Social Differences in Women’s Use of Personal Care Products: A Study of Magazine Advertisements

Magazine Advertisement

“Satura combines three scientific discoveries to help your skin look younger and chiffon-fine,” the advertisement proclaims. “The minute you smooth on a film of fluffy petal-pink Satura it disappears into your skin and begins working.” One of those key ingredients in the woman’s quest for chiffon-fine skin? Estrogenic hormones, a possible contributor to breast cancer. This advertisement, published in Ladies’ Home Journal in 1956, was one of 8,000 that Silent Spring Institute researchers tracked in a study of magazine advertisements for beauty products that might affect women’s risk of breast cancer. In 2000, the researchers released their results, which showed that endocrine disruptors and other controversial compounds in many personal care products have been marketed in popular women’s magazines to both white and African American women since the 1950s. While a few of these chemicals have since been taken off the market, some continue to be used today.