The Underlying Link Between Cancer And Beauty Products

Cancer And Cosmetics- The Chthonic Connection

Guest post from Dr. Shyamali Singhal, MD

Surgical Oncologist

Founder of Hope & Beauty

The chemicals in cosmetics are meant to make us look and feel better, but the research heavily implies that some of these chemicals can lead to a heightened risk of the development of cancer.

Because personal care products carry various chemicals, it’s almost impossible to establish a clear cause-to-effect connection for any particular chemical.

Many of these chemicals are deemed to be hormone disruptors. Hormone disruptors are known to affect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body, by barring them or imitating them, which throws the body off its natural hormonal balance. Because estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop, many women wisely choose to limit their exposure to these chemicals that can act like estrogen.

How Strong Is The Evidence About The Link Of Cancer And Cosmetic?

There have been many debates about cosmetic products and heightened cancer risk. Such discussions involve connections linking parabens with breast cancer, hair dyes with hematologic malignancies, and talc powders with ovarian cancer. Even with the extended media coverage and various scientific investigations, the bulk of these correlations at this moment require more convincing evidence.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made publically available all adverse event reports in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS), which covers criticisms related to cosmetic products.

Some Of The Well Known Endocrine Disruptors

Studies have shown that the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane can be found in 28% of all personal care products. The same chemical  is discovered in more than 40% of products that have been identified as “natural.” This covers shampoos, soaps, and body-firming and anti-aging lotions. Take note: 1,4-dioxane is rarely listed on product labels. Some chemicals that may contain it include:

  • Polyoxyethylene

  • PEG

  • Polyethylene

  • Polyethylene glycol

  • Chemicals ending with –eth and –oxynol

Most product manufacturers have removed known cancer-causing substances from baby care products, but grown-ups may still reside at heightened risk. Keep this in mind: a linear link between personal care products and cancer is yet to be proved.

It’s not just carcinogens you should worry about, though. “EDCs like phthalates and parabens are found in most personal care products,” says Dr. Shyamali Singhal, surgical oncologist and founder of H&B “What comes in contact with our skin absorbs into our circulatory system, possibly altering our hormone and immune system.”

Endocrine disruptors have been associated with altering reproductive function in men and women, abnormal growth tissues, neurodevelopment pauses, and even an advanced risk of breast cancer.

Fragrances are generally used in personal care products to cover up the odor of toxic chemicals. And, many of them contain EDCs, allergens, and neurotoxins.

What Can We Do To Reduce The Exposure To Harmful Chemicals In Cosmetics

While cosmetics and personal care products are littered with a number of ingredients, there are two groups of chemicals that are being studied for links to breast cancer.

Parabens are chemicals usually employed as preservatives in many cosmetic products, including makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving creams.

 Parabens can enter the skin and act as a weak estrogen in the body — possibly setting on the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Parabens have been found in breast tissue and breast cancers. But, parabens have been detected in many other tissues because of their wide use.

Phthalates are usually utilized to keep the color and lessen the brittleness in nail polish and hair spray. They’re also a part of many personal care and cleaning product fragrances. Phthalates are also hormone disruptors. Phthalates don’t act precisely like estrogen, but they can disrupt the stability of other hormones that cooperate with estrogen, including testosterone.

How Can We Avoid These Chemicals?

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

Beyond renewing your personal care products, there are also other ways to ensure you’re safe from these chemicals. First, stay away from products that include the words “fragrance” or “parfum” because they are filled with thousands of more possibly dangerous chemicals. This, along with the fact that there is a lack of control that mandates fragrance ingredient declaration, can put your health at risk if you’re not particularly careful.

In fact, one study conducted by BCPP helped utilize just how toxic fragrance chemicals can really be. Their findings concluded that of the 338 fragrance chemicals they examined, 99 of them were connected to at least one health concern, and many others were associated with various health consequences.

Finally, seek for hair and nail salons that offer their customers more reliable products to use. If you aren’t ready to find one within your local area, you can also bring your own, non-toxic nail polish and hair care products to the salon and ask the staff to use them.



Dr. Shyamali Singhal, Founder of Hope & Beauty has over twenty years of experience as a Surgical Oncologist, and in that time she has obtained understanding and deep insight into all of the side-effects that radiation and chemotherapy can have on the body of a cancer patient.
“Cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause lasting trauma to patients’ bodies. Often, it has a devastating impact on minds too. That’s why acts of self-care, however small, are so important for all patients with a cancer diagnosis. Taking time – be it a day, an hour or even just a few minutes – to look after yourself, mentally and physically, can help manage the many issues the disease brings”, states Dr. Singhal.
She decided to help cancer patients by applying her expertise in selecting products that are suitable for cancer patients. Her mission with Hope & Beauty is to assist cancer patients as they’re recovering from cancer treatment. Dr. Singhal recognizes how important it is for cancer patients to look and feel good about themselves while they fight cancer, and recover from it.

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