Each and every day we come into contact with thousands of synthetic substances...
The modern woman’s world is filled with toxins and synthetic substances.
The problem with non-natural skincare.
Endocrine Disruptors are substances which interfere with your body’s hormonal function, and are found in most conventional beauty products.
One particularly harmful type of Endocrine Disruptor are Xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals which mimic natural oestrogen — a type of sex hormone. Once inside the body, Xenoestrogens appear to be identical to oestrogen and trick our cell receptors, so our bodies think they’re allowed to be there.
So, what’s the problem if they mimic something that’s already naturally occurring?
Hormone balance is extremely sensitive, and too much of one hormone compared to another can throw out this precious balance and cause problems.
Excessive amounts of oestrogen, whether it be naturally occurring or caused by xenoestrogen intake, can cause PMS, painful periods, headaches… and weight gain.
Yes, that’s right… your skincare could be contributing to your waistline.
Oestrogen dominance caused by an excess of oestrogen and xenoestrogens in the body could be what’s preventing you from losing those final pounds or that pesky muffin top. Switching to a natural beauty routine could help you to lose those final few inches around your waist.
Not only can these toxic synthetic hormone disruptors influence your body to store fat rather than burn it, but there are studies which show a link between xenoestrogens and breast cancer.
These seemingly unassuming substances mean serious business, and can have disastrous effects on your health and wellbeing.
Xenoestrogens can cause problems for not only women, but men too. More and more men are experiencing excess breast tissue or ‘man-boobs’ due to high estrogen levels. It could just be time to get the men in your life some natural skincare!
But jokes aside, of course the body is equipped to deal with slightly elevated levels of oestrogen – the liver detoxifies excessive oestrogen and disposes of it by combining it with bile that is then excreted.
However for many of us, the levels of oestrogen and xenoestrogens that we are exposed to are way too high, and our livers are struggling to cope. This often happens when the liver is overloaded with other materials (toxins) to detoxify, and is too busy to process excess oestrogen.
As oestrogen is natural, the liver prioritises it last over things like caffeine, alcohol, paracetamol and other drugs. So it gets put back into the bloodstream to circulate, causing symptoms of hormonal imbalance or oestrogen dominance (as mentioned above).
Reducing your exposure to xenoestrogens is vital to keeping your weight stable and reducing the risk of negative side effects and diseases. Endocrine disruptors can be found in many parts of our day to day lives, so start by minimising your exposure at home. One of the easiest places to start is by switching to natural beauty and skincare products. Think about how many products you used this morning; shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, moisturiser, foundation, concealer, blush, mascara, lipstick and possibly many more. Now, how many of those were organic or natural products? Think of how many harmful substances you have been exposed to before you have even sat down to breakfast!
Here are some common xenoestrogen ingredients to steer clear of in skincare + beauty products:
~ Parabens like methylparaben, a commonly used preservative in skincare products
~ 4 MBC (4 Methylbenzylidene Camphor), a synthetic SPF material found in many modern sunblocks
~ Phthalates, a plasticising material commonly found in nail polish and mascara
~ Trisodium phosphate (TSP), used as cleaning agent, lubricant, food additive, stain remover
Home cleaning products are another prominent source of xenoestrogens in the home; dish washing liquid, laundry powder, and surface cleaner, are the three products in which we come into the most contact with. You may like to try switching to more natural brands, or look into homemade cleaning solutions that use baking soda, vinegar or lemon.
Lastly, the food that we consume is another source of many xenoestrogens or phytoestrogens. While eating organic food is a great way to avoid the majority of endocrine disruptors, it is not always financially reasonable. There are still ways in which you can reduce your consumption of endocrine disrupting chemicals when eating conventional food. Make sure wash all fresh produce in a bath of water and vinegar (3:1), this removes the majority of pesticides from the fruit and vegetables. If possible grow salad greens and herbs at home as these items are heavily sprayed in conventional farming.
You may also like to avoid soy as it contains high levels of phytoestrogens - a naturally occurring plant oestrogen.
With the invention of plastic, it has become the main way of storing food. However most plastic products contain xenoestrogens which leach out into the food, especially when they are heated. Never heat food in plastic containers or plastic wrap, and store food in glass or ceramic when possible. Always look for plastic containers and bottles that state they are ‘BPA free’, and try not to leave plastic containers in the sun, as this can lead to the leaching of
Author - Jessica Gilljam Brown
Jessica is a qualified nutritionist, and takes a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. She is passionate about helping people to discover how amazing their bodies are designed to feel when powered by the right nutrients. Jessica uses evidence-based science to help educate, and make lasting changes in people's lives. Learn more on her website.