Trying to Conceive? | Avoid These 10 Toxic Ingredients
When we begin planning for a baby, we know we need to make some lifestyle changes, such as eating better, limiting alcohol and caffeine, quitting smoking, taking folic acid and prenatal vitamins. But...most women don't think about changing up their beauty routine.
We live in a chemically drenched world. After years of struggling with infertility and miscarriage, I made the switched to safer beauty and household cleaning supplies and here is why you should too.
Our skin is our biggest organ. After applying beauty products to our skin, it takes only 26 seconds for those ingredients to enter our blood stream. Just 26 seconds!
Growing research on infertility is proving that chemicals have a direct side effect on women's (and men's) fertility. It's no secret that cosmetics are full of chemicals. So it makes sense that these chemicals found in our bodies are a direct correlation to our fertility.
It's not just lotions and cosmetics - these chemicals are in nail polish, perfumes, antibacterial soaps, retinols, and more.
According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, between personal care products, perfumes, cosmetics, and feminine hygiene products - the average woman applies 9 personal care products to their bodies and faces each day, containing an average of 168 chemicals! While men use fewer products, they are exposed to approximately 85 chemicals per day. Teens use an average of 17 products per day, exposing them to even more!
Some of these chemicals are harmless, but others are endocrine disruptors or carcinogens. Many of which have not been reviewed for safety before hitting the shelves - there has been no regulation over the ingredients in beauty products by the Federal Drug Administration since 1938! S.C.A.R.Y!!!
If you are trying to conceive, being aware of the ingredients in your beauty routine is essential.
See below for 10 ingredients you should definitely avoid if you’re trying to get pregnant:
BHA and BHT
Found in Lipstick, Eyeshadow, Moisturizers, Face Powder, Blush, Diaper Creams
BHA is a waxy solid commonly used as an antioxidant and preservative in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Studies have surfaced that high exposure to BHT and BHA may disrupt both the male and female reproductive systems. It can lower testosterone and the thyroid hormone thyroxin. Parabens( propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, and isobutyl-)
Found in Body Wash, Body Lotions, Shampoos and Conditioners, Facial Cleaners, Foundations
Parabens mimic estrogen, the hormone responsible for the development and regulation of female reproductive system. It’s no joke - studies have revealed that constant exposure to certiain paraben types while pregnant can actually cause behavioral changes and anxiety in your future children.
Ethanolamines (diethanolamine [DEA], monoethanolamine [MEA], and triethanolamine [TEA])
Found in Soap, Shampoos and Conditioners, Hair Dyes, Body Lotions, Shaving Cream, Eyeliner, Mascara, Eye Shadow, Foundations, Fragrance, and Sunscreen
There’s evidence these are a human skin toxicant. Numerous studies have classified them as respiratory and organ toxicants to the fetus.
Found in Hairspray, Fragrances (Perfumes and Colognes), Scented Deodorants, and Nail Polish
Phthalates are often masked under fragrance or parfum. Manufacturers hide behind these words b/c they are not required to list the ingredients in "fragrance" or "parfum"! Crazy! Fragrance mixtures can be comprised of dozens, even hundreds, of individual chemicals, and those don’t have to be listed on the label. I avoid all fragrance unless it’s natural, such as from pure essential oils, as it can cause hormone disruption for both women and men. A study has proven that phthalates can also increase the risk of miscarriage.
Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasers
(quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, bronopol, or imidazolidinyl urea)
Found in Nail Polish, Hair Dye, Hair Straightener, False Eyelash Adhesive, and some Shampoo
Nearly one in five cosmetic products contains a substance that generates formaldehyde, which is linked to causing cancer and can be passed in utero.
Mineral Oil and Petroleum
(also called Petrolatum, Petroleum jelly, and Paraffin Oil)
Found in Cleaners, Moisturizers, and Foundations
Mineral oil and Petroleum are the basic ingredients in many cosmetic products today. A huge health concern with Petroleum products is that they can contain an 1,4-dioxane. This impurity, found in 22 per cent of all petroleum-based cosmetics, has been found to cause cancer in animals. I could not find any studies about what Petroleum does during pregnancy, but in my research many IVF clinics advise patients to avoid.
Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, and Homosalate
Found in Sunscreen, Face and Body Creams, Hair Products, Perfumes and Colognes (Fragrance), Lipstick, and Nail Polish
These are commonly known ingredients in sunscreen. In studies, Octinoxate is associated with photoallergic reaction and known to affect the structure of both male and female reproductive organs. High exposure to Oxybenzone is linked to reduced egg production, low sperm count and male infertility, early puberty in girls, and an increase in hormone-related cancers in men and women. Research also show Oxybenzone can build up in fatty tissues and is linked to allergic reactions. A recent study revealed Oxybenzone was found in the urine of 97 percent of people tested, so we know it’s easily absorbed.
Hydroquinone (or tocopheryl acetate) and other Skin Lighteners
Found in Cleansers, Moisturizers, and Skin-Lightening Products. Illegally imported skin lighteners can also contain Mercury.
High levels of Mercury. Babies exposed to Mercury can have brain damage, hearing and vision problems.
This can cause a skin disease called ochronosis with ‘disfiguring and irreversible’ blue-black lesions on exposed skin, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns. In addition, Hydroquinone has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.
Found in Soap, Antibacterial Soap, Shaving Cream, and Toothpaste
The substances are an endocrine disruptor, meaning they can disturbs thyroid, testosterone, and estrogen regulation, which can create a host of issues including early puberty, poor sperm quality, infertility, obesity, and cancer.
According to studies, these chemicals are so widespread, they were found in the urine of 75 per cent of people tested.
Resorcinol (or 1,3-benzenediol, Resorcin, 1,3-dihydroxybenzene, m-hydroxybenze, m-dihydroxyphenol)
Found in Hair Dye, Shampoos, and certain Acne and Eczema Peels
Used in the production of tires, it is a known skin irritant and allergen. Some research also suggests it’s toxic to the immune system, and animal studies have linked exposure to this ingredient with thyroid disruption which is associated with miscarriage.
Scary stuff, huh?!
These are just a few of the harmful hormone disrupting and cancer causing ingredients we find in our beauty products. After learning about the impact that my skincare and makeup products had on my fertility, I switched to safer. One brand that I trust that has taken the effort to eliminate over 1500 potentially harmful chemicals is Beautycounter. I love the products, which is why I became a Beautycounter consultant. However, there are many other non-toxic beauty brands that I have grown fond of and I will share those with you on the blog as well.
I recommend looking up your products in EWG's skindeep database. Swap out the toxic products for safer as soon as you can!
If you have any questions about Beautycounter or need recommendations for other safer beauty brands, let me know!