Importance of endocrine disruptors in cosmetics
Often the main interest we have when buying a cosmetic product is its effectiveness and fast results in terms of beauty, hygiene, or damage repair of our skin.
When buying a product we rely on the advertisement provided to us as the most beneficial one, the cheapest, or the most effective in the short term due to a "new" or "very effective" ingredient. Many times we buy the cheapest one because we just need it for a specific occasion or because we consider it convenient, without looking at the brand or the ingredients used in that formula.
In the fast-paced world in which we live, many times we do not spend the necessary time and concern to know what are, the cosmetics we use on a daily basis, made of. We usually keep the most basic information from the container box, where it shows a natural or well-known ingredient that supposedly will cover our needs for the moment.
We must become aware of reading the small print where all the formula ingredients are listed and discover what those "strange names" mean, since some may be totally safe and harmless and others may be endocrine disruptors, chemicals substances used by some brands to guarantee the effectiveness of the cosmetic or because they are cheaper.
The main problem is that many of these disruptors represent a serious danger to our health and can end up generating serious illnesses when used for a long period of tim. Especially in our endocrine system, which consists of glands and organs that produce hormones, these are released directly into the blood, reaching the tissues and organs throughout the body. Endocrine hormones control many important functions in our bodies, such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction.
Disruptors can be practically considered poison for this system, causing a hormonal imbalance that triggers different conditions such as the development of cancer and other autoimmune diseases.
We may also add that the endocrine system has a direct interaction with the nervous system, and both systems are related to the immune system. Our hormones regulate vital functions of our body, and it is important that we begin to take them into consideration.
We proceed to summarize "what endocrine disruptors are". These are chemical substances that end up causing health problems since they have the ability to affect hormonal balance and embryonic development.
Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of disruptors; some of them are found naturally in the environment and others come from synthesized chemical ingredients that can be found in products as common as cosmetics, creams, soaps, shampoos...
Endocrine disruptors, partially or completely mimic the hormones in our body, such as estrogens, androgens, or thyroid hormones. By altering metabolism, they can block the natural interaction that hormones should have with their receptors. Since they interfere with the body's endocrine system, it leads to adverse development, and reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.
As we mentioned before, disruptors are also found in everyday things we use and have at home like cosmetics.
That cream you apply daily for beauty or hygiene may have some of these chemical substances among its ingredients in order to provide the advertised benefit on our skin. We will obtain this benefit in a short period, the skin will be softer or the face will achieve a better color, but at the same time, without being aware, we are contaminating our body.
Due to the low cost involved, many cosmetic companies contemplate the use of these disruptors. Due to the serious effects they can cause on health, more often than not, these practices are trying to be avoided through legislation in each country.
Why the legislation on toxics does not protect your health? An important problem for the control and regulation of its use is, that a single endocrine disruptor, in itself, does not represent a risk to your health, but its combined effect does. We do not only use one cosmetic or product every day that contains endocrine disruptors, we use several, impregnating our bodies with a toxic combination. Some substances by themselves have a low effect or are even harmless, until we combine them with other substances, triggering adverse effects in the body. Currently, this is not properly regulated.
Within the cosmetic formulas, we find known disruptors that are "covered" with common names such as Bases and Active Ingredients, Additives, Preservatives, Colorants, and Perfumes.
Here is a brief summary of the most commonly used endocrine disruptors in cosmetics.
We shall start with the parabens; they are possibly the best known, but be careful! In the ingredients list, many of them will not show under this name, they are camouflaged with names like; Isopropylparapene, Propylparapene, Isobutylparaben and Butylparaben, Methylparaben and Ethylparaben.
There are also the Bisphenols. Substances that are part of some plastic packaging or containers that have the recycling symbol 7. They are also found in some aluminum containers that have an internal Bisphenol A coating, which is used to prevent aluminum from having direct contact with the product.
We can find some preservatives that release formaldehyde. Unfortunately, although there is scientific evidence for years of the relationship between formaldehyde, and the increase in cases of cancer, and although its use within the cosmetic industry is supposedly prohibited, preservatives are still used in certain products that release this substance.
We can find them in makeup products, liquid soaps, shampoos, and softeners.
In order to identify them in the list of ingredients of the product, we must look for these names:
DMDM Hydantoin: (1,3-dimethylol-5, 5-dimethyl hydantoin, Dimethylol-5, 5-dimethyl hydantoin) , Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Benzyl Hemiformal , 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol , 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3-Dioxane Diazolidinyl urea, Polyquaternium.
Products with UV filters, mainly sun creams, are very likely to include disruptors such as Benzophenone-1 and Benzophenone-2. Cenphenes and Cinnamates, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. These last ones are used for their ability to protect from the sunlight without leaving a whitish residue on the skin. When we choose a sun protection product, we should avoid chemical filters and, if possible, choose only those products with 100% mineral filters.
In this list, we will also name the Phthalates. These chemicals can be inhaled, ingested, and/or absorbed through the skin. They are usually components of some types of PVC containers used to pack and preserve cosmetics and other personal hygiene products.
An important problem can be found with perfumes used in cosmetic products, many of them we will not be found on the label, since they are treated as a byproduct or a "secret ingredient" of some products, this way, some companies within the industry will take advantage in order not to reveal the full formula of the product.
Unfortunately, current legislation does not require them to be included in the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) when labeling a product, even though they are highly toxic ingredients.
One of the best known is DEP, a product that is used as a solvent, as an enhancer for aromas or other cosmetic ingredients, and DMP (dipropylene glycol methyl ether), which is used in hair sprays, anti-mosquito remedies or perfumes, in order to increase the durability of the scent.
Once we gather all this information, the conclusion we can reach is that we should encourage, whenever possible, the use of 100% natural cosmetics, with chemical-free raw materials.
Nature provides us with a large number of plants that can be transformed into creams, oils, and other types of cosmetics which allow us to take good care of our bodies in the most natural and healthy way possible.
Anjana is a certified and recognized company for the manufacturing of natural cosmetics. We use only 100% natural ingredients, free of chemical substances or of animal origin. We have a firm commitment to our health and the environment. The most advanced technology focused on a more sustainable future and more natural care with the best results.