Personal healthcare products have always been linked with beautifying women and changing their appearance but unaware to most women, such products can adversely affect newborn’s health as well.
According to a new study, makeup products if used extensively by pregnant women can affect their unborn child’s health. The study found certain organic compounds used in cosmetics that can cause severe health problems in fetuses such as premature birth and decreased bodily activities.
The study was led by SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s School of Public Health. The research was directed by Dr Rolf Halden, who is an expert in the study of antimicrobial chemicals. The researchers carried out their research by analyzing blood plasma concentration of the chemicals found in third trimester urinary and umbilical cords.
Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate, Dr Laura Greer said,” The study found a link between women with higher levels of butylparaben, which is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics, and the following birth outcomes: shorter gestational age at birth, decreased weight, and increased odds of preterm birth.”
How Do Cosmetic Products Affect Babies?
There were three organic compounds that were at the root of the problem. Triclocarban, propylparaben and butylparaben. The researchers found that triclocarban, which is an antimicrobial preservative, was associated with causing premature births in pregnant women. The compound is used primarily in soaps and lotions.
The second compound under question was butylparaben, which is an effective organic antimicrobial compound that hinders or kills microbial growth. It has been used extensively as a cosmetic and pharmaceutical product since the 20th century because of its low toxic formula and ability to fight off mold and fungus. The compound has faced a lot of scrutiny for disrupting the endocrine system.
Propylparaben, the third common chemical compound found in cosmetics, is susceptible of decreasing body length at the time of birth.
The authors were quite satisfied with the results and were fully committed to further study the effects of such compounds. This was the first study that provides evidence after closely examining the link between the chemicals and newborn children. The results were similar to the findings of endocrine-disrupting potential resulting in developmental and reproductive toxicity in animals.
How Do Parabens Affect Women?
Parabens can be quite dangerous to women even at low volumes. According to a study published in the Environment Health Perspectives journal, parabens can act as estrogen by confusing the estrogen receptors which can lead to breast cancer and cell proliferation. Parabens are not harmful on their own, but combined with other toxic elements they can be quite dangerous.
Parabens mimic estrogen, which tricks body into thinking that they are actually estrogen. The more a woman is exposed to estrogen, the more chances of aggressive cell reproduction which can lead to breast cancer. The compound can be more toxic when introduced in the body. The results of the study are quite shocking, as it shows that even at low volumes cancer growth was quite rapid.
How Will These Findings Affect The Cosmetic Industry?
Larger studies will need to be funded to further explore the impact of the cosmetics products on consumers’ health. Geer suggests, “Based on this new evidence, the safety of use of these chemicals in our consumer products should be reassessed.” According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), parabens are one of the most commonly used preservatives in cosmetic products since they are added to protect against bacterial growth.
Regulations of banning triclosan from several consumer products have been in place since 2015, but more stern preventive methods by the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Environmental Protection Agency are still missing. Triclosan was first used a pesticide back in the 1960s, but its antimicrobial properties made manufacturers incorporate the compound into many cosmetic products.
Today there are more than 2,000 different over the shelf products that contain such harmful chemicals such as toothpastes, talcum powder, soaps, shampoos, detergents etc. These compounds are not only harmful to the body but they are dangerous to the environment as well. Many of these chemical run into the water bodies such as lakes and profoundly harm the marine ecosystem.
Many US manufacturers have pledged to electively remove triclosan from different hygiene products, while Minnesota has passed a ban on the use of triclosan in hand and body cleaning products beginning in 2017. The Canadian Environmental Law Association has also urged the government of Canada to ban triclosan and parabens.
How Can We Safeguard Our Health From Such Products?
There are a lot of ways we can safeguard our health against the harm caused by such harmful chemicals.
Check The Ingredient List Before Buying
Firstly, and most importantly, by simply checking the ingredients label we can protect ourselves from using harmful products. Many cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies are required by law to mention parabens in their list of ingredients, so make sure to check the ingredient lists before buying products such as moisturizers, perfumes, shampoos and anti-aging creams, since these products are most likely to contain parabens in their composition.
Buy Parabens-Free Products
Many companies proudly list their products as paraben-free. Companies such as Polyvore, Beessential and Naturopathica offer products that are completely paraben-free. Furthermore, you can email or contact many companies and inquire about their products to see if they offer parabens-free products.
Use Herbal And Natural Alternatives
There are many natural and herbal organic alternatives that we can use in our daily lives. Instead of regular facewash we can use aloe vera as a healthy alternative to rid the skin of impurities such as oil and dirt, and give it a healthy glow. Similarly, we can make our own hair shampoo using morrocanoil, lavender, and coconut milk.
Go Makeup Free
Natural way is the best way. Pregnant women should avoid cosmetic products such as hair products and makeup or at least try to minimize the use of makeup to decrease the risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals which can affect the well-being of women as well as their babies.