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Style and Beauty for Women

Beware of Your Beauty Products

Many personal-care products contain chemicals that may alter reproductive hormones, increasing the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and infertility.

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Many beauty products, such as shampoo, moisturizers and sunscreen, contain chemicals that may alter reproductive hormones, increasing the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and infertility, according to a new study published in Environmental International.

Beauty products often contain parabens (anti-microbial preservatives) and benzophenones (which filter UV rays), and though they have been studied separately quite a bit, researchers believe that studying these chemicals in combination more accurately reflects a person’s real-life exposure.

“We saw that together, even low levels of these chemicals increased estrogen levels in healthy women, which is associated with some forms of breast cancer,” says Anna Pollack, Ph.D., MPH, lead study author and an epidemiologist at George Mason University.

Though more research is needed, Pollack advises women to avoid these chemicals whenever possible. “Because of the lack of clear labeling, it’s difficult to see what is exactly in each product,” Pollack continues. “Also, making nontoxic or less-toxic purchasing decisions can be expensive.” Perhaps, but it could be worth the cost for optimal long-term health.

For advice on what products to buy and what to avoid, utilize resources like becausehealth.org and prhe.ucsf.edu/info.