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A recent study found that when teenage girls eliminated personal care products that contain certain hormone disrupting chemicals for just 3 days, the chemical levels in their urine dropped 25-45%. This is a whopping number in the world of science and a finding that merits attention. The study specifically asked 100 teen girls to use personal care products that do not contain phthalates, parabens, triclosan and benzophenone-3 (BP-3). Chemical levels were taken before and after the product elimination period—a mere three days.

Chemicals that disrupt hormones, also known as ‘endocrine disrupters’ are of special concern for teens and children, as they are still growing. The study suggested that such chemicals are suspected to cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders because of their impact on the endocrine system. For example, some scientists believe that younger onset of puberty may be the result of exposure to endocrine disrupters.

This study clearly demonstrates that the products we put on the skin penetrate our bodies and can impact our health, but it also shows us the transient nature of these chemicals in our bodies. Thus, it is an empowering reminder that we can be in control of our health every day by making more informed choices. In three days the teens were able to drop levels 25-45%- -wouldn’t it have been nice if there weren’t a chemical body burden to start with?

The researchers involved the girls in designing and implementing the study, and attribute their involvement to the study’s success. In other words, the girls in the study became vested in it. What better way to create strong health self-advocates of teens than to invite them into the process? What would happen if the researchers continued to work with these girls and encourage them to become vested in the concept of safe beauty?

We know that many of you may be mothers, sisters, aunts, or friends of teens, so we wanted to share our findings with you. If you fall into one of these categories, we encourage you to lead by example and make the best healthy choices for you. Suggest to your teen to download the app “Skin Deep”, published by the Environmental Working Group, (teens and technology these days) and you should use it, too! It’s the best source we know of for safe beauty information, providing a mobile, quickly searchable database of personal care products rated according to their product cleanliness. It’s never too early to become a strong health self advocate, but regardless of age, it is always important to be a safe beauty.

Harley et al., Kogut et al., Madrigal et al., Cardenas et al., Vera et al., Meza-Alfaro et al., She et al., Gavin et al., Zahedi et al., Bradman et al., Eskenazi et al., Parra et al. (2015). Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure from Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study


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