack of skin love, I’ve had minimal issues with my complexion over the years (or so I thought). So when WH&F editor Katelyn and I decided to get a skin analysis at the renowned MISS FOX day spa in inner city Melbourne, I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it. Katelyn, on the other hand – with her many years’ suffering redness and the occasional spots of acne – could barely contain her excitement. 

THE ROAD TEST

The waiting room of the MISS FOX day spa, clinic and beauty salon appears more like a Vogue spread than a place to fill out your medical form. With the front entrance located down a hip Melbourne laneway and the steps to the spa sprinkled with rose petals, we were given herbal tea to sip as we scribbled, perched on beautiful red couches and surrounded by Marilyn Monroe paintings. It was luxe meets comfort, and we were instantly at ease.

The initial 10 minutes of my consult was spent informing the therapist of my skin concerns, its general condition and my daily skincare routine (gulp). Once the history was taken, I was escorted
to a darkened room with a daybed for the formal skin analysis and medifacial (which was absolute bliss).

A skin analysis is essentially a time machine for your face, showing damage or underlying issues invisible to the naked eye and that may have occurred as early as childhood. This info is used by a qualified skin therapist, who takes into account your skin’s current condition, skincare routine, skin type, genetics and medical history, to recommend a skin treatment.

“Some form of spectral imaging or photography is used to assess what is happening below the skin surface that’s not visible to the naked eye,” says director of MISS FOX Melbourne Day Spa, Salon & Clinic Victoria Fox (missfox.com.au).

“For example, a hand-held wood lamp that utilises black UVA light is held over an area of skin in a darkened room. The presence of certain bacteria or changes in the pigmentation of your skin will cause affected areas of your skin to change colour under the light, showing skin irregularities such as pigmentation, oil and hydration levels, and can detect bacterial or fungal
skin infections.”

Despite not having any obvious skin concerns aside from an oily T-zone and dehydration post-holiday (sun exposure and holiday food were to blame), the wood-lamp light showed white patches and spots across my brow and cheeks – pigmentation issues that had developed from my years out in the sun; I was surprised (and horrified) to find that my lifestyle had showed up years later – and on my face.

I was given a skincare plan, including products (both natural mineral make- ups and clinical strength synthetic versions) to use at different times throughout the day to help with my combination skin. 

THE BENEFITS

HOW: Using specialised equipment and skin grading systems, a therapist can analyse your skin’s condition and recommend the appropriate treatments and products for healthy skin.

WHY: With so many items and treatments available in today’s
market, choosing the right skincare products and treatments can be
difficult and overwhelming for the average consumer. Skincare sold at a department store or chemist is rated differently to clinic-only products, containing milder forms of ingredients and lower active percentages for consumer safety, whereas products designed to make physiological changes to the deeper layers of skin must be professionally prescribed.

RESULTS: By consulting a skin professional, you can receive advice that cuts through the hype and is tailored for your skin, its needs and your personal skin goal. You’ll also have access to products with more active ingredients, and will see more effective outcomes.

THE VERDICT

Following our road test, Katelyn and I agreed that anyone can benefit from a skin analysis – whether you have normal skin and a clear complexion, suffer from acne, or simply want to soak up the excess oil on your snoz.

If you do have a more serious condition such as rosacea, psoriasis, redness, eczema, asthma or liver problems, it’s advisable to seek further assessment from a health professional, says Fox.

“Chronic health conditions and internal imbalances all impact the health and appearance
of the skin, so many skin treatment programs will incorporate internal supplementation and recommend work to address the emotional and mental health of a patient as well, which may require a referral to other professionals,” says Fox.

“In our experience, an initial skin analysis will serve you for approximately three months. As yourskin improves and changes as a result of prescribed treatments and homecare, a follow-up session will show if your routine is still relevant or needs to
be modified.”

The cost of an initial skin analysis at MISS FOX is $150 to $300 and your homecare routine will see you investing in anything from $200 to $800. On average, you’re looking at paying about $150 per month for a clinical skin treatment.

Although I went into the consult thinking it wasn’t worth my time or money, our skin is our largest organ, so the investment in taking good care of it seems well worth it. Even if you don’t have any significant skin issues – like myself – talking to a professional and seeing the damage I had done helped scare me into taking better care of one of my greatest assets. Plus, the procedure is safe provided you are in the hands of a skilled professional. 

Health & Wellbeing

THE GUT/SKIN CONNECTION

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When it comes to taking care of our skin the first thing that usually jumps to mind are the various cleansers and serums that we use topically. These products are vital for thoroughly cleaning the skin and delivering crucial ingredients for happy glowing skin. However, this is only half the battle. So much of our outer beauty is regulated by our inner health, in particular our gut health.

When I talk about gut health, I am referring to all stages of digestion and function. From the hydrochloric acid in your stomach to the diversity of bacteria in your bowel, it all needs to be strong and balanced to function at its best.

Over recent years there has been an increased interest in the gut/skin axis (or the gut/skin connection) which is changing the way we view skin health and improve clinical outcomes. The human body is fascinating! The way it works to keep its self in balance and carry out its functions tirelessly everyday – never stopping for a break, it is truly a wonder to behold.  It is therefore important to treat it with respect and appreciate when we may need to give a little helping hand when things get tough.

