Having happy hormones is a vital component of good health. However, far too many women today are experiencing fertility issues and hormonal imbalances. While these issues have become increasingly common knowledge, what many people are not aware of is that exposing yourself to the chemicals in conventional skincare can be a prime culprit in disrupting hormones and having an adverse impact on fertility.
According to the experts, if you want to prevent having difficulty starting a family or other hormone-related health problems, you may indeed want to take a closer look at your beauty routine.
“When it comes to fertility, what we put on our body is just as important as what we are putting inside it. Choosing skincare which is toxin-free is critical to ensure we maximize our chances of healthy fertility and the best pregnancy possible,” advises naturopath Anna Mitsios, who founded the Edible Beauty Australia pure skincare line when she was working at a fertility clinic and noticed the lack of options available that were safe for women planning a family.
The first step is to make the effort to look at the ingredients list of every product you are putting on your skin so you can understand and remove common culprits. “My ultra-easy method to choosing pure products is to make sure the ingredients can be easily read and understood,” says Mitsios. This means if it has long, chemical-sounding items or numbers, it’s probably not the best product to be putting on your body.
And the science is there to prove it. According to studies, we can be absorbing over 60 percent of the ingredients that we put on our skin, the largest organ in our body, which is also very permeable. This means that the products you apply topically can penetrate through the skin barrier and into the blood, where any toxins present may contribute to hormone disruption, as well as lowered immunity, allergies or intolerances, and other health issues caused by toxin overload.
It’s something that should definitely be sounding alarm bells to those planning to conceive and have a smooth pregnancy. One of the key ingredients commonly found in mainstream skincare products are perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Contact with PFCs has been attributed to causing a variety of infertility issues. Women with higher-than-normal levels of PFCs have a 60 to 154 percent higher risk of infertility than those who have normal levels. Men are also not immune to the harm of PFCs, which may affect male fertility by decreasing the volume, overall health, and motility of sperm.
So how are these small but nasty chemicals doing all this damage? One of the main reasons why toxins in skincare affect fertility is that they mimic natural hormones, creating endocrine disruption and hormonal imbalance. Many of these toxins are termed “xenoestrogens” as they have the ability to bind to our estrogen receptor sites, adversely affecting the function of the endocrine system
Even more shockingly, it’s not just your hormones and fertility that are at stake. Research has revealed that babies in the womb could also be absorbing what pregnant women put on their skin, with toxins found in the umbilical cords of newborns. Two specific studies screening for more than 400 chemicals showed 287 toxins detected within the umbilical cord blood. The toxins included BPAs and synthetic fragrances found in skincare, cosmetics, and personal care products.
Being educated is the first step; next you need to know how to make the right choices with the products you put on your face and body.
“If we follow the ‘edible beauty’ rule when it comes to using skincare, we can ensure that our bodies, babies in the womb, and those of our newborns are being provided with toxin-free, optimal nourishment from what we put on the outside. And if a product isn’t safe for pregnant women, then really no one should use it,” says Mitsios.
Basically, skincare products should be as pure as the foods we eat. Both end up in the body. Using skincare that is free of hormone disruptors and the other health hazards of common chemical skincare ingredients is a great way to keep your fertility levels high and hormone levels balanced.
Aside from being conscious of what topical products we are applying daily, we can also use other lifestyle practices to support happy hormones and fertility, based on the same concept of minimizing toxic load on the body.
“I definitely recommend sticking to an organic diet to eliminate exposure to pesticides, toxins, and hormones, which are significant factors in reducing our fertility levels. I also recommend overhauling all cleaning products, as they can also affect our hormones. The basics such as getting plenty of sleep and reducing stress levels through meditation or mindfulness ensures we are keeping our cortisol levels at bay. Excess cortisol puts our body into fight or flight mode and diverts our body’s resources to the production of stress hormones rather than important sex-hormones,” says Mitsios.
The best part is, all of this will have a positive impact on not just your fertility, but your overall health and wellbeing too.