There is a saying – a cautionary warning to food cravers and dieters; “a minute on the lips – a lifetime on the hips”. But may this idiom extend beyond the chocolate biscuits or that tempting desert to the lipstick you are wearing or the chocolate-scented shower gel you use.
Certain ingredients in beauty products contain ‘hidden fats’ that are absorbed through the skin but for me the dangerous ones are those known to alter your hormonal and endocrine systems and change how you accumulate and store fats.
Here’s a sneaky peek at two. The two you are probably exposed to every day.
Parabens are chemical shelf-life extenders that feature in an array of cosmetic and toiletry products; from moisturizers, lipstick, foundation and concealer to makeup removers, deodorants, shaving foam, toothpaste and shampoo. There are many types but notably Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben and Parahydroxybenzoate are used / identified in your cosmetic ingredient list.
The problem with parabens is their xenoestrogenic effect – meaning that they are shaped quite like oestrogen and once absorbed into the body they end up filling up receptors located in your cells normally reserved for real oestrogen – the consequence being that other neurotransmitters and glands mistakenly start relaying messages and making adjustments based on the presence of what they assume is real oestrogen.
That ‘excess oestrogen’ can be implicated in estrogen driven cancers, early puberty, complications in menopause and issues with both male and female fertility but also in insulin resistance and weight gain. Just like real Oestrogen, these parabens acting as false hormones can promote additional fat accumulation around the hips and thighs.
Phthalates are chemical agents utilized as plasticizers, solvents and fixatives to maintain a products consistency. They feature predominantly in perfumes, nail polish and hair spray but also in body washes, soaps, shampoo and even moisturizers. The side of the box may note dimethylphthalate (DMP), or diethylphthalate (DEP) but there are more.
Phthalates are considered “obesogens” – yes cause obesity. They do this by tricking the body into fat storage via a disruption of the normal hormonal activities of the body and subsequent impact upon the endocrine system. Phthalates do not act like oestrogen, rather they act to block androgens (male hormones) which can allow oestrogen dominance to occur and the fat accumulation associated with that – but decreased androgens can also be implicated in insulin resistance and so prompt a higher risk for weight gain and diabetes.
To discover more about harmful chemicals in your cosmetic and toiletries and explore solutions to avoid those products – check out my book ‘Beauty treatments from the garden’
all online book retailers and good bookstores.