Placenta Facials: Ancient Alchemy or Modern Marvel?

By now the idea of injecting botulism to get rid of wrinkles has lost its shock factor. With well over 400 million men and women poking their forehead with this deadly toxin, the results far exceed the creep factor. But how do you feel about placenta in your face cream? The idea of afterbirth as a cosmetic ingredient may seem shocking, but internationally, the placenta can be found in several toiletries, from soap to night cream. So goes Paris and Milan, so go Beverly Hills and Manhattan. Spas, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons are all cashing in on the fad with their own customized placenta treatments.

Who’s Using Placenta?

While celebrities like Jennifer Lopez proudly report positive results with placenta products, the average shopper may shy away from human afterbirth. But with Geisha facials of Nightingale droppings in high demand, maybe placenta therapy has a place in cosmetics.

Historic Use

The power of the human placenta has been honored for thousands of years across all cultures. This dynamo of nourishment, rich in oxygen and nutrient-laden blood, is a natural contender for skin rejuvenation. The science behind this treatment reports that the youthful cells teach aging cells how to look young again. The idea is similar to the technology that allows pig skin to replicate the skin of burn victims.

Ethics

Of course, ethical considerations are just one of the controversies surrounding this treatment. It is still being investigated and one study on placenta in African-American hair treatments showed young girls displaying hints of early onset puberty. Many of these hair products are purchased by more than just African-American groups, as many Hispanics use these nourishing products for their hair as well. The placenta has highly concentrated levels of estrogen and other hormones that could pose problems when used long term. Some initial research suggests a potential increase of risk for cancers while a Yale study reported estrogen increasing the bodies inability to deal with stress, making it more susceptible to mental illness.

Things to Consider

Another ethical concern questions the harvesting of human placenta. Most research finds that unclaimed placentas are purchased from hospitals but a recent story in This is London reports a mother who signed her placenta away for cancer research only to learn it was sold to a biochemical company for cosmetic use. Companies who manufacture the creams ensure clients that great care is taken to disinfect the protein and that additives maintain an environment inhospitable for pathogens. However, there is rarely a method in place to track from where and from whom the placentas came.

Where Can You Find Placenta?

Once you decide to give it a try, how do you know what you are getting? A placenta soap available overseas lists placenta plant extract in its ingredients, but a fact page on the site shows the benefits of human placenta. Similar confusion can be found on various sites, so it is definitely buyer beware when it comes to the choices available. Luckily, two of the most popular companies, EMK and Plazan are clear about their product ingredients. EMK Placenta Serum uses sheep placenta while Plazan uses human placenta.

Price for Placenta

For all its exotic qualities, treatments are reasonably priced in comparison to other beauty splurges. From $30 to upwards of $500 and more for facial treatments, the human placenta is within the budget of many women. Although most women swear by a greater quality of treatments, thus increasing the price. Users say treatment results appear instantly making placenta facials a popular treatment in Hollywood the day of Oscars. The effects, however, are not lasting and subsequent applications are required.

Placenta Facials and More

The use of placenta in cosmetics, most often facials and creams, has gained popularity regardless of the controversy. Although users swear by results, it is difficult to distinguish between the true benefits of placenta treatment alone and its complementary treatments. The science behind the treatment seems stable enough considering the use of cell regeneration in burn victims, but do note the vastly different settings in which these two therapies are applied. A sterile operating room hardly compares to the spa environment or a residential bathroom. Placenta in cosmetics may become more common, but, as always, it is important to check your labels and contact the company when concerns arise.

(Originally seen in A-List International, a San Diego Fashion and Beauty Publication)

5 Little Known Ways to Make the Most of a Tiny Paycheck

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Psychologist Abraham Maslow provided a simple pyramid of needs which must be maintained at the base level in order for complete mental and physical well being. Missing components of that foundation level lead to mental health concerns including anxiety and depression. With 80% of graduate students with student loan debt working in low paying fields, the struggle for survival is real for most Americans.

A study provided by the US Census Bureau showed almost 52.2 million people in the U.S. participating in government assistance programs on a monthly basis. While some professions require a degree, their salaries barely cover basic human needs: shelter, food, healthcare, and clothing.

