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Cosmetics as Endocrine Disruptors:Are They a Health Risk?

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

We're fairly knowledgeable on what we're getting into our bodies when it comes to wanting to be safe. We all know that fast food and packaged foods are horrible for us, and something treated with chemicals could certainly use a good rinse until we eat it. But do you understand the true implications of what you're putting on your body? It turns out that our favorite daily beauty items might be secretly containing additives that are causing chaos on our hormones. Everyday toxins and chemicals have an effect on your endocrine system, which is the system in which all of your hormones are secreted into the blood. These chemicals cause our hormones to behave in ways that they aren't expected to, giving them the name of "endocrine disruptors."

Chemical exposure from a multiple of sources is common in daily life; such a factor is the wide range of products classified as "cosmetics," involving various forms of known and highly marketed sunscreens. The main route of exposure is through the skin, but endocrine disruption is the primary endpoint of exposure. This is based on the fact that certain ingredients in cosmetics have endocrine active properties that impact the health of reproductive system and often have other impacts, such as cancer. Exposure to these common hormone disruptors is unlikely to do any damage to our bodies in the short term. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) have been related to a host of pathologies as well as long-term consequences. This includes a wide variety of direct reproductive and endocrine effects, such a gametogenesis defects, infertility, anatomical differences in sexual organs, changes in the natural onset of puberty, and puberty-related growth. Other effects include changes in the insulin reaction, which can lead to metabolic syndromes, diabetes and obesity, as well as the promotion of breast, testicle, and prostate cancer. Certain substances, such as dioxins, parabens, and Bisphenol A, that have been found in clinical trials to conflict with the hormonal system, are banned in the cosmetics industry and commonly avoided by manufacturing firms. However, several endocrine disruptors can also be present in our daily goods and should be prevented or minimized, particularly if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Dyes, preservatives, and fixatives such as formaldehyde or parabens, UV filters, metal salts, solvents, and scent ingredients are ingredients that are often included in cosmetics. Shampoo, skincare, make-up, hair coloring, and teeth fillings are also endocrine disruptors to some degree. The majority of research into the impact of endocrine disruptors has centered on agricultural and household goods, but this is an issue that often affects cosmetics. Scientists examined the case for these kinds of compounds acting as endocrine disruptors

in a recent analysis published in the journal Cosmetics. The examples they provide are some UV filters identified as having endocrine activity that affects

reproductive function or are correlated with carcinogenic behavior. Another instance is alkylphenols, which are organic compounds that are used as wetting agents, emulsifiers and antioxidants. In animal models, they are thought to be linked with a decline in reproduction as well as a decrease in survival. They have been linked to a disturbance of placental activity during pregnancy in humans.

Although, with a few quick adjustments, you will reduce the amount of daily ingredients that could have an effect on our hormones.

  • Your wellbeing should not be sacrificed for your beauty. So, until more information is available, do your own research. When selecting a product, read the label and see what substances it includes and whether or not you choose to use it (Avoid parabens in beauty products)

  • Look for safer options. If the goods you're actually using include potentially dangerous chemicals, consider converting to a better substitute if one is available.

  • Be critical of product claims.Many firms are legitimately trying to producewill phase out substances that have been identified as hazardous, such as bisphenol-A or phthalates. However, certain substances can be substituted by others that are similarly dangerous.

  • Reduce the number of products. Although it might be tempting to stock the bathroom cabinets with the most up-to-date lotions and potions, making more prudent decisions may be a better alternative.You will reduce your risk by restricting your choices to items you deem necessary. (Avoid synthetic fragrances).

  • Go Natural. Many beauty remedies can be made in the comfort of your own home. Seek for natural skin and hair care tips on the internet. However, be mindful that certain "natural" consumer goods can pose health risks. Essential oils, for instance, are often prescribed as a substitute to perfumes and fragrances. However, some essential oils, including tea tree oils and lavender, have estrogenic characteristics that can raise much of the same health risks as their chemical-laden counterparts. Natural does not necessarily indicate risk-free.

It is necessary to remember that our exposure to endocrine disruptors is small: these chemicals are used in comparatively small amounts in the majority of materials. However, research is emerging that even minimal exposure to some of these substances may have adverse effects in humans.

The bottom line: We should be cautious about the things we use. And more details should be requested about their welfare.

References :

1. Francisco M. Peinado, Luz M. Iribarne-Duràn, Olga Ocón-Hernàndez, Nicolàs Olea and Francisco Artacho-Cordón, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Cosmetics and Personal care Products and Risk of Endometriosis, IntechOpen, June 29,2020

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.93091

2. Polyxeni Nicolopoulou-Stamati, Luc Hens & Annie J. Sasco , Cosmetics as endocrine disruptors: are they a health risk? January 2016, 16, 373–383 DOI

3. Emiliano Ripamonti, Elena Allifranchini, Stefano Todeschi and Elena Bocchietto, Endocrine Disruption by Mixtures in Topical Consumer Products, MDPI, October 2018, 5(4), 61


5. ADELINA ESPAT AND BRITTANY CORDEIRO, Beauty products and cancer: Are you at risk? The university of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, August 2014

6. Toxic beauty Are your personal care products putting your health at risk? Harvard Medical School, April 2020

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