Have you ever noticed how after a night of heavy drinking or fast food you wake up to an unwanted breakout or tired dehydrated skin? This is because poor dietary and lifestyle choices can lead to intestinal permeability (commonly called leaky gut) which can cause a whole host of problems.

When the protective barrier that lines our digestive track becomes damaged an increased passage of antigens can enter into the body. Over time this can lead to a vicious cycle of inflammation and tissue damage. If we also have a degree of dysbiosis (overgrowth of bad bacteria), which are releasing endotoxins, further inflammation and loss of barrier function will occur.

This cycle results in the nervous system releasing substance P in the gut and skin which increases sebum production (the oil in your skin). An overgrowth of the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes further triggers inflammatory pathways leading to blackheads, pimples, lines and wrinkles.

But luckily, we can stop this process. Your skin care routine prescribed by your skin therapist is still crucially important but investigating and treating the underlying cause is a central step which shouldn’t be over looked. High strength broad spectrum probiotics, digestive enzymes and anti-inflammatory ingredients will all help to rebalance, strengthen and heal the gut, resulting in a healthy and happy body inside and out!

Jessica Bayes BHSc (NutMed), Dip (BTh), ANTA

Clinical Nutritionist, Wellness Coach and Skin Therapist. 

MISS FOX stocks a selection of excellent internal supplements from Bioceuticals and Osmosis. Book a Skin Analysis with Jessica and our team for personalised recommendations.

Vegan Recipes

RECIPE: GOOD FOR YOU CHRISTMAS TRUFFLES

christmas

It's the festive season, and treats are in order. Not only do these look chic, each decadent truffle houses anti-inflammatory turmeric and cacao with a boost of coconut oil. They are choc-full of skin nutrients and essential fats to give you a glow on the outside, and the inside.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds (or any other seeds you have on hand)        
  • 1/2 cup soaked walnuts (or any other nuts you have on hand)        
  • 1/2-1 cup dates soaked        
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt        
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

1. Process the nuts/seeds in the food processor. Keep processing them until you can't see the nuts anymore, but stop processing before they get too soft looking.
2. Add the dates, sea salt and cocoa powder. Process again until everything is well mixed and clumped together.        
3. Roll the balls in your hand and form balls. Leave them plain, or roll in your choice of toppings: goji berries, freeze dried raspberries, coconut, cocoa powder, pistachios, matcha green tea, hemp seeds, nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and varied seeds can be used as well.  

Recipe from the good people at Raw Satya.

Giving & Environment, Events

INTRODUCTION TO AYURVEDA NIGHT WITH DYLAN SMITH FROM VITAL VEDA [MARCH 14TH 6PM-8PM AT MISS FOX]

Immerse in knowledge and beverages as founder of MISS FOX Melbourne Salon & Day Spa, Victoria Fox, interviews Dylan Smith on "the science of life,” plus Q&A with the audience after. 

From this knowledge session you will gain:

  • A general overview of the science of life that is Ayurveda.
  • Ayurvedic techniques to effortlessly integrate new habits into your daily life to align your body and mind with nature.
  • Understanding the pitfall of today's food fads and navigating towards a more suitable, natural and simple dietary regimen.
  • Simple methods to enliven your vitality and vigour that although may be coated, is certainly still present in you.
  • A chance to ask questions about natural health or Ayurveda.

ABOUT AYURVEDA

The word Ayurveda translates to “the science of life.” It is the earliest system of medicine that teaches us how to live in tune with nature, thus our own human nature. 

Through diet, lifestyle adjustments, herbal medicines and body treatments, this science does not only make one feel healthier, but more importantly relieves the stress and density of the physical, so we have more clarity in mind. From this place, we can tap into our true being, reside in more contentment, and evolutionarily and calmingly flow through life, rather than be paddling upstream. 

ABOUT DYLAN SMITH

Dylan Smith is a certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant based in Sydney, Australia, where he owns and operates the Vital Veda clinic offering patients consultations, body treatments and detoxification programs. Aimed at uncovering the root cause of ailments, Dylan has a holistic passion to teach patients to effortlessly integrate new habits into their daily life and has a reputation of bestowing deeply nourishing, blissful and healing body treatments that embed a sense of vitality. 

Regularly travelling to South India to train with the Raju family, an internationally reknown family of Ayurvedic doctors, Dylan is devoted to learning, sharing and radiating this ancient knowledge for everyone to utilise and enjoy, to experience total wellness and bliss. 

www.vitalveda.com.au

DONATION 

All tickets include a donation to Midday Meals India which provides nutritious meals to underprivileged children while supporting them to have better education in their lives. Your ticket contributes one day's salary for a cook who prepares meals for over 4000 children every day. For many of these children, the meals are often their sole source of nutrition and act as an incentive for their parents to enroll them into schools and encourage the children to attend lessons regularly. In the long run, a better education empowers children to fulfill their aspirations and live a happier and healthful life.

http://annamrita.org

TICKETS

$15 / head. All proceeds will be donated. Advance bookings online via EventBrite

Dylan will also be offering an exclusive number of Ayurvedic Consultations and traditional Oil Massage Treatments at MISS FOX from March 14th-17th. Bookings essential, phone 1300647736.