Women go through enough ups and downs because of hormones. We certainly don’t need more!
But depending on the skin care products you’re using, you could be inadvertently adding to the problem.
That’s because some skin care ingredients have been shown to mimic the action of hormones once they’re absorbed into the body.
What Are Hormones Anyway?
Our bodies are run by a complex and impressive group of hormones that together, make up what we call the “endocrine system.” These hormones are produced by a number of different glands in the body, including:
- Adrenal glands
- Hypothalamus (in the brain)
- Pituitary gland (in the brain)
These glands produce more hormones when needed, and less when the body has an adequate supply. Hormones are chemical messengers that go out into the body and control various bodily functions, including hunger, reproduction, sleep, mood, stress and relaxation, growth, strength, and more.
When the body produces a healthy balance of hormones, everything works as it should and you go about your day happy and healthy. But small changes in the amounts—having too much or too little of a certain hormone—can cause noticeable symptoms or even health problems.
What are Endocrine Disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors or hormonal disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system in some way, throwing it out of balance. The disruption can occur in a number of ways, including the following:
- The chemical mimics a natural hormone, fooling the body into responding to it as if it were real.
- The chemical blocks the effects of a hormone, rendering it useless.
- The chemical stimulates or inhibits the endocrine glands, causing them to overproduce or underproduce certain hormones.
There are a lot of chemicals and other substances that can cause these effects once they’re inside the body. These include:
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Plasticizing chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA)
- Dioxins and dioxin-like chemicals
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- Natural plant chemicals (like phytoestrogens)
We are exposed to these and other endocrine disruptors via:
- Processed foods
- Drinking water
- Plastic bottles
- Metal food cans
- Flame retardants
- Cosmetics/personal care products
How Endocrine Disruptors Can Damage Health
When an endocrine disruptor gets inside the body, it can throw the delicate hormone balance out of whack. Potential problems that may occur include:
- Developmental problems (in children)
- Reproductive problems, including infertility
- Nervous system problems
- Reduced immune function
- Thyroid problems
- Potentially increased risk of cancer
How to Limit Your Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors
It’s near impossible to completely avoid endocrine receptors in today’s world, but we can definitely reduce our exposure to them, thereby protecting our health.
We can start by taking these steps:
- Avoid plastics—never reheat food in a plastic container, and use stainless steel water bottles
- Avoid canned foods unless they are packed in BPA-free cans
- Use safe household cleansers
- Avoid processed and refined foods
- Avoid pesticides and herbicides
- Avoid non-stick cookware—the coating has endocrine disrupting chemicals
- Filter your tap water
- When buying furniture, including mattresses and carpet padding, ask about fire retardants; avoid stain- and water-resistant types, as they contain PFCs
- Choose organic produce as frequently as possible, particularly when eating the peel (organic has fewer pesticides than conventionally grown produce)
Next, check your personal care products for hormone-disrupting ingredients.
Endocrine-Disrupting Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid
All of the following cosmetic ingredients have been linked with hormone-disrupting action.
- Parabens: They are preservatives found in many personal care products.
- Fragrance: Personal care product fragrances are made up of many unknown ingredients that may be linked with hormone disruption. Use only products with natural fragrances.
- Oxybenzone: Found in some sunscreens.
- DEA/TEA/MEA: These are emulsifiers and foaming agents found in shampoos, body washes, and soaps.
- Lead: Found in some hair dye and lipsticks.
- Formaldehyde: Found in nail products, hair dye, and some fake eyelash adhesives.
- Phthalates: Plasticizing chemicals found in nail polishes, hair sprays, perfumes, and colognes.
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): This chemical, along with butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), is used as a preservative and are found in hair products, makeup, sunscreen, antiperspirants, perfumes, and body care products.
It can be difficult to tell if some of these ingredients are in a product, as they’re not always listed on the label. Your best approach is to purchase products only from those companies who purposely avoid hormone-disrupting ingredients.
Fortunately, there are many of them out there today thanks to smart consumers who are demanding safer products. We’re happy to be one of them—CV Skinlabs products proudly contain no hormone disruptors!
Did you know about hormone-disrupting chemicals in your skin care products?