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The global cosmetics industry is a $600 billion a year industry, yet the regulations are very loose. Thousands of chemicals are put into our everyday personal care products, yet manufacturers are not obligated to disclose them. Only when a problem arises (usually someone sues because of the health impacts they’re experiencing), does regulation call for disclosure of these chemicals. Studies have shown that the same chemicals used in plastics, building materials and embalming fluid are found in products we put on our skin, and even in our mouths. Most of these chemicals are known endocrine disruptors, greatly affecting our health and even causing cancer.

What is an endocrine disruptor?

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic hormones or interfere with the hormonal system, the endocrine system. This system is made up of glands and organs that produce hormones that carry out our everyday functions throughout our body and brain. The endocrine system is responsible for insulin production, melatonin production, metabolism, estrogen, progesterone and sperm production. This intricate dance between these organs is what controls our fertility, reproduction, growth, development, metabolism and sleep, basically EVERYTHING our bodies do for us.

Your skin is your largest organ, and what you apply to it is absorbed into your bloodstream and throughout your body. When these chemicals are absorbed, they can cause early puberty in children, fertility issues in women, thyroid dysfunction, weight gain, and can include breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. 

It’s not so much the small amounts of chemicals in the body lotion you’re applying, but it’s the build up of these chemicals that can cause problems. 


PHTHALATES: Found in fragrance and make up. Phthalaytes alter sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, can cause early puberty and menstruation and lower sperm count. 

PARABENS: A preservative found in makeup and cosmetics. Parabens mimic estrogen, affecting fertility, reproductive development. Parabens can be measured in breast tissue!

PFAs and PFCs: Chemicals that are used in non-stick products like teflon and food wrappers are also found in hair care products, sunscreen, shampoo and shaving cream. These cause thyroid issues and cancers.

LEAD, ARSENIC, MERCURY AND ALUMINUM: Can be found in lipstick, teeth whitening products, eye liner, nail polish and deodorant. These heavy metals are neurotoxins, harming the nervous system and can cause reproductive issues.

TRICLOSAN: An antimicrobial, antibacterial agent found in soap, toothpaste and deodorant. Affects thyroid function.

FORMALDEHYDE: A chemical used in building products and in embalming fluid is also found in nail polish, eyelash glue, and hair straightening products. It is a well known carcinogen and has been banned in most products but manufacturers use other forms of it (known as formaldehyde releasers) and give these chemicals different names: BRONOPOL, DMDM HYDANTOIN, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, QUATERNIUM-15


The good news? You CAN detox the body pretty quickly by incorporating a few practices. 

  • COQ10 supplements
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Filtered and purified water 
  • Infrared Sauna
  • Dry Brushing
  • Lymphatic drainage massage

Switch your products! My favorite clean, nontoxic products:

  • Ilia
  • RMS Beauty
  • Bite
  • Kosas
  • Kjaer Weis
  • Tower 28
  • Thrive Causemetics
  • Juice Beauty
  • !00% Pure
  • True Botanicals
  • Herbivore
  • Tata Harper
  • Drunk Elephant
  • Sunday Riley
  • Youth to the People
  • Necessaire
  • Skin and Senses
  • Herbivore
  • Cocokind
  • Osea
  • Routine
  • Native
  • Drunk Elephant
  • Corpus
  • Ursa Major
  • Agent Nateur
  • Schmidts
  • Dr. Bronner’s 
  • Hello
  • Jason
  • Tom’s 
  • David’s

A great resource for learning about your products: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/


Some additional information to help you better understand the endocrine system.


  • HYPOTHALAMUS gland – controls water balance, sleep, temperature, appetite and blood pressure (brain)
  • PITUITARY gland 
  • PINEAL – produces melatonin (brain)
  • THYROID – controls metabolism and calcium balance
  • THYMUS gland – produces white blood cells to fight infection
  • ADRENAL gland – produces corticosteroid hormones and epinephrine, maintain blood pressure and regulate metabolism
  • PANCREAS – produces insulin to regulate blood sugar, as well as controls digestion
  • OVARIES – produce estrogen and progesterone, as well as eggs for reproduction
  • TESTIS – produce testosterone and sperm


Ivey Leidy @livingwithivey

?Integrative Health Coach, INHC
?Certified Nutrition Expert
?Certified Gut Health Expert

GLW Contributors - Professionals in their field. Contributing to Girls Living Well their knowledge, experience and advice.

Comments (2)

  1. Why haven’t you included Beautycounter in this list. ?! They are one of the only company’s that is taking on the US government to change these laws?? They made an appearance in front of congress last December to initiate a cosmetics reform Bill.

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