All posts by Isabel Draper

Can you get Birth Control Pills without leaving your house?

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Image from NBC News

Isabel Draper

Many women are familiar with the difficulties of obtaining birth control. Making an appointment, going to the doctor’s office, making sure that your option is covered by insurance, and then going to the pharmacy are some of the many steps involved. Now companies are attempting to make it easier for women seeking birth control to obtain it online. Sometimes the banners appear on Instagram and Facebook. But, is their promise of easily obtained, inexpensive birth control a good idea? 

Accessing birth control online could be particularly helpful for people with limited access to physicians either due to geographic or financial concerns. There are 19 million women in the United States who live in a county which lacks a single clinic with a wide range of contraception options. Online birth control services could resolve this geographic access problem. Many of the services also offer a low cost option for those who are uninsured. However, even spending fifteen dollars a month on birth control could be a prohibitive cost to low-income women. 

The most effective, long-term, less costly forms of birth control like the IUD and the estrogen implant are not available online. While several of the sites include information about the IUD or implant options, they do not help people gain access to these options.  

The potential lack of education when receiving these health services online is an important drawback of these services. Some sites rely on an online questionnaire while others require that the patient speak to a physician over video or telephone. These services generally rely on the patient’s awareness of their own risk factors like high blood pressure or a family history of breast cancer. They also lack the face to face contact which can lead to important health screenings like pap smears. 

While accessing birth control online is an important step in reducing the barriers which some women may face to obtaining birth control, it’s not clear that these services can completely replace quality in-person care.

Happy Halloween! The Origins of Spooky Season

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The myths surrounding the origin and meaning of Halloween can be misleading or, even, some might say, Satanic. Some speculate that the holiday is connected to Satan- Christian Broadcast Network founder Pat Robertson said the holiday is a “demonic ritual” and “a night when the devil rejoices.” Spooky black cats and the Hocus Pocus movie aside, the holiday has its roots in early Celtic religious traditions and Catholicism. 

Halloween falls on October 31st every year. It is also known as All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Eve, and Allhalloween. The earliest roots of the Halloween tradition are from the Gaelic festival of Samhain. During this festival, people believed that the boundary between the Otherworld and this world could be crossed. It was thought that the souls of the dead could go back and revisit their homes. Dressing up in costumes may have been one way to disguise oneself from the Aos Si, which were spirits or fairies that could cross over from the Otherworld. It is believed that this holiday merged over time with the early Christian church’s All Saints Day. 

Even the carving of Jack-o-lantern has its roots in an Irish myth about “Stingy Jack” who cheated the Devil. After “Stingy Jack’s” death, God would not let him into heaven and the Devil would not let him into Hell. The legend goes that Jack roams the earth with a piece of coal in a carved-out turnip. Carving faces out of turnips and large beets and placing the finished product in windows or near doors could frighten away “Stingy Jack” or any other wandering evil spirits. 

Eventually, Irish and Scottish immigrants helped bring the nuances of this Autumn holiday to the United States. Pumpkins, which grow well in North America, replaced turnips to give us our current Jack ‘O Lanterns. Wearing costumes has morphed from a custom intended to disguise oneself and to ward off spirits into a celebration of the characters and things that people love. While Halloween has roots in pagan holidays and folklore, it has gradually become a holiday which celebrates dressing up as beloved characters and asking strangers for candy.


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Photo from Naturally Curly

What is Dimethicone and is it safe?

Dimethicone is a type of silicone which is commonly used in cosmetics, hair care and skincare products. It helps products glide over the skin and helps keep the ingredients mixed together. This produces a silky-smooth texture. It also helps fill in pores and fine lines while creating a matte finish on the skin. This can be useful in camouflaging breakouts and redness. Dimethicone is often used as an ingredient in moisturizers to prevent or to treat dry skin and minor skin irritations.

There is some speculation as to whether or not dimethicone causes acne in those with acne-prone skin. However, the evidence to support this claim is mostly anecdotal and is not supported by studies. Human and animal clinical trials of dimethicone indicate that it did not cause irritation when applied to the skin. While this is not the same as acne, it is worth noting that dimethicone is non-comedogenic and forms a vapour permeable barrier on the skin. This means that it is not totally occlusive. 

It is possible to have an allergy to Dimethicone. If you experience redness or swelling when using products that contain this ingredient, you should discontinue use and speak to your dermatologist.–small-changes-in-skin-care-routine-can-significantly-improve-skin-affected-by-acne-and-rosacea