The Underlying Connection Between Breast Cancer & Beauty Products

The Underlying Connection Between Breast Cancer & Beauty Products

By now, you’re probably already aware of all the ways in which cosmetics can be used to help enhance your physical appearance. However, have you ever thought about the ways in which it can negatively impact your health? Several studies report that there is an underlying connection between the harmful chemicals found in beauty products and your risk of developing breast cancer later on in life. Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’m already so cautious about the things I put in my body, but now I have to be careful about what I put on it too?” The answer, unfortunately, is yes.

According to the National Institue of Health, less than 20% of breast cancer is genetic. This means the environmental factors you expose yourself to may directly influence your overall wellness. So, while it may seem frustrating, having a better understanding of how certain ingredients can affect your personal health is extremely valuable. This is especially true if breast cancer is already an issue of concern. If you’re not sure what to look for when it comes to your beauty and cosmetic products, don’t panic. Let’s take a closer look together:

Common toxins found in beauty products

Although beauty products are typically designed to make you smell better, look better, or feel better, most of them contain many different ingredients and chemicals. Not all of them are thought to be dangerous, but a few may heighten your risk of developing breast cancer. Specifically, the ingredients considered to be “hormone disruptors” can cause a change in the way estrogen and other hormones operate within your body. Parabens, for example, are chemicals that are commonly found in many cosmetic products like moisturizers, anti-aging creams, makeup, and shaving cream/gels. This ingredient has been found to penetrate the skin, your body’s largest organ, and acts similarly to estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. Because of this, parabens are believed to live within many tissues in the body, one being your breast tissue. Despite the fact that there is no clear relation between parabens and breast cancer, its ability to work its way through your skin and remain within the tissues of your body demonstrates it may be potentially harmful. how paraben-related products can potentially speed up the growth of your hormones and influence your health in the long-run.

Another type of chemical that’s been studied for its probable connection to breast cancer is phthalates. Like parabens, phthalates are regarded as a “hormone disrupter” because it corrupts the functioning balance of other hormones in your body, including estrogen and testosterone. Normally used to reduce hair brittleness and hold color in nail polish, phthalates can also be found in an assortment of fragrances, shampoos, and conditioners. On account of it mimicking the carcinogenic effects of estrogenic exposures, researchers believe high exposure levels to phthalates may increase your risk of breast cancer.

To learn more about additional chemicals of concern and their possible link to breast cancer and other serious health issues, check out this list.

How to avoid these chemicals?

With regard to the hazardous consequences affiliated with the ingredients and chemicals of our beauty products, MD, and president and founder of, Marissa Weitts, told WebMD to remind readers this:  “avoid products that contain hormonally-active ingredients, including parabens.” Luckily, there is still a wide variety of cosmetic products to choose from that’ll better support your personal-care needs and maintain your body’s health.

Before you do anything, it’s critical to look over the ingredients labels of any and all beauty products, prior to purchasing. Watch out for the alternative names for particular ingredients. Parabens, for example, could be listed as one of the following: methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben. To ensure you’ve removed parabens and phthalates from your personal care supplies completely, search for paraben-free and phthalates-free products, like in your shampoos or conditioners and makeup.

Beyond revamping your personal care products, there are also other ways to guarantee you’re safe from these chemicals. First, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) recommends staying away from products that include the words “fragrance” or “parfum” because they tend to be packed with thousands of more potentially harmful chemicals. This, along with the fact that there is a lack of regulation that mandates fragrance ingredient disclosure, can put your health at risk if you’re not careful. In fact, one study conducted by BCPP helped exploit just how toxic fragrance chemicals can really be. Their findings concluded that of the 338 fragrance chemicals they tested, 99 of them were linked to at least one health concern and several others were linked to multiple health effects. So before you reach for the most delicious scented-perfume, think about trying natural, non-toxic body spray mists.

Finally, search for hair and nail salons that offer their consumers safer products to use. If you aren’t able to find one within your local community, you can also take it upon yourself to bring your own, non-toxic nail polish and hair care products.