9 Commonly Used Skin Care Ingredients That Could Be Disrupting Your Hormones

As a Clinical Nutritionist, I educate my patients on the importance of reading  labels—not just food labels, but skincare-product labels as well. And here’s why: an average woman uses 12 products with more than 168 chemicals in them every morning. Research shows that some of these ingredients are hormone disruptors, which throw our hormones out of balance and trigger a variety of side effects, such as weight gain, mood swings, anxiety, loss of sleep and skin issues.

What Hormone Disruptors Do

Our hormonal system is our endocrine system. It includes our thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, pancreas, hypothalamus and pituitary glands. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include substances in our environment, water, food and personal care products that interfere with the production, transport, breakdown, binding and elimination of hormones. Exposure to these chemicals ultimately affect the balance of the body that could lead to a number of health problems, including weight gain, hypothyroid, infertility, adrenal imbalances, oestrogen dominance, lowered sperm counts, obesity, diabetes. They can also affect the skin, by showing up as sensitive skin, rashes, redness and even eczema.

Skin Care ingredients you need to know about 

Perhaps we all need to mindful of these ingredients, but if you have a thyroid issue or imbalanced cortisol or any endocrine issues, it’s important that you avoid these ingredients as best as you can.

  1. Formaldehyde: A known carcinogen and irritant found in nail products, hair dye, fake-eyelash adhesives and some shampoos. It has been banned in many countries.
  2. Fragrance: Has hormone-disrupting effects. Fragrance is also connected to headaches, dizziness, asthma and allergies. Instead, use products with natural fragrances only.
  3. Lead: A known carcinogen and hormone disruptor found in certain eyeliners, hair dye and lipsticks.
  4. Mercury: A known irritant and allergen that, with body accumulation over time, can impair the brain and nervous system.
  5. Parabens (Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl- and Isobutyl-): Used as preservatives in many products. A study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2004 detected parabens in breast tumours and discussed their oestrogen-like properties. While this doesn’t create a direct connection with cancer, I recommend avoiding these ingredients.
  6. Oxybenzone: An active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption and cellular damage. I recommend wearing skin-protective clothing and  zinc derived sunscreens.
  7. DEA/TEA/MEA (Ethanolamines): Used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, body washes, soaps and topical application. It’s been associated with cancer in animal studies.
  8. Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES): A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, it’s absorbed into the body.
  9. Diethylene glycol (or DEG): A central nervous system depressant and potent kidney and liver toxin. Sometimes found in fragrances. Glycerin and propylene glycol are sometimes contaminated with DEG, which are common ingredients in personal care products.

Beauty begins within

Aside from checking your skincare-product labels, diet and lifestyle must play vital roles in your skin care regimen. Simply moving your body keeps nutrient-carrying blood circulating throughout your body, so be sure to feed yourself plenty of nourishing foods, such as healthy fats (omega-3-rich fish oils and flaxseed oils), proteins and colourful, antioxidant-rich fruits and dark-green vegetables. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and help your body naturally flush out toxins that might otherwise show up on your skin. Naturally occurring toxins that build up in the body can adversely impact one’s health, hormones, looks and overall well-being.

If you are having skin issues or any hormonal imbalance symptoms you should have your hormones tested instead of guessing. Reach out to your Health Care Practitioner or reply to this message and I can help you out. 

And keep your bathroom shelf stocked with safe and clean ingredients to further boost your skin's health. If you're just started out on your clean skin care journey start here 

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