September 10, 2021
You’ve probably heard that what we put in our bodies – junk food, cigarette smoke and alcohol, for example – have a direct impact on our health. But what about what we put to our bodies?
“Lipstick, foundation and other beauty products can contain preservatives which have hormonal properties and can act as hormonal ‘disruptors’, altering our hormonal environment,” explains the oncologist. Deena Mary Atieh Graham, MD âOver time, these disruptors could potentially affect how estrogen and other hormones work in the body. In high doses, these ingredients could theoretically promote tumors, especially breast cancer. “
What should you do
This doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything in your makeup bag. While cosmetic products are made up of a number of ingredients, a few chemicals are being investigated for possible links to breast cancer:
- Parabens. Parabens are a type of preservative used to extend the shelf life of lipstick and other makeup products. “Parabens can disrupt hormonal function by mimicking estrogen,” explains breast surgeon RenÃ©e Armor, MD “We know that too much estrogen after menopause can promote the growth of tumors and breast cancer.”
- Phthalates. This hormone disrupting ingredient is used to maintain color in cosmetic products. Although phthalates do not mimic estrogen, they can alter the balance of hormones that interact with estrogen.
“Some women choose to limit their exposure to these chemicals and seek products without parabens and phthalates, including mineral makeup,” says the specialist in breast imaging. Harriet Borofsky, MD
Screening to reduce the risk of breast cancer
When it comes to breast cancer, screening is the key to early detection. The American Cancer Society recommends that women at average risk for breast cancer start annual mammograms in their 40s:
- Women between the ages of 40 and 44 have the option of starting screening with a mammogram each year.
- Women 45 to 54 years old should have mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older can have a mammogram every two years or choose to continue with annual mammograms.
For women with a family history of breast cancer or a genetic tendency to breast cancer, earlier screening may be needed, including breast MRI. âYour doctor can talk to you about your individual breast cancer risk and the best screening plan for you,â says Dr. Graham.
Next Steps and Resources:
The material provided by HealthU is intended to be used for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your doctor for individual care.