Monday, May 14, 2018

URSP Student Devon Nelson Researches How Symptoms of a Common Hormone Disorder Known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Influences Personal Care Product Use and Self-Esteem

My name is Devon Nelson and I am a senior Biology major with a minor in Psychology.  My current project is on how symptoms of a common hormone disorder known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) influences personal care product use and self esteem.  During Fall of 2017, I participated in the Biology Research Semester.  My research then focused on how personal care product use differed among race/ethnicity and how health risks of cosmetics were perceived among different groups.  While doing preliminary research for the paper, I found myself drawn to PCOS and cosmetic use.

Personal care products contain chemicals that are known to mimic and/or inhibit hormones.  Research on the long-term effects of these chemicals is still being conducted, but there isn't a lot of data on how these chemicals may affect hormone disorders.  That's where my research comes in.  I'm looking at whether individuals with PCOS symptoms use more personal care products.  Most of the symptoms of PCOS are physical (persistent acne, coarse hair growth), so individuals with the disorder might be using more personal care products to cover these symptoms.

On a weekly basis, I work to promote my survey through social media and local advertising avenues such as bulletin boards.  Now that data collection is coming to a close, my time is spent analyzing and cleaning the data.  Since a portion of my participants don’t live in the USA, I'm also spending time researching how beauty standards differ per region.