The “c” word is one that no woman ever wants to hear. Yes, we’re talking about cancer. Even though we have greater awareness about what we can do to decrease our chances of developing the disease, the reality is that 1 in 8 U.S. women will have to confront a breast cancer diagnosis at some point in her life.
There are many factors that can lead to cancer, but today there is a growing understanding of the link between topical toxins and cancer. And many of those toxins are found inside our makeup bags and bathroom cabinets.
If that scares you, good. It should. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it.
In 2010, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing treatment, Dr. Milagros “Millie” Hernandez realized that it wasn’t enough that she survived cancer — she wanted to share what she had learned and offer a real-life solution for a common mistake many women make: Using beauty and body products loaded with chemicals.
“I realized there are too many toxic products on the market, and creating TES became a life mission for me,” says Dr. Hernandez. “I want people to be aware that everything we put on our bodies can be absorbed by our bloodstream and affect our health.”
TES (Total Everyday Skincare) is Dr. Hernandez’s creation that she developed after eight years of research and product development with a team of scientists. Aside from being organic and free from any chemicals, what makes TES Cosmetics different from other all-natural skincare lines is its use of CBD oil. It’s also the first CBD skincare line created by an MD (who happens to be a woman … and Latina at that!)
CBD comes from cannabis, but unlike THC in marijuana, CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is used to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation and brighten skin. It’s also legal in all 50 states.
“CBD has so many health benefits that I consider it a superfood,” says Dr. Hernandez. “Make no mistake — CBD is here to stay.”
Homegirl Talk caught up with the New York-based doctor to find out how she got through her painful experience and what changes we can make right now to reduce our risk of getting cancer.
First of all, we are so happy that you survived breast cancer and are enjoying good health. Take us back to 2010 when you first found out that you had breast cancer. What sort of cancer did you have and how did you react to hearing the news?
I was diagnosed with DCIS stage zero, and I was shocked and confused. It was 2010, I was 42 years old, and thought I had been living a healthy lifestyle and always made sure to have yearly mammograms. Once the news sunk in, I knew I had to fight the cancer. My son was only ten years old at the time, and I knew I had to do whatever it took for me to stay alive and be there for him.
What treatment route did you decide to take?
It seemed like I didn’t have time to think, it all happened so quickly. After meeting with a breast surgeon, he recommended a double mastectomy because both breasts were full of calcifications. I started researching outcomes and survival rates and decided to go through with the mastectomies. It was a wise decision since I had lobular cancer stage zero as well in the other breast.
Do you attribute anything specific with causing your cancer in the first place?
We know that some people are genetically predisposed to develop cancer. But I have also come to the conclusion that an accumulation of toxins and chemicals contributed to my developing cancer.
Unfortunately, statistics show that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer. What are the best ways we can lower our risk?
We know that toxins have been linked to various forms of cancer, so the first step is to eliminate as many toxins as possible. Of course, smoking puts people at greater risk for cancer, so I always encourage smokers to try to quit.
We can also lower our risk of cancer by doing all the things your doctor has likely already told you to do — exercise, eat healthy and get enough sleep. I would also add to that list an important step: de-stress.
Stress is directly linked to inflammation, and inflammation is directly linked to a host of health issues, including cancer. Find stress-busting activities that work for you — yoga, swimming, getting a massage, painting, listening to music — and do them often!
What were the primary lifestyle changes you made that helped with your healing?
After the mastectomies and reconstruction, I decided to look into everything I was eating and putting on my body, and then I decided to avoid as many toxins and chemicals as possible. I went through all the products in my house, read every single ingredient, and threw away those that had chemicals in them. I now have a very green, chemical-free house. I also made sure to exercise more often.
Fast forward to 2018, and you have now created TES (Total Everyday Skincare), the only line of CBD oil skincare products designed by a medical doctor. Why skincare and why CBD?
Before I found out about my breast cancer, I used many skin products and they all had harmful chemicals that get absorbed by our skin into our blood stream. I decided I wanted to create a totally organic line of skincare that is toxin-free, since a buildup of toxins has been directly linked to cancer.
So I made Total Everyday Skincare, a product that would be safe for me, my family and my friends. And I want to share it with as many people as possible because I know the CBD oil can reduce inflammation, and help nourish and hydrate our skin in wonderful ways.
I think most women want to look beautiful and feel youthful as long as possible, and organic products can contribute to beautiful, healthy, youthful skin.
I added CBD to my organic skin care after researching all its benefits — in my own use and in my research, I found that it nourished skin and smoothed out wrinkles. This is due to all the potent antioxidants, vitamins and omegas in CBD. Blueberries, pomegranates and dark chocolates are full of antioxidants and so is CBD oil!
CBD can also help prevent and treat acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Topical application of CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a huge role in the life cycle of basal cells — those cells that make up the inner layer of the epidermis.
For basal cells to stay healthy they must go through a growing cycle, where old cells are discarded and new cells grow. By manipulating the endocannabinoid system you can regulate the life cycle of basal cells, leaving you with more youthful, radiant skin.
You call CBD a super oil that not only helps your skin but also helps alleviate many diseases, including epilepsy. Can you tell us more about the health benefits of CBD?
CBD has so many health benefits that I consider it a superfood. Anxiety affects so many Americans, and CBD can help deal with anxiety by activating the serotonin receptors in your body.
It has also become known for anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and we have seen incredible results in treating children and adults with epilepsy and Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome [ a severe form of epilepsy that becomes apparent during infancy or early childhood].
This summer, doctors released their findings from a study including over 200 people in 30 clinics across the country. The doctors concluded that the addition of CBD to a traditional seizure medication decreased the frequency of drop seizures significantly.
This is truly life-changing for these families, and the future is much brighter thanks to doctors and researchers in this field. Make no mistake — CBD is here to stay.
While we can control what products we put on our bodies, there are other things we have no control over, like environmental pollutants and toxins in the air we breathe. Do you have any medical advice for minimizing the harmful effects of just living in the modern world?
Everyone of us should be aware of what we are putting into and on our bodies — from the foods we eat to the cleansers, creams and cosmetics we use. You should also make sure that the products you use in your home — detergent, cleaning products, etc. — are not full of chemicals.
Buy organic products if at all possible, but especially the fruits and vegetables you eat. Of course, you should load up on foods full of antioxidants — blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and of course, apples! There is a reason why we hear ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Apples are full of antioxidants.
The same is true for potatoes and beans — potatoes have gotten a bad rap because they are considered high-carb, but they are also rich in iron and antioxidants. Besides this, be sure to exercise every day, even if it’s just a ten-minute walk, and make sure you get enough sleep.
It’s really easy to fall asleep with your phone in your hand, but I encourage my patients to unplug at the end of the day and read a book, or listen to some relaxing music.
Do all you can to cut back on stress in your life, and make time to do things for yourself — massages are super helpful for keeping the circulatory system functioning and helping your body process and eliminate toxins.
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As someone who was forced to confront mortality, what advice and words of wisdom do you want to share with others?
Every woman should get a mammogram every year. I am so thankful my doctor caught my cancer early because of my yearly mammogram. Educate yourself on how your body works, pay attention to the aches and pains you have, and try to get to the bottom of it. Life is too short to live it in pain!
Also — and this may sound strange coming from a doctor but I think it is so important — remember that you are the greatest expert on your own body.
You’re the only person on the planet who’s lived with it every single day! So listen to your body, slow down if you need to (or speed up) and fill your body and your life with all natural, healthy products.
CBD is legal in all fifty states. Visit the official TES Cosmetics site to get your own chemical-free skincare products!
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