By Lisa Petty

Erlenmeyer Flask with Red LiquidYou’ll recall that xenoestrogens in petrochemicals found in some beauty care products can have dangerous consequences for your health. Let’s continue our investigation of a few of them:

The parabens are a bunch of chemicals distinguished by their first names, the most common being butyl, ethyl, methyl, and propyl. Parabens are used extensively as preservatives in everything from shampoos to moisturizers. They are readily absorbed into our bodies from the skin and the intestinal tract and typically do not cause skin sensitivities or allergic reactions. In fact, it is their non-irritating quality that makes parabens so popular—and ultimately why they are a cause for concern because we are constantly exposed to them.{ Although generally regarded as safe, multiple studies show that parabens exert a weak estrogenic activity that affects both men and women.

Studies show that all four parabens listed above, along with isopropylparaben and isobutylparaben, stimulate the growth of the breast-cancer-causing MCF-7 cells. Of these, butylparaben is the most potent, and these parabens have also been found intact in the human breast. This isn’t information that we can ignore. And, of course, I can’t leave out the men. Studies show that parabens adversely affect testosterone and the proper functioning of the male reproductive system.

Mineral Oil
Ah, finally, I hear you sigh, an ingredient I’ve heard of and can pronounce. Unfortunately, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Mineral oil is a stable lubricant and emollient oil derived from crude oil, and it’’ used because it’s cheap and plentiful. You may also be surprised to learn that, according to the 10th edition of the Report on Carcinogens (2002), it has been classified as a carcinogen. As a petrochemical product, mineral oil may contain xenoestrogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Leave it on the shelf.

While it’s true that xenobiotics appear in very small quantities in each of our personal-care products, studies show that combining xenoestrogens has an additive effect and do impact your hormones. Remember that this isn’t an exhaustive exposé on toxins in beauty care products. You owe it to your health to get informed!

Stay tuned for the next edition in the series If Looks Could Kill for practical tips to help you boost your healthy, natural beauty.

About This Guest Blogger

Lisa PettyExcerpted from Living Beauty: Feel Great, Look Fabulous & Live Well (©2006 Fitzhenry & Whiteside) by Lisa Petty.

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