Beauty & Style
Skin Health

Are Your Skincare Products Making You Sick?

Most of us put on gloves when we clean our bathrooms, as we’re very aware of the dangers of toxic chemicals coming into direct contact with our skin. But what about all of the synthetic chemicals that we innocently apply to our bodies?

Every day we absorb self-applied toxins, and most are no further away than our bathroom make-up counter. Shampoos, soaps, deodorants, and all the many “de-aging” skincare products we women use. How do we know they are all safe?

According to many scientists and medical professionals, they aren’t safe. Synthetic preservatives used in such products can contain ingredients used to kill bacteria or inhibit growth of molds in the products themselves. They inherently have toxicity to cells and are known to disrupt endocrine function.

The body’s endocrine system consists of glands that produce and release the hormones that are responsible for our metabolism, our immune system, and our growth and reproductive systems. Synthetic chemicals, known as “endocrine disruptors”, can mimic our body’s natural hormones, resulting in our bodies increasing or decreasing production of other vital hormones erroneously. These synthetic chemicals can interfere with hormone signaling throughout our body, even telling cells to die prematurely, or allowing the “imposter hormones” to accumulate, throwing the body’s natural hormones off balance.

These toxins are absorbed by your body’s largest organ – your skin – and they accumulate in your body once they are there. And while manufacturers of these products say the toxicity from any one product is “minimal”, their studies do not focus on the accumulation of dozens of chemicals that we are exposed to each day through persistent use of multiple products.

Recently Johnson and Johnson announced plans to stop using suspected endocrine disruptors, such as parabens and BPA, by the end of 2015. But the industry overall is self-policed. The FDA does not require any approval process for “cosmetics” and skincare products.

While more studies are needed, health-minded individuals are choosing to minimize their exposure. So what are the biggest culprits and what can you do about them?

Parabens – Methylparaben, Propylparaben, and Butylparaben, as seen on ingredient labels, are the most widely used in personal care products. They have been found in biopsy samples from breast tumors.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) – Found in moisturizers and even inside canned foods (applied as a protective plastic lining). It is projected that 93% of Americans have BPA in their bodies, and it has been linked to reproductive issues, breast cancer, and other cancers.