Understanding Endocrine Disruptors and the Importance of “Clean” Personal Care Products
Did You Know?
Of 10,000+ chemicals used by cosmetic manufacturers in the U.S., only 11 have been banned or restricted in the U.S. by the FDA.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “no category of consumer products is subject to less government oversight than cosmetics and other personal care products."
Per the FDA’s own website: “Under U.S. law, cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market. The FDA does not have the authority to require cosmetic manufacturers to submit their safety data to the FDA.”
In contrast, over 40 nations have restricted a combined 1,400 chemicals or contaminants in cosmetics and personal care products linked to disease and reproductive and neurological harm!
This is why it’s important to find “clean” brands that not only BAN endocrine disrupting chemicals from their process, but actually work well, so that switching to safer products isn’t a compromise!
Examining Cosmetics + Personal Care Products
Most women use an average of 12 personal care products per day that contain 168 different chemicals…and many of these chemicals are considered "xeno estrogens," i.e. a class of endocrine disruptors that “bind” or attach themselves to the receptor sites of the target tissues in the body, mimicking and over-stimulating the activity of the hormones that govern our physical, mental, and emotional well-being! (Creating health risks, even at low amounts).
What’s most concerning is that cosmetic / personal care products are applied directly to the skin (our largest organ), so any harmful chemicals contained in them are directly absorbed into our bloodstream. In fact, the absorption of the skin on our face is 5-10 times higher than other parts of the body, so if you’re using makeup or skincare containing toxic chemicals, you’re more likely to experience breakouts, inflammation and other symptoms of hormone imbalance!
Unfortunately, the majority of mainstream cosmetic companies* use chemicals (like phthalates and parabens) that are known to mimic estrogens activity in the body, which can contribute to estrogen dominance (i.e. excess estrogen relative to progesterone) as well as increased risks for breast cancer, among other health concerns!
(*Unless the brand states they are “clean” and has ingredients verified by an outside body such as EWG.org/skindeep.)
By switching to clean cosmetics and personal care products, women can reduce and/or prevent excess estrogen growth in the body, and help relieve symptoms of estrogen dominance such as heavy/painful/irregular periods, bloating/constipation, bad moods, weight gain and swollen breasts. Accumulated exposure to these toxins can also result in low testosterone and cortisol imbalance (with symptoms like fatigue, low libido, reduced strength/stamina), so if you’re dealing with hormonal issues, switching to ‘clean’ products is an important first step!
Specific Chemicals to Avoid
Please keep in mind that whenever we talk about chemical ingredients that can impact our hormones, the goal is not to create fear or panic— but to help you understand what ingredients to look out for and how to find brands you can trust (at diff price ranges), so that you can make informed decisions when purchasing your next products.
Although we will always be exposed to chemicals (in the air, food, clothes, etc.), the idea is to reduce your body’s overall toxic burden wherever possible. The accumulated exposure we have to toxic chemicals builds up over-time, especially the more products we use and apply directly to our skin daily.
The main “endocrine disrupting” chemicals to watch out for (that are banned in other countries but still found in cosmetics in the US today), include:
👎 PHTHALATES (Dibutyl and diethylhexyl)- commonly found in nail polish and hidden under the term “fragrance”
👎 PARABENS (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)- commonly found in foundations, tinted moisturizers, BB + CC creams, blush, shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, etc.
👎 PFAs (i.e. “forever chemicals”) - found in nail polish, waterproof mascara, lipstick, eyeliner, eye-shadow, etc.
👎 Synthetic Fragrance - this is an umbrella term that can include hundreds of chemicals that are not disclosed by the brand, including endocrine disruptors such as phthalates.
👎 Toluene - found in many nail polish and nail treatments
👎 Talc - found in all cosmetics, baby powder, antiperspirants/deodorant, etc.
Other chemicals to look out for included in cosmetics include “Formaldehyde,” “Carbon Black,” “PEGs” (which are all known carcinogens).
Finding (High Quality) Non Toxic Products that you’ll LOVE
It may feel overwhelming to imagine swapping out all your products to clean and safe brands – but you don’t need to do it overnight! We always suggest starting with products you’re running low on and will need to replace soon anyway.
To search product reviews and find trusted brands in different categories and price ranges, simply go to ewg.org/skindeep or download the @thinkdirty or @letsclearya apps!
Some of our favorite high quality (yet affordable) “clean” makeup brands include:
@thedetoxmarket (marketplace for clean, green beauty products featuring different brands in a wide range of cosmetic/ personal care categories)
NOTE: different products made by the same brand can receive different ratings in the “skin deep” EWG app, so if using the app, we suggest aiming for products with low hazard ratings. The products we've selected above are all in the low hazard or EWG verified range!
Have you experienced hormonal improvements since switching to non toxic products?
Got any clean beauty or personal care brands you LOVE?
Drop a comment below!
Interested in testing your hormone levels and getting started on an all-natural rebalancing plan? Check out our at-home hormone testing, rebalancing and consulting packages HERE.