Save Your Skin & Your Hormones This Winter
This mid-winter deep freeze has us dreaming of warmer days and dewier skin. As the temperature drops the air becomes significantly drier. Combine that with the constant transition from the cool exterior air to warm stale air of the indoors, our skin carries the burden. Given that most Canadians are reaching for a moisturizer to combat dry skin, we thought we would share with you a few of our considerations when purchasing skin care products.
Our skin is our largest organ. It is capable of both detoxification and absorption. As we apply our moisturizers it is important to be mindful that the ingredients of those products are being absorbed into our skin, our bloodstream, and ultimately circulating in our bodies. Some of the chemicals in our skin and body care products can have a significant impact on our hormones. These chemicals are referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are chemicals and substances that interfere with our bodies’ natural hormone function. EDCs are commonly found in our skin creams and body care products.
The FDA has approved these chemicals on the basis that the levels in which they exist are minimal enough to suggest they do not have a negative impact on health. However, regardless of what they consider minimal exposure in one product, we think it is important to consider the overall toxic burden. The chemicals may exist in small amounts, but given we are exposed to various different products daily, this small amount begins to accumulate. Also taking into account the toxic burden of our exposure from our environment alone. We feel it wise to take action to control for our exposure when we can. The products we willingly put on our skin being a good place to start.
We have listed a couple of ingredients and words to look for on your skin care product labels. We have also shared our favorite natural and hormone safe alternatives!
Phthalates are chemicals used to help soften plastics. They are commonly used in skin care products as moisturizing agents. They promote the absorption of a product (and it’s chemicals) into the skin.
Phthalates have been linked to obesity, thyroid, and immune system irregularities. They have been shown to affect the male reproductive system potentially causing birth defects in the reproductive organs, lowering sperm counts, and causing decreased sperm motility.
Phthalates are most commonly found in fragrance. The word fragrance or parfum is most often considered proprietary, resulting in a loophole allowing companies to leave out the list of chemicals used to formulate the fragrance. Fragrance can sometimes be a combination of hundreds of chemicals. Furthermore, the word natural is not regulated either. Meaning a company can list natural fragrance on their label without having to include the list of chemicals used. Look for products scented with pure essential oils, this guarantees a singular clean ingredient.
Parabens are commonly found in cosmetics and skin/body care products. They have been shown to act as estrogen mimetics, meaning they can mimic the action of estrogen in the body. There is evidence demonstrating their inhibitory effect on androgenic hormones such as testosterone and DHEA and their capacity to damage cell DNA leading to genetic mutations. The parabens most commonly used are methyl and propylparaben. Opt for paraben free products.
We encourage you to download the Skindeep or Thinkdirty app, both are available on your smartphone. They have been formulated to identify chemicals in cosmetics, skin care, and household products. They rank the product's safety based on the chemicals they contain. They provide information about the chemicals present in the products and their impact on your health. They empower you to be mindful of your daily toxic exposure and help guide you toward cleaner, safer products.
Here is a list of our favourite natural moisturizers:
Coconut oil. Coconut oil is not effective for everyone. Sometimes it can have a drying effect. If that is the case for your skin, try adding vitamin e. We suggest purchasing an oil-based vitamin e capsule. Break open the capsule and add it to your coconut/carrier oil. This is one of our favorite wrinkle fighters too, you can apply the coconut+ vit E mixture all over your face, or just the vitamin e on its own to the wrinkles!
*Be sure to consult a naturopathic doctor prior to supplementing with vitamin E internally.
The Honest Company Face & Body Lotions.
Pure Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter
Your local health food store or farmer’s market may also have locally made moisturizers with all natural ingredients. If you are looking for a winter DIY and would like to make your own moisturizer, this is our favourite recipe:
- 1/2 cup shea butter or cocoa butter
- 2 tbsps or nourishing oil such as : jojoba, avocado, almond oil, coconut or olive oil
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil (optional)*
- 5 drops of rosemary essential oil (optional)*
- Melt the shea butter or cocoa butter in a double boiler (or a glass bowl over a pot), and add in the 2 tbsps of oil, mix until equally combined.
- Take off of the heat and allow the mixture to cool. ~ 15-20 in the fridge.
- Add in the EOs when the mixture is solid, but not FIRM. Once thoroughly mixed scoop into a glass jar and store at room temperature.
The JTND team