Is your skincare messing with your hormones?

Our skin is the largest organ of the body. It contains three layers to protect us, but readily absorbs everything that is applied and enters it into the bloodstream. As a society, we are consumed with tons of lotions, potions, and creams to help with anti-wrinkle, anti-age, and acne fighting. Almost all of those products contain harsh chemicals and parabens to make the products work but as you may be seeing results on the outside, you could be doing some permanent damage on the inside. As those chemicals penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream, our immune system is compromised. It hinders our bodies ability to fight off disease and eventually will lead to serious issues like auto-immune diseases and cancers.

According to breastcancer.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer, these toxic ingredients are considered hormone disruptors. This can affect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body, by blocking them or mimicking them, which throws off the body's hormonal balance. Because estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop and grow, many women choose to limit their exposure to these chemicals that can act like estrogen.

So, why is excess estrogen bad? By disrupting the hormones and increasing estrogen in the body, you can experience all sorts of side effects. 

  • bloating
  • swelling and tenderness in the breasts
  • decreased sex drive
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • headaches
  • mood swings
  • fibrocystic developments in the breast
  • weight gain
  • hair loss
  • cold hands or feet
  • feeling tired or lacking energy
  • difficulty with memory
  • trouble sleeping
  • increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or PMS

Prolonged exposure to excess estrogen or ignoring these symptoms can result in many long-term health concerns such as infertility and cancer.

This does not only effect women. When men are exposed to excess estrogen they will have many side effects too.

  • Infertility. Estrogen is partly responsible for creating healthy sperm. When estrogen levels are high, sperm levels in semen may fall. This can lead to fertility issues.
  • Gynecomastia. Estrogen may stimulate breast tissue growth. Men with too much estrogen may start developing larger breasts.
  • Erectile dysfunction. A balance of both testosterone and estrogen is important for healthy sexual growth and development. Sexual function may be impacted when these hormones become imbalanced. Men with high levels of estrogen may have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.

As annoyed as my hubby gets each time I take a product away from him and replace it with a non-toxic version, he understands that its not worth putting that on or in his body and experiencing these symptoms. 

Switching to organic, vegan and gluten-free products is a good start, but there are even more hidden chemicals out there that they sneak in. Here are my top 3 worst ingredients.

  • Synthetic Fragrance: an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.
  • Parabens  (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.
  • Phthalates  (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
     

But that's just scratching the surface. Did you know that there are more than 1,300 chemicals banned in all products in Europe, but here in the States they have only banned 11? Or that a law hasn't been passed to regulate our beauty care ingredients since 1938? 

It's time to investigate your products and starting to make the switch. You can find a full comprehensive list called "The Never List" here on one of my favorite go-to non-toxic beauty lines Beautycounter. Print it out and cross check your products to ensure that you are being safe when you smear it  on.

Check out my recommendations on my JRW Approved: Non-toxic Beauty Guide. If you suspect that you are having hormonal balance issues and would like some help in making changes and healing your body, start here with your 30 minute consultation and health history. 

Making small changes can have an incredible impact on your short-term and long-term health. I encourage you to be an investogator for you and your familiy's wellness.

XO Jaclyn Renee