There’s no doubt about the fact that your hormones impact your skin — just ask any teenager, pregnant woman, woman in the midst of IVF or who just stopped hormones birth control, or menopausal woman experiencing breakouts!
And as we age and estrogen decreases, our skin loses elasticity and moisture. Elevated cortisol slows wound healing, thins the skin, and can tigger acne as well… there are SO many different ways our different hormones affect our skin throughout our lives.
But what about the other way around?
Can your skincare products impact your hormones?
Enter: endocrine disrupting chemicals (also known as endocrine disruptors or EDCs).
And in fact, endocrine disruptors are one of the biggest reasons I try to convince everyone and their grandmothers to detox their skincare routines!
The average woman applies hundreds of manmade chemicals to her body each day, few of which have been tested for safety and a number of which are known or suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals.
[P.S. This is the stat that encouraged me to start Body Unburdened years ago. It’s even printed on the Beauty Blends labels!]
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a trusted non-profit organization working to protect public and environmental health,
Of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States, most haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health.
In fact, just a small percentage have been adequately tested.
And according to the Wold Health Organization,
There is increasing credible evidence that human and wildlife health is currently being adversely affected by exposure to a large-scale mixture of man-made chemicals. The incidence of developmental, neurobehavioural, reproductive and other health outcomes is increasing in human populations across the globe and many of these have been found to be associated with exposure to individual, man-made chemicals. These findings are paralleled, in some cases, in findings relating to wildlife and laboratory animals. Thus, there is a growing concern that chemicals are causing adverse health effects in both human and wildlife populations by interfering with their endocrine systems.
Aptly named, endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with the body’s endocrine system: the system of glands that produce hormones.
They do so by either:
- Mimicking the body’s natural hormones and causing a hormonal excess
- Binding to cells’ hormone receptors and preventing the body’s natural hormones from binding, which prevents the hormone from getting where it needs to go and doing its job
- Interfering with the way hormones or their receptors are made or controlled (like by altering their metabolism in the liver
Considering that hormones are chemical messengers that tell cells what to do and how to do it — regulating metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood — we do NOT want anything interfering with our hormonal balance.
It’s no wonder why endocrine disruptors have been linked to:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Thyroid disorders
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Uterine fibroids
- Precocious/ early-onset puberty in girls
- Fertility issues
- Reproductive-related cancers
- Breast cancer
- Even obesity (some endocrine disruptors are further classified as “obesogens”)
This is why detoxing your skincare routine is a key (but often overlooked!) step for attaining hormonal balance.
… and therefore overall health and wellbeing because did I mention hormones are a big deal!?
So what can you do to protect yourself from endocrine disruptors in skincare products?
Look out for these known or suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals on product ingredient labels:
- Chemical fragrance (listed as “fragrance” or “parfum”)
- Oxybenzone (an active ingredient in many sunscreens)
- Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES)
And invest your money in products and companies that will keep you safe.
One of my favorites is Beautycounter, a company on a mission to change the broken beauty from the inside out by legislating to congress for stricter standards. Plus, all of their high-performing products are ranked 0-2 on the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database, so you know you’re in safe hands. I’m proud to be a Beautycounter consultant — you can come shop with me here!
And I’m also very proud to personally be part of the solution and offer my own all-natural face oils for sale! After years and years of blog readers asking me to offer my skincare products for sale, I finally took the leap this past November with the Body Unburdened Beauty Blends.
Some of my other favorite resources for safe skincare and cosmetics include:
And the following tools are extremely helpful in determining the safety of products: