Would you put gasoline, liquid plastic, formaldehyde, or tar on your face? Of course not! But, if you’re using most popular skin care products (or even some so-called “natural” skin care products), there’s a chance you’re applying shocking ingredients like these to your face, not only affecting your skin but other parts of your body such as your thyroid. These potentially toxic components are often hidden on skin care product labels, and most people don’t know where or how to look for them.
In my USA Today and Amazon best-selling book Clean Skin From Within I go over TWENTY harmful skin care ingredients you should avoid, but, today I want to cover a few that are particularly worrisome for people with thyroid disease.
Many of these ingredients are known to cause endocrine disrupting effects, including thyroid disturbance, yet they are hidden under different names on product labels so we aren’t always aware that they are in our products. Here are the top five ingredients to avoid, some of the other names they can be found under, and what effect they have on your thyroid.
How Your Thyroid Reacts to These Skin Care Ingredients
Fragrances can contain a number of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are among the top five allergens in the world. Studies demonstrate the relationship between EDCs and conditions such as thyroid problems, diabetes, infertility, early puberty, obesity, early menopause, and even some types of cancer. It is one of the first things you should look to avoid in your skin care products.One of the EDCs often found in fragrance that is the biggest concern is diethyl phthalate (DEP). DEP is used to increase how long the smells in your products last. In a recent clinical study in Korea, it was found that several phthalates and BPA exposures were associated with lowered total T4 or T3 (thyroid hormones), or increased thyroid stimulating hormone (THS) levels.
Parabens may also be labeled methylparaben, benzylparaben, butylparaben, or propylparaben. They tend to be found in personal care products being used as preservatives.Parabens are absorbed through the skin through our skin care products and are known to have hormone-disrupting effects. In terms of the direct impact on your thyroid, this ingredient can be more harmful for women. One study found that adults who had higher levels of parabens in their urine had lower thyroid hormone levels. This correlation was stronger among women in the study. Another study showed that during pregnancy, parabens in women were associated with altered thyroid hormone and reproductive levels.
The Environmental Working Group did a study of teenage girls, and 100% of the participants tested positive for two parabens: propylparaben and methylparaben. This is scary considering the harmful effects specifically on women.
- HEAVY METALS
Several heavy metals such as lead, mercury, aluminum, and arsenic are often present in skin care products. Often these metals are present due to the contamination of other ingredients and not directly added themselves. Therefore, they may not show up on the ingredient label. This is one reason it is so important to choose skin care products that include only organic, clean ingredients.The accumulation of heavy metals in the body over time can cause a number of health issues, and specifically can have a major effect on your thyroid function. The body confuses heavy metals with iodine, which the thyroid uses to make thyroid hormone. So it will bring metals, such as mercury, up into the thyroid instead of iodine. This then leads to iodine deficiency and thyroid dysfunction.
Heavy metals that sometimes DO show up on product labels include: lead acetate, calomel, thimerosal, mercurio, or mercurio chloride. Definitely avoid these if possible.
- TRICLOSAN AND TRICLOCARBAN
Triclosan is often used as an antimicrobial agent in personal care products such as soaps, hand sanitizers, or wipes. This usage has become so widespread that the CDC found them in the urine of 75% of people tested. In the same study that found the correlation between paraben levels and altered thyroid hormone levels, it was also found that same correlation to exist with Triclosan exposures. It’s best to avoid exposure to either of these ingredients.Since Triclosan has been linked to the development of antibacterial resistance and hormone disruption, on top of altering Thyroid levels, the American Academy of Microbiology has stated that soap and water work just as well for hand washing. No need to put harmful chemicals on your skin to kill the bacteria on your skin.
- OXYBENZONE (BENZOPHENONE)
Oxybenzone is a type of benzophenone that is found in many sunscreens, lip balms, hair sprays, and cosmetics. Benzophenones (BPs) are UV filters so they help prevent potential damage from sunlight exposure. On the surface this sounds like a good thing but research shows that BPs have shown disrupting effects to the thyroid hormone receptor and can also inhibit the activity of thyroid peroxidase (TPO).Benzophenone (BP)-type UV filters are found in many sunscreens, lip balms, and other products with SPF, and these chemicals have been shown in research to have hormone-disrupting effects.Specifically with thyroid, research shows BPs have exhibited disrupting effects towards thyroid hormone receptor, and BPs can also inhibit the activity of thyroid peroxidase (TPO). In 2008, the CDC reported that Oxybenzone was found in the urine of 97 percent of people tested, so we know it’s easily absorbed and thus should be avoided in our skin care products.
Other chemicals often found in sunscreen products that we should look to avoid are octinoxate and homosalate.
The Spa Dr. Product Line
It’s such a challenge to find products that don’t contain many of these harmful skin care ingredients that are often hidden under different names. I developed my own skin care line that is clean, organic, and non-toxic, without any hidden harmful ingredients. The Daily Essentials Skin Care system was designed to cleanse, nourish, protect and revitalize your skin and is suitable for all skin types. If you use these products, you can rest assured that you are not putting anything onto your skin that is going to cause thyroid or hormone disruptions.