In part two of this topic, we will discuss how you can avoid pesky endocrine disruptors in your skincare products.

In part one, The Surprising Relationship Between Our Skin and Our Hormones, we learned that hormones can do crazy things to your skin. (Remember puberty? Ugh.)

But, hormones can also be magical for your skin if you take extra good care of them.

One way you can do this is by   avoiding endocrine disruptors, also known as hormone-altering chemicals that interfere with the body’s natural functions.

“There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.”

Pretty wild right? Endocrine disruptors can enter the body through contact with chemicals in our food, air, and water. These chemicals can also enter the body transdermally, or in other words, through the skin via skincare products. 

But how do they get in skincare products? 

Believe it or not, “The U.S. government doesn't review the toxicity of products before they're sold. Companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish without regard for how safe they are.”

Here are a few common endocrine disruptors that can be found in many personal care products:

  • Parabens

Examples of how they show up on labels: Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Benzylparaben, Methylparaben

  • Phthalates (often labeled as “fragrance” or “parfum”)
  • Plastics

Consider the packaging the product comes in as it can contain chemicals such as BPA or Bisphenol-A without requiring the company to disclose it on the label. 

(Shout out to KOSSMA for using recycled glass bottles for their skincare products and shipping orders with eco-friendly recycled packaging, no plastics.) 

Read more on Environmental Working Group (EWG) research on  the “Dirty Dozen” endocrine disruptors.  

How can I avoid endocrine disruptors? 

The fact that you are reading an article about the effects of endocrine disruptors in skincare products means you likely know a thing or two about natural health. You’ve seen the “all-natural” or “plant-based” or even the good ol’ “made with organic ingredients” labels. 

What is concerning though is that many of us in the world of natural health might be missing an even bigger elephant in the bottle. 

The “elephant in the bottle” that I’m referring to is endocrine disruptors. 

For example, one of the most common ingredients in today’s skincare products is listed as “fragrance.” This is a hidden phthalate and one of the sneakiest endocrine disruptors that is not labeled as such. 

So what are we to do to safeguard our hormones that have such a significant relationship with our skin?  We can read our labels, specifically the ingredients  so we know what we are putting on our skin. This one habit can help avoid the potential harm of endocrine disruptors listed above. 

We often see the non-GMO, organic, or all natural labels on the front of the bottle. However, the elephant in the bottle is more likely to be in the list of ingredients on the back of the bottle. If you don’t know what an ingredient is you can: 

  1. Search the product on  EWG’s Skin Deep database
    B. Contact the company and ask
  2. Do your own research 

Luckily there are companies out there, like  KOSSMA, that have sealed their vows to natural health and committed to hormone friendly skincare.

Let’s take a look at one of KOSSMA’s products so we can practice reading labels.

KOSSMA  Chamomile Herb Cleansing Gel

Natural Ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, EcoCert Decyl Glucoside, EcoCert Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Vegetable Glycerin (and) Organic Cucumis sativa (Cucumber) Extract (and) Organic Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile) Extract, Panthenol (ProVitamin B5), EcoCert Gluconolactone, Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Xanthamonas campestris (Xanthan) Gum, EcoCert Sodium Benzoate

KOSSMA clearly notes the common name of each ingredient in parentheses. With other skincare brands and products, this is not always the case. Many ingredients are long, hard to say, scientific words without indication of where they are derived from. 

Most importantly, at KOSSMA we pride ourselves on full transparency and no added fragrances disguised as phthalates. The only fragrances you’ll notice are the naturally occurring aromas from the botanical ingredients as seen above. 

It may feel overwhelming to check every label and even harder to avoid every endocrine-disrupting chemical. That’s why we did the work and created hormone friendly skincare.