As a woman dealing with PMS, PCOS, or endometriosis you’re always on the hunt for the combination of changes that will make it stop.
You’re doing your best to lead a healthy lifestyle by eating right and getting your steps in each day, but the last area you think to change is your cleaning and personal care products.
You pay so much attention to what you put in your mouth—which IS important—but why not pay just as much attention to what you put on our skin?
Women use an average of 15 personal care products a day (men use about 6) and each product can contain a dozen or more chemicals. When you add that up it’s an awful lot of junk that we’re slathering, spritzing and soaking in every day!
Our skin is our largest organ and what we come into contact with and put on, gets absorbed into our bloodstream and integrated into our body tissues.
While our skin is a barrier that protects our inner tissues and organs, it’s also highly permeable. It’s our largest organ, but our thinnest. Only 1/10th of an inch separates our delicate insides from a multitude of toxins, many of which have estrogen-mimicking effects that can destroy all of your good health intentions.
These toxins are called endocrine disruptors. Chemicals that can interfere with your endocrine system (your hormones), and have a negative effect on your cell development, reproductive system, brain function, and immune system.
It’s not just factory made substances that can mess with your hormones, some naturally occurring substances cause problems as well.
Here are five make-up ingredients that contribute to hormone imbalance:
In a study at the University of California, researchers tested 24 lip glosses and 8 lipsticks, and found that they contained nine toxic heavy metals, including aluminum, cadmium, chromium, lead, and manganese. And no, these were not listed on the label.
Aluminum, arsenic, iron, mercury, and nickel have estrogenic effects on breast cancer cells. The main ingredient in conventional antiperspirants is aluminum – and that’s a product most of us are using near our breast tissue every single day.
The problem with natural deodorants is that it can take some experimenting to find one that really works with your body chemistry. It took me a full year to find what works for me. (1-2 drops of Purification essential oil applied under each arm, if you’re wondering)
Parabens are used as a preservative because they are germicides. They’re a cheap way for companies to make their products last longer without collecting bacteria.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology detected high amounts of parabens in breast cancer cell growth. Parabens are able to bind to estrogen receptors where they encourage breast cancer cell growth. It mimics natural estrogen that leads to cancer. They may contribute to hormone imbalances and early onset puberty.
They’re found in many skin care products, lotions, creams, and deodorants.
They’re not always labeled, but when they are they’ll be called something like methylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben – anything that ends in “paraben.”
Five parabens are banned in Japan, by the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the European Union.
Phthalates are used as a binding agent to make nail polish chip resistant and fragrances last longer.
Phthalates damage reproductive organs and disrupt hormone balance, including leading to early onset puberty in girls. They’re a carcinogen linked to asthma, birth defects, early breast development in girls and boys, lowered sperm count, and lung, liver and kidney cancer.
You’ll find them in body sprays, cleaners, deodorants, lotions, plastic packaging and they’re usually not listed on labels because there is no requirement to do so.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients mimic estrogen in the body, disrupting our hormone balance. They also damage DNA and are believed to contribute to cancer formation – including skin cancer!
Off the coast of Southern California scientists have discovered that the horneyhead turbot fish is showing characteristics of male AND female traits—such as egg cells in their sperm samples.
Plus, they found elevated levels of estrogen, and estrogen mimicking chemicals, in their blood and tissues – including oxybenzone. In addition, 96.8% of the urine test from people in the area showed oxybenzone present.
What to look out for? Avobenzone, benzophenone, octyl or ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, PABA, and oxybenzone are commonly used in chemical sunscreens.
Triclosan is classified by the EPA as a pesticide and probable carcinogen. It ranks highly as both a human health risk and an environmental risk. It affects both male and female hormones, and specifically the thyroid gland, as well as contributing to the spread of MRSA infections.
It’s classified as a chlorophenol, suspected of causing cancer in humans. And we’ve been washing our hands with it multiple times a day – for years!
Triclosan is in anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, and should be listed on the label.
So what’s a woman to do with all this info? Check your most-used products for these ingredients.
Download the EWG Healthy Living app on your phone. Then use the app to scan your products to see how safe their ingredients are. If you don’t find the product by scanning the barcode, you can type in the ingredients instead.
- A green rating means the product has little to no negative long-term health impacts.
- A yellow rating means the product has moderately negative long-term health impacts.
- A red rating means the product has serious long-term health impacts.
If you’re ready to simplify your body, beauty, and household cleaning products to one safe brand, I personally use and love Young Living Essential Oils suite of products. I place one order a month and no longer have to continually check if a brand has been sold to one of the bigger companies, which has usually meant that some ingredients are swapped for something less safe. A time and sanity saver!