What’s in your makeup?

A mother’s makeup products playing a role in a baby’s genetic makeup, who would’ve thought? Well, studies show that the beauty products a mother uses can increase the baby’s likelihood of obesity. Paraben, a chemical present in many cosmetic products, has shown to be the cause behind this unlikely phenomenon. Parabens are preservatives that allow products to last up to months or even a year. Parabens seep through the skin and disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking a hormone known as estrogen. Excessive estrogen can cause an imbalance in hormones that are responsible for regulating reproduction, growth, and metabolism. 


A study published by Nature Communications consolidated data of 629 mother-child pairs. On the 34th week of pregnancy, women provided urine samples and reported usage of paraben products. Findings indicate that women with exposure to Butylparaben, an organic compound that falls under the Paraben family, were more likely to have overweight children than women who didn’t. Specifically, the higher the paraben level, the more likely the woman’s child will be heavier at birth and more likely to be overweight by age 8. 


Obesity has become a nationwide epidemic, with it affecting more than 40% of the U.S. population over the age of 20. There are risk factors of obesity to be wary of apart from Paraben, such as high caloric intake, lack of exercise, and a genetic predisposition to the disease; however, the surmounting evidence of parabens influencing a child’s weight raises concerns towards external environmental exposure during prenatal development. The study also shows that weight gain associated with parabens solely appeared to impact females, not males. Female pups born to paraben exposed mice had an increased tendency to eat more, with male pups not showing any significant difference. There was also evidence of altered activity in a gene known as POMC, which helps regulate appetite. 


Further studies need to be done to expand our knowledge on the health risks of Paraben chemicals, but until then, we need to take precautions such as closely monitoring the products we use. You can view more information on paraben-free products on the El Camino Wellness Page or Hope and Beauty. Both websites provide safe products that best serve healthcare needs and help mediate any concerns regarding harmful chemical exposure during prenatal development. Also, speak to your healthcare provider for further questions.



El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.


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