Twice a month, Yahoo Health’s Hormone Whisperer Alisa Vitti, HHC, is answering the most common questions about hormones and how they relate to weight, sex, acne, bad moods, low energy, and everything in between. Read her introductory column to learn more about Alisa’s approach to stopping hormonal chaos and getting into hormonal flow.
THE QUESTION: Can makeup and cleaning products really mess with my hormones?
ALISA’S ANSWER: Consider this: We are exposed to more chemicals in 30 days than our grandparents were in their entire lifetimes!
Women at every age are especially challenged by this, as the vast majority of these chemicals act like estrogen in the body. That’s where it gets problematic for hormones and hormonal balance. All of these xenoestrogenic (estrogen-mimicking) chemicals disrupt the very delicate balance that keeps ovulation, cycle, fertility, sex drive, skin, mood, and energy optimized. Many of these chemicals come through pesticides on our foods, fertilizers on our lawns, chemicals from the dry cleaners, and — depending on how heavy of a user you are — toxins in our beauty and cleaning products.
We know that this is getting worse for women because younger and younger girls are developing what is called “precocious puberty,” more couples are unable to conceive with no known cause, and increasing numbers of women are getting more cancers of the breast and reproductive organs.
I know — it’s not easy out there for ovaries these days!
The bad news is that we can’t control everything in our environment. The good news is that we absolutely can massively decrease our chemical exposure by the power of the swap. Swap out processed food for fresh organic foods, and choose only natural products to clean your home and put on your skin.
I myself am someone who used to have painful cystic acne all over my face, chest, and back as part of my overall hormone issue. Before I figured out how to fix my hormones, which cleared my skin naturally, I tried every product on the market in the hopes of healing my skin. Many of these potions and lotions had ingredients I couldn’t pronounce and chemicals I couldn’t identify. Then I got wise to what was going on with my hormones — and everything changed!
I want to help you make some product swaps so that you stand a fighting chance of keeping your hormones balanced.
The FLO Science: Endocrine Disruptors In Your Products
There are specific chemicals that are found in your typical drugstore makeup and cleaning products that are bad news. I talk extensively about endocrine disruptors in my book, WomanCode. The big offenders are: sodium laureth sulfates, methyl/propyl parabens, DEA, and petroleum. For even more on this, check out my list of 15 ingredients to avoid in beauty products.
These chemicals disrupt your hormones by increasing the concentration of estrogen in your bloodstream and can worsen symptoms associated with any hormonal imbalance (such as PMS, PCOS, and low sex drive). They also adhere to the estrogen-receptor sites on your cells, sending misinformation throughout the rest of your endocrine conversation — and in turn disrupting ovulation and other processes.
Here’s the true test for these beauty products: If you’re not willing to put a squirt of it on a spoon and eat it, then you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin! In fact, when you eat these potions and lotions, at least they have to pass through the liver and go through its detoxification process before they get into the bloodstream. We know that with some chemicals, when you put them on your skin, they can enter the bloodstream.
The FLO Fix: Make Some Good Swaps
For oily/acne-prone skin: Invest in a good, organic, mineral-based makeup. I particularly like Aveda, Mineral Fusion, and Jane Iredale.
If acne is a big problem, learn what to eat to clear up your skin — more information on that here.
For dry skin/eczema/aging skin: Invest in organic makeup lines such as RMS Beauty, Dr. Hauschka, and Suki.
Toss your perfumey lotions from big-name brands — just a quick peek at the label should say it all. Invest in some good body lotion or oil, or make your own. There’s nothing like a little organic coconut oil year round to keep your skin perfectly moisturized.
And for cleaning products, Seventh Generation has every product you need to clean your home and laundry safely.
Investing in your hormonal well-being will have short-term payoffs — such as a decrease in your PMS and acne, as well as improved energy — and massive long-term benefits — such as safeguarding your fertility and decreasing your cancer risks. If you’re doing yoga, eating your greens, and trying to be healthy, then it’s time to come clean with your products, too! If you’re serious about cleaning up and protecting your hormones, click here to access your free five-day plan.
Good things come in threes: I want to hear from you in the comments!
First, tell me what you’re going to try from my prescription above, and why.
Second, what are your top health questions for me, your trusty Hormone Whisperer? Your question could be featured in my column!
Need more hormone help? If you’re cranky and can’t lose weight, it’s time you started looking into what’s going on with your hormones. I’ve designed a quiz to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to optimal hormonal balance so that you can get the body you want. Sign up here to get your quiz!
ABOUT ALISA: Alisa Vitti, HHC, is an integrative nutritionist, best-selling author of WomanCode, creator of the WomanCode System, and the founder of FLOLiving.com, a virtual health center that supports women’s hormonal and reproductive health. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Alisa has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, has a web series on Lifetime, and has been a regular contributor for CBS, Fox, Shape, Women’s Health, MindBodyGreen, and the Huffington Post. She’s also presented at TEDx, Talks@Google, Summit Series Outside, Hay House, WIE Symposium, and SHE Summit.