Switching to natural skincare brands can have a huge impact on the levels of potentially damaging chemicals in our bodies, according to recent research published in the US.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkley, found that teenage girls who changed cosmetic products showed a dramatic drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals. And that was after only a few days.

The research team looked at four common chemicals used in cosmetics, lotions and shampoos which have been identified as ‘hormone disruptors’ and are known to interfere with both oestrogen and testosterone levels…

  • Phthalates: used in nail polish and fragrance
  • Parabens: a preservative used in cosmetics
  • Triclosan: an antibacterial agent
  • Oxybenzone: a sunscreen agent

100 girls in the study swapped their usual cosmetics for ones that didn’t include any of these ingredients. Young girls were chosen because they use more personal care products than older women. And because adolescence is a time of particular risk.

The results were startling. Overall, the girls showed a 25-45% drop in the levels of the four chemicals.

The research team was led by Kim Harley, Associate Director of UC Berkley’s Centre for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. Explaining how important it is to reduce exposure to these chemicals, Kim said: “they are associated with neuro-development problems in children, respiratory problems like asthma, and obesity problems”.

“Physical growth, reproductive development, brain development – they all happen in adolescence,” added Kim. “And there is no identified safe level of these four chemicals.”

One of the issues raised in the report is that these chemicals are often found in cheaper, mass-produced products, rather than organic alternatives which are often more expensive. And with less money to spend – and perhaps less inclination to check the ingredients list – this is why teenagers tend to purchase them.

At Botanicals, we try to keep prices as low as possible. But all our products are hand made in small batches, using the finest organic ingredients. So we’re always going to be more expensive than mass-produced alternatives. But this research shows it’s a price very much worth paying.