One member of my family just sent me zinc pills to help me boost my immunity. Sounds like a good idea especially with the Coronavirus going around. I’m normally not a vitamin person despite my desire to lean towards health. The main reason why is because I know many of these products are not what they claim. I find that most health products are not what they claim and people are wasting money on health products. However, there are many in which should still be in people’s possession under certain circumstances.
First let me start by saying that getting your daily vitamins and minerals is one of the most healthful things you can do. The question is not if vitamins and minerals are needed but if you need to take the supplement. Take the zinc pills I was given. These do in fact help your immune system. Furthermore, zinc is especially helpful for pregnant and breastfeeding women. I have even heard that you should increase your zinc intake if you are sick. There are places for these zinc pills and other supplements.
But what if you eat a well balanced diet? Truth is, I do not hear too much about foods rich in zinc when I go to the grocery store. They just do not advertise it. If you ask any expert though, they will tell you that zinc is in meat, fish, legumes like beans, nuts, dairy, eggs, vegetables, and many other foods.
Then I asked: “would it be easier to list where you do not get zinc? Just throwing this out, but essentially, candy, soda, beer, liquor, and fast food?”
The person I was talking to said: “well, there is some in beer and fast food, but otherwise yes.”
As long as you eat more than just instant ramen you are probably getting your vitamins and minerals from food. The more you make your dishes look like a rainbow, the more you will feel like you took a multi-vitamin.
Chances are you are wasting money on vitamin supplements, but vitamin pills do add an additional risk, you could overdose. That may sound like something only strong medicines and illicit drugs should do. One definition I heard for a drug is a chemical substance that causes a physical or psychological effect on a person THAT IS NOT FOOD OR OTHER FORMS OF SUSTENANCE. The reason why they said that is because food and the substances in them do have an effect on you. Especially the things people say you need in small amounts to help your body. Remember Oscar G. Hernandez famously said “the only real difference medicine and poison is the dose…and intent.” To illustrate his point further, you would be surprised at how even highly toxic substances like arsenic can be the most effective medicines.
I support the use of sunscreens (I’m a little too pale to not worry about the sun), but you may be surprised to know that you may still be wasting money on these health products. If you go around any store you may find some bottles that are only 3 fluid ounces (sometimes fewer) and cost 8 times the amount in dollars. I have purchased sunscreen for less than $0.50 per fluid ounce. And this is not low quality sunscreen. The sunscreen was 60 spf, water-resistant, and paraben free.
Why are sunscreens more expensive now? The basics include branding. However, some include many “features.” Such features include “advanced UVA/UVB spectrum protection,” and “DNA damage control.” Let me assure you, practically all sunscreens have those features, they would not be sunscreens if they did not.
Legit Sunscreen Issues
If you are worried about health though, let me say that some sunscreens may be worth the extra money. The FDA has put in many efforts to determine how safe some sunscreens are. Many of the compounds used in sunscreens disrupt hormones. Some of these compounds mimic the structure of some hormones and prevent proper function of our natural hormones. Some are even precursors for our hormones or break down into reactants to produce these hormones, causing an imbalance.
This is troublesome to most humans as is, now imagine if the same issues happen with a pregnant and/or nursing woman. Relax, these compounds do not kill unborn children, or at least not to my knowledge, but there are some understandable concerns for women reproduction. These compounds do appear to have an effect on the estrous cycles for mice. Human women do not need to worry about that because their reproductive organs follow the menstrual cycle. However, women commonly exposed to some of the concerning sunscreen compounds do appear to have an increased risk to endometriosis. More research is needed to have a solid conclusion, but I still do not like the way this sounds
Females are not the sex to be most concerned with though. Studies with male mice have reported many of these compounds cause lower sperm count and sperm abnormalities. I would say there are many factors that may suggest that these sunscreens only have an effect on male mice. This includes the fact grooming yourself by licking your skin is not a commonly accepted practice in society meanwhile mice do so all the time. However, men with higher exposure to these compounds do tend to seek help from fertility clinics more often.
I will be completely honest. I started this post with the intention to say that most of the health products either should not be something most people buy or that there are better substitutes for. While that statement is largely true, what I have read about sunscreen makes the word “largely” the keyword.
Before I had the idea to write this post I did know that there are some hormone mimics and precursors in sunscreen and that is why me and the missus do not settle on less than paraben free. But with the new potential findings that the other compounds may have an effect on human reproduction I think me and the missus will agree that spending an extra $10-$20 to make sure our sunscreen uses zine oxide or titanium oxide (no hormonal disruptions there) is worth it.
