We often look at the labels in our food to see what we are putting in our system, but how many of us actually look at the labels in our makeup and skin-care products? Maybe more of us should start doing that, since, according to a new research these kinds of beauty products often contain chemicals that could lead to a number of health complications, including breast cancer.
Some of these chemicals are paraben and BPA, that are also known as “gender benders”, seeing as they cause male breast growth, and after conducting an analysis of over 100 women, a group of scientists found that the ones who had these chemicals in their urine produced unusual amounts of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Excessive amounts of estrogen have been found to lead to fibroids and polycystic ovary syndrome, and too much progesterone has been linked to both breast cancer and unusual vaginal bleeding.
According to previous research, parabens which are utilized as preservatives in makeup and skincare products can mimic estrogen and so lead to cancer, whereas BPA (Bisphenol A), which is used in perfumes to make them last longer, has been associated with infertility.
The researchers from George Mason University, Virginia, analyzed the urine samples of 143 pre-menopausal who weren’t on birth control and in good health. Three to five urine samples were provided by each woman over a period of two menstrual cycles and assessed for the chemicals BPA, parabens, chlorophenols, and benzophenones. Blood samples were also taken to determine their levels of estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH.
Dr. Anna Pollack, the research’s lead author, said:
This study is the first to examine mixtures of chemicals that are widely used in personal care products in relation to hormones in healthy, reproductive-age women, using multiple measures of exposure across the menstrual cycle, which improved upon research that relied on one or two measures of chemicals.
Chlorophenols, which are used as preservatives in cosmetics, have been shown to lead to acne, liver injury, and cancer. Benzophenones, which are found in products such as lip balm and nail varnish are useful in protection against UV light as well as keeping the scent on perfumes and soaps for longer but have been associated with cancer and infertility.
The results of the study, which were published in the journal Environment International, imply that exposure to all of the studied chemicals can increase a woman’s progesterone levels.
Dr. Pollack said:
What we should take away from this study is that we may need to be careful about the chemicals in the beauty and personal care products we use. We have early indicators that chemicals such as parabens may increase estrogen levels. If this finding is confirmed by additional research, it could have implications for estrogen-dependent diseases such as breast cancer.
Read more on the research here.
(You might also be interested: 7 Ingredients That Are Making Your Skincare Products So Expensive)