When a new patient arrives at Hope4Cancer, we dive into a deep investigation of how they got cancer in the first place. Much of our evaluation is focused on the emotional reasons for cancer via our Recall Healing protocol, but we also help our patients evaluate their exposure to toxic substances that can impact their immune system and ability to heal. Our environment can powerfully influence why cancer cells grow and how quickly the body can heal.
Parabens and Breast Cancer
An Oct. 27 article published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives indicates that parabens, a type of chemical preservative found in many beauty products and sunscreens, may stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells at a much lower dose than previously thought. While considered xenoestrogens, they have been thought to be generally safe in cosmetics and personal care products. However, in this study the researchers focused on the effects of parabens when mixed with a type of growth factor called heregulin, which has also been linked to breast cancer cell growth. They found the parabens plus heregulin to be 100 times more potent at stimulating cancer cell growth than parabens alone, and a much lower dose produced adverse effects. These results raise concerns about “safe levels” of parabens, since safety studies have only considered the effects of parabens in isolation.
This kind of news makes me wonder what else manufacturers put into beauty and self-care products that can cause or exacerbate cancer cell growth. The global beauty industry is expected to reach more than $461 million in 2018, and the facial care segment represents more than 50 percent of that pie. This industry is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or its global counterparts very effectively, and ingredients are not scrutinized for their impact on disease and the immune system. There are more than 80,000 chemicals registered in the United States for foods, personal care products, prescription drugs, household cleaners, and lawn care products according to the National Toxicology Program. Two thousand new chemicals are registered every year and few are fully tested or regulated.
My wife has all sorts of potions and powders as part of her beauty regime, and my boys and I certainly have our fair share of shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, and lotions. But now I’m questioning the ingredient lists much more carefully and seeking ways to reduce our unnecessary exposure to substances that could cause us harm.
I’m thankful that we have watchdog organizations to turn to, such as the Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which scrutinize the ingredients in beauty products. EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is currently the best source for consumers to check the toxicity of ingredients in their personal products. They have a great mobile app that helps you investigate ingredients while you are in the store.
More and more companies are taking the opportunity to create products with earth- and people-friendly ingredients… and we at Hope4Cancer applaud those companies. Kris Carr, a wellness blogger and cancer thriver, often reviews the best non-toxic products for beauty. Check our her Crazy Sexy Mascara and Lipstick and Lip Sheer Review. Her infographics list cruelty-free certifications and EWG’s Skin Deep Ratings.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics inspired the following safe cosmetic tips:
- Simplify: Choose products with simple ingredients that you can actually read and pronounce.
- Do-it-Yourself: Many personal care products can be made from ingredients in your kitchen – baking soda, olive oil, coconut oil, sea salt.
- Do Your Homework: Don’t think labels like “pure,” “natural,” or “organic” automatically equal safe. Dig deep and know your ingredients by checking them against the EWG’s Skin Deep Database or Think Dirty’s app. Watch this 7-minute video – The Story of Cosmetics: The Ugly Truth of “Toxics In, Toxics Out” – and you’ll never think the same about the cosmetics industry.
- Let Your Dollars Talk: While we probably can’t shop our way out of this toxic dilemma, your wallet does have a voice. Also let your elected officials know of your concerns!
I find it ironic when I see beauty products with the pink breast cancer ribbon advertising that a portion of the proceeds go to fight breast cancer. Many times these products contain chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic. Common toxins in cosmetics include parabens, lead, formaldehyde, and tricolsan. We’ve already seen the dangers of parabens in recent research. And we’ve long known that lead and formaldehyde are toxic.
It still baffles me that these ingredients are in cosmetics and personal products. We definitely aren’t “Living Better Through Chemistry.”
At Hope4Cancer, we encourage our patients to take a look at all the ingredients in their personal and household products to reduce their exposure to cancer causing substances. Just as we clean up their diets, we want to clean up their toxic exposures to ensure they heal their cancer and live a healthy life.
What are your favorite non-toxic beauty and personal care products? Please share @Hope4CancerMex or comment on the blog.