That being said, most of the branding and the big words sunscreen marketers put on their tubes (not to mention the design of the tubes) can still raise the price of these sunscreens. And let’s face it, do you think sunscreens with the exact same active ingredients will have significantly different qualities? Sunscreens are health products you may be wasting money on. It depends on what you are spending the money for, the look, or the ingredients.
Being comfortable in your own skin is one of the best things you could aim for. Unfortunately, that phrase meant to encourage building self-confidence has been perverted. It is used by companies that frequently profit off shattered self-confidence. You know exactly which companies I am talking about. However, these companies were not wrong to advertise being comfortable in your own skin as literal as they did. They advertise many lotions to make your skin hydrated and smooth.
General hygiene and hydration are important for healthy skin. My wife has told me to make sure I keep my skin moisturized so I have been trying to get products for that. But practically every soap, body wash, and razor I find at stores seems to have those areas covered. I just do not go for the lotions because it seems like every other hygiene product has taken hydration into account.
For this I would say that you are not wasting money for these health products. However, I believe buying quality personal hygiene products that you use everyday to clean and hydrate your skin will do more than lotions you do not need to use each day. Make sure even your hand-washing soap is hydrating and “mild to the skin” otherwise, you may learn what I did when I first worked in food service and still do while working in lab. Washing your hands frequently with common soap will damage your skin. And I hope for everyone’s sake you are washing your hands at least a little more than usual in today’s day and age.
Men’s Vs. Women’s Personal Hygiene
To the men who are reading this you may be thinking “but most of the personal hygiene products made to hydrate are for women.”
First of all, not true, many of those companies have made these for men. Second, the difference between those two products is most often just the smell. Third, what was your point even if the first two were not true?
Hydrated skin is not a right only for women, men should be comfortable in their skin. Most men do not notice those smells. In my opinion, men are not frequently wired to notice these smells. Also, if you have the character of a man no one will deny your “manliness” just because of your soap.
I utilize my wife’s moisturizing soap from time to time. I also put a bullet in the neck of a buck from 150 meters away and took wilderness survival classes just for the funzies. What else would you like to know about my life? Will you feel much like a man if you compare yourself to me? And more importantly, when will you realize that 95% of what people think make people “men” is complete bull? If you chase down success while being comfortable and healthy you will be more likely to obtain it. Then you will be a model of what a man should be.
Personal health should always be a higher priority than wealth so it should be hard to ask yourself “are you wasting money on health products.” Chances are yes, but it also depends. Most people do not need vitamin and mineral supplements, but there are many times including when diseases are running amok or when you are expecting a child that having a supplement may not be a bad idea. In each of these cases, I would prefer you eat healthy to start to avoid any potential issues. If issues still come up, your doctor may recommend you get a supplement. That is not exactly a prescription since you do not need a note from him to buy these, but I would follow his instructions as closely as if those supplements were antibiotics.
As for your protection from the sun, I would say the more expensive the sunscreens the less likely you will face health issues. However, it depends on why you are paying more for the sunscreens. Is it the active ingredients or the look of the bottle that attracts you? Your sunscreens should have active ingredients that will improve your health not trade one form of health for another. Make sure you have sunscreens that will protect your skin from sun damage and not be an obstacle to your reproductive health.
As for your other skin care needs, your skin is a shield to protect you from the elements. You must treat it with the respect it deserves. Get quality soaps and washes that will clean it, keep it hydrated, and make sure the product you buy will not damage it. As for lotions, hopefully you will not need them or at least not often. If you buy yourself quality soaps in the first place you will find it surprising how little attention your skin will demand later on.
What You Should Do
You probably are wasting money on health products. Not because you should never buy these health products, but because like anything designed to maintain something valuable (in this case your health), the effects are defined far more by your intentions for the product and how you use it. If you buy something because you like the way it looks or simply because you like using it, you are buying a placebo. It does not matter if the product could actually help you. If you buy and use products with emotions alone the product will not improve your health.
We all feel better popping things into our mouths (I know what you are thinking, don’t go there). That’s why the placebo effect exists. And this extends beyond just pills, we feel better if we do more for ourselves such as lathering on some products. These products do in fact help, but we all (hopefully) lather ourselves regularly. Why not buy the quality products for our regular lathering instead of lathering ourselves more? Because we enjoy lathering ourselves up (once again, don’t go there). We feel like we are doing more for ourselves by doing that. And no, we are doing more WITH ourselves by doing that.
Like almost anything worth doing it is far better to work smarter not harder. When you buy health products, you should aim to have your products do more for you. Not only will this be healthful to your wallet, but it will put you on a path for more intentional purchasing to help you forge your wealth.