Like most women I know, I’d always assumed that all those lovely lotions, potions, creams, and cosmetics I’d been using since my teens were perfectly safe to slather on wherever I thought they could do the most good. Never did I consider that their magical skin smoothing, lip plumping, eye enhancing, teeth whitening powers could actually be hazardous to my health!
When I finally woke up to the harsh realities and started digging into the subject, I was shocked to learn that many of my favorite personal care products were loaded with potent chemicals called “xeno estrogens” (xeno meaning foreign or unnatural).
These chemicals have the power to disrupt our hormones and cause roller coaster symptoms of imbalance.
I was astounded to discover that there was asbestos in my blusher, parabens in my eyeshadow, plastic softener in my shampoo, and lead in my lipstick! And to make matters worse, it turns out these hidden ingredients are largely unregulated by the FDA, even though environmental medicine has established that they disturb the delicate hormone balance within each of us to ill effect. (So much for blind faith!)
In her brilliant book, The Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert, Ph.D. (neuroscientist/discoverer of the opiate receptor in the brain) says, “Only recently have we gotten the hard proof that the accumulation of these toxins in our bodies chronically stimulates our estrogen and testosterone receptors, putting them into a state of overdrive and leading to cancer.” (Note: at least 11 different xenohormones have been identified in the milk of injected cows!)
If that weren’t enough, many scientists would tell you that all these environmental toxins are actually making our immune systems less resilient! So what can we do? Become informed! Start with the facts, learn what you can do to reduce your exposure to these harmful toxins.
How Do Xenos Impact Hormone Levels?
By “binding” or attaching themselves to the receptor sites of target tissues in the body, xenos barge in to the actual cell machinery, mimicking and over-stimulating the activity of the hormones that govern our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Xenos are major contributors to hidden hormone imbalances, estrogen dominance in particular, are associated with low-thyroid complications, and elevated risks for breast cancer.
The unhappy result is an ongoing assault on our hard-won hormonal balance.
What Products Are They In?
Lipstick: Studies have found heavy metals, including lead, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, and other toxins deemed hazardous by the CDC in a random sampling of lip products used by women of all ages. Given the fact that lead accumulates in the body and is dangerous even in tiny doses, the estimates that the average woman eats 10 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime are particularly concerning!
Skin Creams: Have been found to contain mercury, a particularly nasty toxin that can build up in body tissues causing tremors, memory loss, vision and/or hearing problems, and other lethal aspects of mercury poisoning.
Beef, Pork, Poultry and Dairy: Are routinely injected with synthetic growth hormones like RBST (aka xenos) that fatten up cattle and in the process, humans. Eating these foods can cause major imbalances such as estrogen dominance.
To name a few more: Plastic bottles made of polycarbonates leach into the liquid we drink. Canned foods often have BPA in the lining. Dry cleaning, artificially scented deodorizers and air fresheners are packed with phthalates, xenochemicals used to soften plastics – shower curtains too!
What Can You Do About It?
Become your own detective of the xenos lurking in everyday products. Look for “hormone-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, BPA-free, GMO-free” natural brands. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on a label, reject it! Go green, eco-friendly, organic wherever possible. You can also use the Skin Deep app from the Environmental Working Group, and the Think Dirty App for help finding the best non-toxic products.
Call Your Congresswoman/Man
It’s hard to believe, but FDA law governing the surveillance of the $70 billion dollar beauty industry has not been updated since it was first enacted in 1938! That’s nearly 80 years ago, long before parabens, BPA, and plastic softeners took up permanent residence in our personal care products! This begs the question: how much can we rely on our federal surveillance agencies to ensure that our (genetically modified, additive rich, hormone-injected) foods and products are actually safe to swallow? Call your congress person and demand new legislation to update lax laws governing the safety and surveillance of our personal care products.
It may feel overwhelming to imagine swapping out all your products for non toxic brands – but you certainly don’t need to do it all at once! Focus on products you’re running low on, and use the Think Dirty and Skin Deep apps to find the best swap outs to replace them.
And if that’s still too much, focus on simply becoming more MINDFUL of the food you’re consuming, what you’re drinking out of, what you’re touching and putting on your skin. The first step is awareness — then you can move to action!
If you’re interested in diving deeper into your own hormone balance, you can receive $100 off any (at-home) hormone test kit + consultation packages from Your Hormone Balance using code YELLOWCO.