A certain amount of confusion surrounds the use of chemicals in personal care items, on one hand ‘big business’ marketing assures us that chemical additives are perfectly safe but the evidence of their harmful effects suggests otherwise.
The products we use to improve our appearance often contain chemicals that are extremely harmful to our natural balance of hormones.
There are several commonly used ingredients that can be found in everything from body and face lotions to cosmetics and shaving creams which are known endocrine disruptor’s.
These ingredients can alter hormonal chemistry by increasing circulation of hormones by mimicking their activity in the body, or they can reduce the level of sex hormones in the body or block their activity.
This can impact fertility, lead to early menopause and influence things like mood, length and severity of the menstrual cycle in women.
In a perfect world, personal care items would only contain non-toxic, pure plant and herbal extracts without anything artificial.
Until such a time, we are here to help make your journey a little easier by showing you how to recognize the safe products and avoid the toxic ones.
When you look at the ingredient list there should be absolutely no numbers, words you can’t pronounce or ANYTHING you don’t recognise.
For example, let’s take a look at the ingredient list of my hand-crafted Divine Body Butter:
- Shea Butter
- Avocado Butter
- Almond Butter
- Aloe Butter
- Palm Butter
- Mango Butter
- Citrus Essential Oils
It’s a perfect example of a product that’s made entirely from nature and is completely safe for the entire family. (It’s also the most divine body butter ever )
What’s Not Safe?
1. Phthalates: Sometimes shown on a label as; i-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), di(2-ehtylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).
Commonly found in: Scented body products, perfume and air freshener.
Phthalates are a family of chemicals that are used in most artificially scented products on the market today. They are used to help stabilise the fragrance chemicals.
They are also found in products such as hair straighteners, hairsprays, and nail polish. A study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that all 289 participants in the study had phthalates present in their urine.
Studies have concluded that phthalates can contribute to early-onset menopause and can also contribute to infertility in women and men. They can have a definite impact on the natural hormones circulating in the body, and have shown the ability to reduce circulating sex hormones.
In other words, they tamper with your body’s natural ability to control its natural balance of female and male sex hormones.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate Sometimes shown on label as SLS, SLES
Commonly found in: Shampoo, Moisturiser and Cosmetics.
SLS and SLES are esters of Sulphuric acid. SLS is also known as “Sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt”, however there are over 150 different names by which it is known.
The sodium lauryl sulfate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.
Perhaps most worryingly, SLS is absorbed into the body from skin application. Once it has been absorbed, one of the main effects is to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen.
This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is often is commonly contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen.
3. Cocoamide (DEA), Diethanolamine (TEA), Triethanolamine, (MEA)
Commonly found in: Shampoo, Moisturizer and Cosmetics.
These chemicals can react with other ingredients in the cosmetic formula to form an extremely potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA is readily absorbed through the skin and has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers.
4. Propylene Glycol, Propylene Oxide, Polyethylene Glycol (PGE’s)
Commonly found in; Paint, Cleansers, Moisturizers and Baby Wipes.
According to a study by Karlstad University, the concentrations of PGEs, propylene glycol and glycol ethers in indoor air, particularly bedroom air, has been linked to increased risk of developing numerous respiratory and immune disorders in children, including asthma, hay fever, eczema, and allergies, with increased risk ranging from 50% to 180%.