UC Berkley Labor Center explains, “Stagnating wages and decreased benefits are a problem not only for low-wage workers who increasingly cannot make ends meet but also for the federal government as well as the 50 state governments that finance the public assistance programs many of these workers and their families turn to.” Hope is on the horizon when paycheck to paycheck living feels impossible. There are government subsidies available for those with low paying jobs.

Here are five programs to help provide financial support in the areas of housing, food, and health insurance families require to meet their basic needs.

Women, Infant and Children (WIC)

The Women Infant and Children program provides nutrition support for expectant mothers and children. WIC was originally a two-year pilot program that became an amendment of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 which became permanent in 1974. The program provides guidance in nutrition planning and healthful living. In addition to promoting healthy food and nutrition education, the program helps foster and promote breastfeeding as well.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides state grants for programs promoting self-sufficiency. TANF may help pay for food, shelter, utilities and expenses falling outside of medical needs.  Be aware, the four purposes of TANF are, “aiding families-in-need so children may be cared for at home, ending dependence of needy families on government benefits by promoting work and marriage, reducing non-marital pregnancies and encouraging the formation and maintenance of two parent families.”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is best known for food stamps and similar programs.  SNAP is a child of the United States Department of Agriculture and is the largest domestic program for fighting hunger. One of the popular benefits of SNAP is being able to use food stamps at most local farmer’s markets. This helps decrease the food deserts that keep many families from organic produce.

Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid

CHiP and Medicaid provide insurance-related support including assistance for working families using income-based identification.

Programs like WIC, TANF, SNAP, CHiP, and Medicaid are available in all 50 states with different guidelines based on financial needs and each state’s willingness to accept federal funding. Sharing information and helping those in need can help remove some of the stigma associated with using these programs. Taking advantage of these resources can also help families reach some financial stability until they can reach financial goals independently.

 

Hiking Clubs in Houston for People 55 & Older

Houston

Hiking is a fitness activity with flexibility for all fitness levels. People 55 and older can choose hiking clubs all around the Houston area to get out and enjoy the moderate climate and intriguing nature trails. Based on ability levels, hikers can choose clubs walking on relatively level trails, like neighborhood routes, to more advanced treks into the Texas wilderness.

Significance

Houston hiking clubs are popular for those looking for an outdoor fitness routine requiring little to no equipment. The sport also is a good choice for people of all ability levels, especially those who are 55 years and older. The act of hiking, when done with appropriate shoes, is relatively easy on the joints, provides a good cardiovascular workout and allows for the gentle easement as ability levels increase.

Types

There are several hiking clubs relative to ability level and area you choose to hike. The Houston Sierra Club offers information through its Bayou Banner newsletter for hikers interested in nature preservation and activism. The Houston Happy Hikers offers events throughout the year that cater to the beginner to the moderately adventurous hiker.

Geography and Climate

With close proximity to the gulf coast, Houston hikers benefit from offshore breezes and relatively moderate temperatures moving to more tropical in the summer. The area affords hiking along riverbanks, prairie lands, and excursions into bayou locales. The Buffalo Bayou Park is a favorite with the Woodlands Hiking Club and the Bayou City Outdoors group.

Equipment

Hiking for people 55 years and older enjoys the same simplicity of all hikers since there is little need for more than a good pair of hiking boots or sturdy running shoes. Footing needs depend on the areas where a hiker will tread and how difficult the terrain can be. Older hikers may require braces or bands to sturdy old injuries and provide precautionary support to avoid new ones. A physician will be able to address these needs. Some hikers enjoy the use of staffs or trekking poles to increase stability and provide less stress on joints.

Considerations

As with any sport, and especially with age, it is important to get a doctor’s pass to perform fitness tasks. Hiking can range from mild to extreme physical activity, so it is important to know your limitations before beginning such a sport. For Houston hikers, the weather can be a factor when humidity rises along with temperatures. Hikers over the age of 55, especially when taking prescription medication, are more prone to heat-related illness, so hydration is very important.