Endocrine Disruptors & Clean Product Guide for a Better Period
ByKatarina Meister, ND •December 21, 2022
Think about how many different cosmetic or personal care products you use in one day… it probably is more than 10. Think about all the different chemicals in each of those that you are exposing yourself on the daily. Most of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that either mimic or block endocrine actions. This can cause changes in how a person creates and metabolizes hormones. Endocrine disruptors have been found to disrupt fertility in humans, reducing the number of mature eggs and the number of eggs released following ovarian stimulation. Heavy metals in particular, such as arsenic, lead, and mercury have been associated with uterine fibroids. Another example includes parabens, which are used as antimicrobial preservatives in personal care products and different foods. Parabens have been associated with shortened menstrual cycles and reduced follicle count. Simply put, endocrine disruptor chemicals are found everywhere.
If you have ever tested your hormones, then you might recall a strict removal of your personal care products on the day of testing. This is because they can interact with testing. I have seen even the most harmless-looking products such as lotion alter results on a hormone test. If you are looking to balance your hormones, then you should start by looking at your environment and the chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis.
Below is a list of the most used products that touch your skin daily that may be rich in these endocrine disruptors. If you are just starting to clean out your home, prioritize getting clean products in these areas first! Start by switching one product at a time. Once a product is empty replace it with a clean one! See examples below and brands for ideas. Visit the EWG website for a full list of different brands. I also recommend scanning your products with EWG Healthy Living App. Ideally, your products should be in the green zone of the EWG scale, or EWG-approved (See their approval process here).
- Start with your laundry detergent! Your clothes are touching your skin 24hrs a day and we absorb most chemicals through our skin. Opt for chemical-free, biodegradable laundry detergent. I like branch basics, or Aspen Clean brands both are EWG approved.
- Avoid parabens in shampoo, again think about how many times you wash your hair. Especially if you experience hormonal hair loss, getting a good quality shampoo is a must – I like everyone 3 in 1 soap and Attitude brands both EWG approved.
- Other ingredients to avoid in shampoo you can find here.
- Choose Clean Makeup/Skincare brands like Beautycounter, Kora Organics, Juice beauty, Honest Beauty – find more on EWG Skin Deep and search their cosmetic database. *It is important to check all products – even if they come from a reputable brand it doesn’t equal clean!
- Avoid “Forever Chemicals” in your feminine products, even in period underwear! Here is a study that linked many feminine products containing chemicals linked to health harms, including reproductive problems, damage to the nervous system and cancer. How to Choose clean feminine products:
- Skip the period underwear until more data is found. Thinx was found to have large amounts of PFAS even though they advertise their products as “nontoxic, harmless, sustainable, organic, and otherwise safe for women and the environment.” PFAS stands for polyfluoroalkyl substances which are linked to cancer, reproductive problems and endocrine disruption (aka hormone imbalance).
- Skip the scented feminine products! ‘Fragrance’ is usually a cocktail of chemicals that can throw your hormones off. Brands like Always and Kotex use them frequently in their products.
- Choose a reusable menstrual cup made of silicon such as Diva Cup, Organicup, Cora Cup, and Saalt Cup. Or choose Flex Disc – which is similar to a menstrual cup but more comfortable, which helps for heavier menstrual flows.
- Pads and Tampons that are organic and chlorine free: Honest Company, Honey Pot, and Cora Organics. See a full list on Better Goods.
- Clean deodorant without parabens or aluminum salts is a must! This is important due to the location of your underarm being close to lymphatic tissue and near your breast tissue. Some research shows that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants may have estrogen-like effects and may contribute to breast cancer.
- Choose a refillable deodorant by Beautycounter or Think which are both EWG Approved.
- Other brands include Schmidt’s or Native (Both are low hazard on the EWG Scale, rated 1) which you can find at most stores like Target.
If you want to get to the root cause of your hormone problems, I often recommend a Dutch test, which can tell us how you metabolize your hormones, and if you can properly detox them. Detox is a crucial step when we consider balancing our hormones!
Continue reading about how to balance your hormones naturally through seed cycling, in this next post.
Darbre PD. Underarm antiperspirants/deodorants and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research 2009; 11 Suppl 3:S5. doi: 1186/bcr2424
Darbre PD. Aluminium, antiperspirants and breast cancer. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 2005; 99(9):1912–1919. [PubMed Abstract]
Gao CJ, Kannan K. Phthalates, bisphenols, parabens, and triclocarban in feminine hygiene products from the United States and their implications for human exposure. Environ Int. 2020 Mar;136:105465. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105465. Epub 2020 Jan 13. PMID: 31945693.
Nicole W. A Question for Women’s health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene products and personal Lubricants. Environ Health Perspect. 2014;122(3). doi:10.1289/ehp.122-A70
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.