In my first post on ingredients to avoid, I mentioned parabens and sulfates. Here are two more ingredients I’m trying to avoid or use sparingly and some reasons why.
Silicone (and other “cones”)
Silicone emollients are occlusive – that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.)
Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation. Some synthetic emollients are known tumor promoters and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing negative environmental impact.
Anecdotal evidence indicates silicone to be toxic to the human body. For more detailed information on the dangers of silicone simply key “silicone toxicity” into the Google search engine.
Two decades of research suggest that phthalates disrupt hormonal systems, which can cause harm during critical periods of development. Phthalate exposure in pregnant women, as measured by urine samples, has been associated with a shortened distance between the anus and genitals in male babies, indicating a feminization had occurred during genital development. Shorter anogenital distance is characteristic of female sex in both humans and animals. Other research in humans has shown that baby boys exposed to phthalates in breast milk had alterations in their hormone levels.
Other research in adult human males has found exposure to some phthalates is associated with poor sperm quality and infertility. Further research in male animals has shown that exposure to various phthalates causes birth defects of the genitals – such as hypospadias (an abnormal location for the opening of the urethra on the underside of the penis) and undescended or small testicles – resulting in low sperm counts and infertility. Female laboratory animals exposed to phthalates also have been found to have alterations in sex hormones and experience fetal loss.
One of the ways that phthalates interfere with reproductive functioning is by reducing the levels of sex hormones, which are critical for development and functioning of the sex organs. Additional research suggests that these same mechanisms may link phthalates to breast cancer. Phthalates have also been shown to cause proliferation of breast tumor cells and renders anti-estrogen treatments, such as tamoxifen, less effective against tumors.
Stay tuned to see the next installment which will discuss fragrances and nail polish!
(unless otherwise noted, all images are from Google Images)