Tag Archives: FDA

Pleasure in a Pill? [Marie Claire, December 2014]

As a journalist, you always try to go into a story unbiased — but the truth is, we all of us have biases, almost all of the time. It’s unavoidable. You’ve got some kind of back story that brings you to the subject and that informs how you choose your sources, the questions you ask them, and how you write the piece. Of course, if you’re good at your job, you play devil’s advocate with yourself the whole time, ask both sides of the debate equally tough questions and stay open to having your mind changed. But that doesn’t happen terribly often. (See: All of the evening news.)

This might be the first feature I’ve ever written where I honestly did not have my mind made up. I mean, as a woman, a feminist, and a married person, obviously, I have pertinent back story (and no, we’re not getting into it here). But even after spending months reporting this, interviewing tons of different researchers and regular women, I have not found a good answer to the question I explore in this new investigation, out now in the December issue of Marie Claire: Do we need a female equivalent of Viagra? 


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Breaking Brazilian Blowout News

1966 Spiegel catalog salon hair dryer

Hey, remember waaay back in 2010 when the supposedly “formaldehyde-free” Brazilian Blowout hair straightening treatment tested positive for — irony alert! — formaldehyde?

Lots of salon workers and customers reported all kinds of unhappy symptoms as a result of working with the product, but of course, the beauty industry had some hairs to split about it, even though their own textbooks and industry spokespeople had said years earlier  that formaldehyde doesn’t belong in beauty products. Ahem.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Government Watch, Hair, Happenings, Ingredients, Products

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[Never Say Diet] FDA Proposes Calorie Counts on Fast Food Menus

FDA proposes calorie counts on fast food menus

Twist! You’re getting a Never Say Diet post on a Monday, and a brand-spanking-new Beauty U story tomorrow. Despite what I said on Facebook on Friday — Post #1 about the final licensing exams needs a little more spit and polish.

Plus, we’ve got breaking FDA news to discuss: Should calorie counts be required on fast food menus? I’m going to maybe surprise you and say yes. So head over to find out why — and debate me if you think I’m wrong.


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[Never Say Diet] Skinny People Just Got Fatter.

At least, according to the FDA’s new guidelines about who qualifies for Lap-Band surgery. (Hint: If you’re 5’4″ and 175 pounds… you’re close!)

So that’s what I’m talking about on Never Say Diet today. Head on over and chime in!

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[Fun With Press Releases] Capitol Hill Cosmetics Party Was a Hoot.

Fun with Press Releases: Because sometimes the beauty industry just goes there.

So last Wednesday, the Society for Women’s Health Research hosted a Capitol Hill briefing called “The Make Up of Your Make Up” (see what they did there?) to discuss, “the science of cosmetics and its impact on women’s health.” They sent me a press release right after, so I could know what a great time they all had.

And my first response was: Color me excited! A great women’s health nonprofit getting Congress to pay attention to all the women’s health issues going on in the world of beauty? This is big stuff.

Linda Katz, MD, MPH, Director of the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the Food & Drug Administration kicked things off with an overview of the FDA’s responsibilities. Which I’m sure was good times. And then they got to the rest of their speakers:


Filed under Fun with Press Releases, Government Watch, Happenings, Ingredients

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Breast Implants are Bad For You. But Here’s What’s Worse.

Fiona Project silicone breast implants

We should probably talk about this news that the Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether silicone breast implants are linked to a specific, rare type of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).

So far they’ve only identified 60 cases of ALCL among the 5 to 10 million women who have these breast implants worldwide. (Including, as Dr. Dana Udall-Weiner pointed out in the comments on last week’s Price Check, just 9,000 British women to over 350,000 Americans. Ponder that.)

Still, ALCL is diagnosed in just 1 in 100 million women without breast implants. So the ratios are concerning. Especially because these are the same silicone breast implants that were just brought back to the market in 2006, after they were originally banned for displaying this pesky tendency to rupture. And even though the manufacturers reformulated and did tons of safety studies, the FDA still requires you to get an MRI every other year post-breast implant, to check for something called “silent rupture,” where your implant implodes, but you and your doctor can’t tell just by feeling you up.

So. Here’s why I remain supportive of women who choose to get breast implants. Read more…

Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Standards, Government Watch, Ingredients, Products

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Pretty Price Check (02.04.11)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of what we paid for beauty last week.

  • 95 percent of women carry mascara in their purses, according to yet another super reliable survey. I would be the other five percent. Except last week when I was carrying around my friend Katherine’s mascara so I could give it back after she left it my house. Probably not what they meant. (Via TheHairpin.)
  • Over 80 companies — including big girl brands like L’Oreal, Avon and Revlon! — are on a special FDA watch list because the agency believes they may be importing, manufacturing or shipping skin care creams that make “drug claims,” like that said skin cream can alter the structure or function of your body (cellulite and wrinkle erasers, anyone?) or treat or prevent disease. This is a violation of pretty much the only cosmetics law we have in this country. And the beauty industry can’t even follow that one. (Via La Times)


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    The Eating Insinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole Smith

    Pre-order now!