I’m sure that you’ve heard that your skin is your body’s largest organ. What many women and men don’t realize is that what we put on our skin is absorbed. Yes, it’s more than just skin deep!
Why is this important? Because of the ingredients that may be hiding in your personal hygiene and makeup products. There are many that are troublesome to your body.
A research study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, gathered between 1999 and 2008. Blood and urine test results were reviewed for 110 chemicals, including dioxins and phthalates, which interfere with hormones such as estrogen in the body.
Early Menopause Caused By Chemicals?
It was discovered that women with high exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals were up to 6 times more likely to be menopausal than those with low levels. Entering menopause early due to chemical exposure puts women at risk for breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndrome. Exposure to these chemicals can also cause early onset of puberty in young girls.
What products should concern you? Any that come into contact with your skin – whether applied and left on, or used to wash your skin, scalp or hair – because they are absorbed. Perhaps you should examine the products in your bathroom to see what ingredients they contain. Take a magnifying glass … the print is often quite small.
- Triclosan – has been banned from hand sanitizer but is often found in toothpaste, shampoo and facial cleansers. It is an endocrinie disruptor.
- Phthalates – far reaching endocrine-disrupting chemical used in cosmetics, personal care products, nail polish, plastics and products with long-lasting scents.
- Parabens – a prominent preservative with many forms that acts as an estrogen mimicker, disrupting hormone balance in males and females.
- Phenoxyethanol – used as a preservative in “paraben-free” products. It is toxic to the kidneys, nervous system and liver with extended exposure.
- Sulfates – mostly often as sodium laurel/laureth sulfate which is common in shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. Prolonged exposure can cause skin irritation, depression, asthma and diarrhea.
- DEA/MEA – hormone disrupting chemicals that are used as foaming agents. A Federal study has shown exposure greatly increases risk of liver and kidney cancer, especially in children.
- BHT – a fat-soluble compound used as a preservative in foods, cosmetics, jet fuel and embalming fluid. Perhaps you should check your pantry for this one, too.
- PEG – used as a thickener, softener and solvent, this developmental toxicant increases absorption of other harmful ingredients.
When you use a product that includes any of these ingredients, where do they go? The answer – your lymphatic system, blood stream, fat cells, brain and liver. As I said, it’s more than just skin deep!
What’s The Message?
Now this study doesn’t prove that using personal care products will trigger early menopause. What it does show is that chemicals we are all exposed to on a daily basis can have negative effects on hormonal health. And we are exposed through household cleaning products as well.
Prolonged use could be changing your estrogen levels, or affecting your thyroid hormones. You may already be experiencing symptoms that indicate that chemicals have hindered normal function, and your doctor isn’t digging deep to find the root cause. If this is you, I would imagine you have been collecting new prescriptions to help moderate the symptoms, yet you are still using the products that contributed to them.
So take a look at the products in your make-up bag, bathroom cabinet and shower. How many of the ingredients that I mention above do you find on their labels – and how many other hard-to-pronounce chemicals are also on the ingredient list? I have been “cleaning up” the products I am using and can recommend alternatives for you. Reach out to me if you are curious.
You might want to rethink the choices you are making. Remember, it’s more than just skin deep. You want to be sure you aren’t disrupting your hormones with your personal care products.