Are Your Skincare Products Causing Hormone Imbalance?

Endocrine Disruptors: What are They and Why Should You Care?

Before we dive into endocrine disruptors and how skincare products may be the cause of your health problems, we need to know what the endocrine system is, how it works and how it influences your health. We promise this won’t be a mini-biology class, but we want to give you enough information to begin making better choices for you, your body and your loved ones, so let’s get started! After all, knowledge is power.

What is the endocrine system?

The endocrine (EN-duh-krin) system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies, and is made up of glands that excrete hormones into the body. Hormones are the body's chemical messengers which carry information and instructions from one set of cells to another which keep our internal system running smoothly and efficiently. When it’s not, we don’t feel very well and can run into issues like hormone imbalance, PMS, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, weight gain or hypothyroid conditions.

What Does the Endocrine System DO?

Like we mentioned above, the endocrine system regulates how much of each different kind of hormone is released. This can depend on levels of hormones already in the blood or on levels of other substances in the blood. Many things affect hormone levels including stress, infection, changes in the balance of fluid and minerals in blood and synthetic chemical endocrine disruptors.

The endocrine hormones help control mood, growth and development, the way our organs work, metabolism, and reproduction, which means that too much or too little of any hormone can harm the body.

What are endocrine disruptors?

Now that we know what the endocrine system is and how it affects our health, it’s time to dive into the chemical disruptors we find in beauty products that create imabalance in the system.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s) are toxic compounds that wreak HAVOC on our bodies. EDC’s are mostly man-made and they interfere with the body’s endocrine system by having adverse effects on the developmental, reproductive, neurological systems of the body. They can also also have an impact on the immune system. Below is a list of how these man-made chemicals can disrupt endocrine function:

increase and/or decrease production of certain hormones

Imitate hormones

turn one hormone into another

interfere with hormone signals

tell cells to die prematurely

compete with essential nutrients

bind to essential hormones

accumulate in organs that produce hormones

Listed below are five of the eighty-thousand known chemicals used in personal care products. These five are known to be some of the worst endocrine disrupting chemicals. Our recommendation is that you learn to read the labels of your favorite skin care and beauty products, as being informed is the first step to making healthful changes. Then, once armed with knew knowledge, decide to shop and buy products that will support your health - not hurt it. Also, remember that a product that claims to be natural or even organic can still have some, if not all, of these endocrine disruptors. The United Stated does not regulate what goes into personal care products, so learning to be a conscious, smart consumer is paramount!


What to look for on a label:







isopropylparaben and


Parabens are a family of synthetic esters that are widely used as preservatives. They are found in a broad array of skincare products from lotions to body washes and shampoos.

Paraben compounds have been found to negatively affect estrogen levels, potentially impacting female reproductive health.


What to look for on a label:

Diethyl phthalate (DEP)

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

Butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP)

Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)

Dimethyl phthalate (DMP)

Phthalates are a large group of chemicals that are used primarily in industrial processing. Their main function is to soften PVC plastic so that it can be used in a more flexible, malleable form. The second function is as a solvent, meaning it can dissolve substances so that they can be more easily mixed or blended and bind them where they are needed.

Several of the more common ones have been evaluated as highly dangerous and carcinogenic. Women seem to accumulate higher levels of phthalates due to the widespread use of more cosmetics and products that rely on them. This greater exposure translates to greater incidence of cancer and other side effects from phthalate use.


Synthetic fragrance

What to look for on a label:



We all love things that have a pleasing aroma from fresh flowers to ginger snaps baking on a cold winter’s night. Unfortunately, the pleasing scents we often get with our personal care products are made with synthetic chemicals that function as endocrine disruptors. Pleasing scents are only listed as fragrance or perfume on the label, but they are a complex mixture of many chemicals which are not disclosed.

To enjoy a lovely scent during your skincare routine, choose products that are lightly scented with natural essential oils. It can be difficult to tell if a product contains synthetic fragrance or natural essential oils, as both can be listed as fragrance or perfume on a label, but most clean companies will explicitly list that their products do not contain artificial fragrance.


What to look for on the label:

FD&C Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue FCF),

FD&C Blue No. 2 (Indigotine),

FD&C Green No. 3 (Fast Green FCF),

FD&C Red No. 3 (Erythrosine),

FD&C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine), and

FD&C Yellow No. 6 (Sunset Yellow).

Synthetic colorants are often incorporated in cosmetics to make them look pretty. Synthetic colorants are derived from petroleum products and are intended to last for years and years. Some of the chemicals found in synthetic colorants are mercury, lead, chromium, copper, sodium chloride, toluene, and benzene. Exposure to these substances can be toxic and can have severe effects on the endocrine system.

In the United States, FD&C numbers are given to approved synthetic colorants that do not exist in nature.


What to look for on a label:

sodium lauryl sulphate,

ammonium lauryl sulphate

Sodium lauryl sulphate was introduced globally more than 60 years ago as an emulsifier and detergent. Alone, or accompanied by other surfactants, it is found in many cosmetic products, especially shampoos.

Studies on skin irritation of surfactants show that irritation is dependent on the structure of the sulphate. SLS and ALS are anionic detergents, that tend to be more irritating to the skin and eyes in comparison to amphoteric and non-ionic detergents (L. Rhein, 2007).

Their ability to remove stratum corneum lipids means they penetrate the skin deeper into the viable layers and can cause immune reactions (Lémery et al, 2015).

SLS is one of the cheapest and strongest surfactants used in skin care; it is also one of the most irritating.

Both of them are also known to elicit skin reactions such as contact dermatitis and inflammation

What to Use Instead:

Make the switch to more natural and organic options to help safeguard your health for the future. Remember that what we put ON our body can be just as harmful as what we put IN our body.

If you read the label of a skincare product and still aren’t sure if the ingredients listed are safe, you can go to for a complete description the ingredient, including it’s toxicity level.

To learn more, and to find 100% chemical free skincare products you can trust, visit

Ashley Martens Comment