Detoxing is a healthful way to cleanse your dietary tract, but do you know how healthful it can be to detox from your personal care products from time to time? A study conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinicia de Salud del Valle Salinas in California showed how taking just a three-day “detox” from your daily shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, and other personal care products can lead to an impressive bodily decline in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals.
A list of common chemicals found in personal care products were tested and evaluated in 100 Latina teenagers before the 72-hour detox began. Among some common chemicals, levels of phthalates, oxybenzone, triclosan and parabens were measured in the teen girls. These four particular chemicals are found in nearly all conventionally made soaps, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens, cosmetics, lotions, deorodants, hair care products and other skincare products. Numerous animal studies have found a direct correlation of their interference with the body’s endocrine system – the hormone system that regulates metabolism, tissue function, growth and development, sexual function and fertility, sleep, and mood, along with other important bodily regulations.
The endocrine system affects almost every cell and organ in the body.
Given the fact that women and teenaged girls are the largest consumer group of cosmetics and personal care products that contain harmful chemicals which can affect many bodily functions, including reproduction, researchers wanted to learn more about the benefits of cutting back on daily chemical exposures, if any.
They were pleasantly surprised to find that after a three-day detoxing period of those 100 Latina teens, urine analysis showed a 45% drop in propyl parabens, 27% drop in diethyl parabens, and a 36% drop in triclosan and benzonphenone-3 (BP-3).
That’s great news for many reasons, but most notably, it shows promise that the body can flush out harmful chemicals from beauty products relatively faster than we’d expect.
What can you do to limit your exposure for good?
Reading product labels is the easiest way you can limit your exposure to harmful chemicals. But, sometimes (unfortunately, more often than not) you won’t find every ingredient listed on the backs of product labels.
This could be because a company is trying to protect their “trade secret” as many perfume manufacturers do. Another reason not every ingredient may be listed on the backs of product labels is because there is no federal law forcing companies to be transparent with their consumers about what ingredients they use, so many choose simply not to include every ingredient for whatever reason they might have.
Is there anything else you can do?
Yes, make your voice heard with your dollar. Buy better made beauty care products from companies that transparently disclose all of their ingredients to you. Make sure to stay away from “greenwashing” companies. These companies often use words like, “natural” or “organic” but these words in most cases where essential oils aren’t the topic are often meaningless.
Be sure to check out what the good folks at Environmental Working Group are doing to inform consumers with their Skindeep Database – an online resource available for free that tests and assigns safety ratings of over 64,000 personal care products based on their ingredients.
Lastly, get involved in your local communities and support groups advocating for more cosmetic laws and regulations to be passed at the federal level. Chemical exposure via beauty products affects everyone of us.