FRENEMIES | Conventional Beauty, Your Hormones, & Your Skin
When it comes to our skin care and beauty products, we hold on tight. We tend to ignore the articles and discount the evidence indicating just how toxic these products are to our health. We rely on these products to look and feel pretty. Here’s the thing: 1) you already are beautiful, products or not and 2) many conventional cosmetic ingredients are endocrine disruptors, meaning they alter hormonal function. Take phthalates for example. These plastic byproducts mimic estrogen and can even affect the thyroid. And phthalates aren’t the only players in the game. Not even close.
You might be wondering, why does any of this matter? I’m glad you asked. Female hormones in particular are incredibly delicate. Anything from stress to high intensity exercise to sleepless nights can knock them off kilter. Now, imagine the trouble endocrine disrupting chemicals can cause. Endocrine disruptors work via multiple mechanisms and can be particularly upsetting for your sex hormone balance. Remember our friends phthalates? These chemicals are considered xenoestrogens, which means they act like estrogen imposters in the body. They accumulate in fatty tissues and can result in an estrogen dominant state that may lead to PMS, irregular periods, and even hormonal acne.
If any of these symptoms sound all too familiar, then you definitely, definitely need to give the ingredients in your products a second look. (Phthalates are often hidden under the catchall term “fragrance.”) While you are on the hunt for phthalates, you may as well ditch sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), polyethylene glycol (PEG), artificial colors, triclosan, and antimicrobial agents like parabens, phenoxyethanol, and sodium benzoate. Parabens, phenoxyethanol, and sodium benzoate are included as preservatives, but new evidence is suggesting that they may actually disrupt the skin’s delicate microbiome. Annihilating our skin’s symbiotic organisms worsens inflammatory conditions like acne and leads to increased sensitivity overall. And if preservatives can disrupt the microbiome, imagine what happens when you break out the big acne-fighting guns (think: benzoyl peroxide). Nothing good. While we are on the subject of acne, know that ingredients like mineral oil, silicone, and wax can clog pores and are generally not skin friendly.
Your products don’t seem so pretty anymore, do they? But before you throw up your hands in despair, remember that there are so many fantastic options available now to replace your products. You’ve probably noticed that Marie Veronique and Heart of Gold are two of my favorite lines, but feel free to email me for specific replacement suggestions.
And if you are ready to give hormonal acne the heave ho, book a session!
(Oh and if you are looking for more on this topic, Lara Adler is a great resource.)