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A study by the Environmental Working Group has detected significant levels of phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks in young girls, aged 14 to 19. These chemicals have been linked to both cancer and hormone disruption and are often found in common cosmetic products.
Teenage girls typically use more cosmetic products than adult women. Furthermore, teenage girls are at a higher risk from the hormone disruptions found in the products than mature women, making it doubly important to warn teenage girls of the inherent dangers.
From Environmental Working Group:
Alterations in an array of sex hormones, present in the body at levels as low as one part per billion (ppb), or even one part per trillion (ppt), guide this transformation to adulthood. Emerging research suggests that teens may be particularly sensitive to exposures to trace levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals like the ones targeted in this study, given the cascade of closely interrelated hormonal signals orchestrating the transformation from childhood to adulthood.
The best way to keep your hormones from being disrupted is by not using products that contain hormone-disrupting ingredients. The EWG has provided us with a list of products and ingredients that girls, aged 14-19 and arguably anyone, should avoid.
Ingredients to Avoid
DMDM hydantoin and Imidazolidinyl urea Fragrance and dyes Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone Parabens or "-paraben "PEG" and "-eth" Sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate Triclosan and triclocarban Triethanolamine (TEA)
Products to Avoid
Anti-aging creams containing lactic, glycolic, AHA, and BHA acids Hair dyes containing ammonia, peroxide, p-phenylenediamine, diaminobenzene; all dark permanent hair dyes Liquid hand soaps containing triclosan Nail polish and removers containing formaldehyde Skin lighteners containing hydroquinone
What's a girl to do?
You don't have to give up cosmetics. You just have to be smart about the ones that you buy. There are a wide array of natural cosmetics on the market. You can even make your own cosmetics out of all-natural ingredients. Just remember, looking good is not worth getting sick or making the planet sick.