Simplified Science #4: Estrogen Imbalance? Check Your Cosmetics
Ever wonder what your personal care products are doing to your health?
Research shows that most of the concoctions we use to look our best might actually be worsening our health. And it all starts at home with our morning rituals.
Think about it: we wake up and head straight for the bathroom, where a host of cosmetics awaits us. Soaps, creams, lotions and perfumes touch our skin most likely before our first glass of water or sip of coffee. Combine that with our addiction to scented hand santizier and we've got ourselves a full-on cosmetic addiction.
In 2016, the cosmetic industry was said to bank a cool 62 million dollars in profit. And with the largest cosmetic industry in the world, the US is taking the lead with consumption of these products. Chronic use of beauty products has always seemed like an exclusively feminine problem, but don't be fooled; the male cosmetic industry is growing and currently netted an estimated 21 billion in 2016. In fact, from 2015 to 2016, a global retail store for men's fashion called Mr Porter, reported 300% growth in their cosmetic department. Clearly, this is no longer just a "women's issue".
Considering the facts, it's safe to say that cosmetic health is not a marginalized concern. Let's explore why we need to upgrade our cosmetic game.
So what exactly is the issue with most beauty products?
Most conventional cosmetic products contain chemicals that act as xenoestrogens. Originating outside the body, xenoestrogens mimic estrogen. Once consumed, xenoestrogens attach to estrogen receptors in the body, contributing to hormonal imbalances and estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance has been shown to contribute to various conditions such as :
cancers (specifically breast and uterine)
Which chemicals should you look out for?
Parabens act as a preservative in many shampoos, lotions and deodorants. One study found that parabens were in 99% of sampled breast tissue, which increases the likelihood of cancer development. This is because parabens seem to accumulate in fatty tissue, which makes it especially attracted to areas like the breast.
Phthalates are classified as "obesogens," meaning they directly contribute to obesity. This is because phthalates interfere with proper functioning of the thyroid, which is an important factor in metabolism. Research shows that children who are exposed to phthlates more often are more likely to be obese. Those found to have more phthlates in their urine were either obese or had a higher chance of being obese later in life. Used in plasticizers as well as cosmetics, phthalates have also been shown to lower testosterone while raising estrogen.
Most popular brands like CoverGirl and Johnson and Johnson make products that contain one or more of the previously mentioned chemicals. Please note that even if brands say no parabans or phthlates, synthetic fragrances may also act as xenoestrogens.
What brands can you use to avoid these chemicals?
The best way lessen exposure to these toxins is to use products with "safer", non-toxic ingredients. Before you purchase anything, make sure to read the labels, do your research and familiarize yourself with the brand as much as possible. Below are a few companies that make great alternatives to all kinds of conventional personal care products:
Tom's of Maine
Kiss My Face