CosmeticsSummer is coming; ladies get ready to color their toes to show off in their beautiful sandals in this hot season. Have you ever thought about what these colorful nail polishes can do to your health?

Based on medical research, the chemicals called xenohormones in these petroleum-based nail polishes are considered environmental estrogens. They act as foreign estrogens and compete with the natural estrogens in our body for the same receptors, and they have estrogen-like activities. These compounds disrupt the normal balance of hormones, which is particularly relevant to hormone-related cancers and reproductive health[1].

Think about those deodorants, they are loaded with toxic petro-chemicals to produce fragrant smells, these chemicals travel into women’s breast tissues and increase the risk of breast cancers because the lymph nodes in our armpits are linked to the breast glands, and you may not aware that your breast glands are a network of lymph ducts. These toxic chemicals are contributing to cysts and tumors in the breast tissues and hormone imbalance. According to a study in 2012, 99% of analyzed breast cancer samples contained parabens, a common carcinogen found in deodorants. You can see how these beauty products are damaging our health significantly.

Today many women are suffering from estrogen dominance syndrome and hormone imbalance, such as mood swings, food cravings, sugar cravings, weight gain, and prolonged menstruations. We may wonder how this vicious cycle started. Estrogen dominance is a condition in which the body has a higher level of estrogen than progesterone. There are many possible causes of estrogen dominance. One of them is exposure to xenohormones found in petroleum-based products such as plastics (including disposable water bottles), shampoo, paint, gasoline, and even perfumes.

These foreign chemicals not only put your liver and digestive system under stress but also cause hormone imbalance. This is why estrogen dominance contributes to weight gain because estrogen regulates the homeostasis of mitochondria, which means how efficiently your body produces energy (ATP), in another word, your metabolism. Estrogen also affects how glucose is used in the body by working on insulin receptors, which can affect your blood sugar levels. Estrogen also affects the hormone leptin sensitivity in the body, which regulates your appetite. Fat has neuroendocrine receptors and has the ability to cross-communicate with the other organs in the body. When estrogen tells the body to store more fat, it does it by activating the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, which is a mechanism that tells the body to specifically store glucose into fat. Estrogen, directly and indirectly, affects the thyroid gland and the production of growth hormones. Your circadian clock, the 24-hour clock cycle, is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) located in the brain. It has both estrogen and testosterone receptors. In another word, estrogen can affect your sleep cycle as well. Estrogen can also affect your mood because the estrogen in the brain can also act like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which has the ability to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin. Depression is associated with low serotonin levels in the body. As you can see that estrogen plays many important roles in the body. With estrogen dominance, the foreign estrogen is taking over the natural estrogen in the body, which interferes and interrupts many important biochemical pathways in the body, and affects your thyroid function, and your gut health since some of the estrogen receptors are in your gut lining, this, in turn, affects your metabolism and contributes to your weight gain.

Here are some great tips on how to balance your hormones naturally.

The term petroleum, in a broad sense, covers both naturally occurring crude oil and products made from refined crude oil. Also commonly referred to as oil, this natural resource is heavily used in a wide range of applications such as transportation and heating systems for both residential and commercial activities. Many petroleum-based products are hidden in plain sight. Based on nationwide research conducted by Insight Express for Telles in April 2007, more than 70% of Americans do not know or realize that plastic is actually petroleum-based. Some of us may find it surprising that a large variety of everyday household items are made of the same materials.

What are the sources of xenohormones? Here is a short list of petroleum-based products that we are using on a daily basis:

– Cosmetics           – Wax paper
– Tires                    – Vaseline
– Paint                   – Synthetic fabrics
– Plastics               – fingernail polish
– Nylons                – Cleaning products
– Paper cups         – Soaps
– Candles              – Ink

Regardless of how useful they are to help us with our day-to-day routines, continuous exposure to petroleum-based products brings alarming risks. Breathing petroleum vapors (such as from burning candles) can cause respiratory irritation and nervous system disturbances with common symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and headache.

Due to the large variety of petroleum-based products, their toxic substances that cause diseases are not only airborne in a form of vapor, but also in liquid forms. For example, mineral oil is a distillate of petroleum. One of the most common applications of mineral oil is in cosmetic products including ointments and baby lotions. Chronic exposure to these products may affect the nervous system, blood, and kidneys. Affected animals exposed to high levels of some petroleum products can develop liver and kidney tumors[2]. If the air in your house is contaminated by the petroleum-based painting to the point where strong odors are present, it is suggested that you should relocate until the residence is completely cleaned. The same rule applies to office buildings and other establishments.

Petroleum-based products are considered dangerous because of the following reasons:

1. Petroleum-based Products Cannot Be Broken Down In The Digestive System

Products that use mineral oil as one of the ingredients can be serious contaminants. These ingredients come in different grades; those used in cosmetic are generally considered in their purest grade or most refined. There are two potential risks with petroleum-based cosmetics:

• Comedogenic: petroleum-based cosmetics tend to clog pores and cause acne problems. A report published in the 2005 Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology claimed that the mineral oil commonly used in skincare and cosmetic is highly refined. However, because the mineral oil is directly applied to the skin, the chances for the toxic substances to be absorbed by the body are very high.


• Hydrocarbon: consisting of carbon and hydrogen, this organic compound naturally occurs in crude oil (petroleum). A report of the 2011 study published in the Journal of Women’s Health suggested that approximately 1 gram of hydrocarbon exists in every person. The report also stated that hydrocarbon is the greatest contaminant of the human body. Cosmetics are relevant sources of those toxic substances. Because they are impossible to digest, the amount accumulates over time, and toxicity increases.

2. Petroleum Might Be Carcinogenic


At least two dozen cosmetic impurities have been recognized and linked to serious health concerns including cancer. According to EWG (Environmental Working Group) research published in February 2007, almost 80% of all beauty products in the market were contaminated. FDA stated that some carcinogenic cosmetic impurities can be rapidly absorbed through the skin. One of the most dangerous contaminants is 1,4-dioxane, a possible carcinogen for humans and animals. The assessment was based on an analysis of ingredients used in 15,000 cosmetic and personal care products. It was found that 22% of all products might be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane[3].

Percentage of products found contaminated with the carcinogen[4]:

57% of all baby soaps 35% of all anti-aging products
34% of all body lotions 66% of all hair removers
97% of all hair relaxers 45% of sunless tanning products
36% of all hormonal creams 33% of all-around eye creams
36% of all facial moisturizers 82% of all hair dyes and bleaching
43% of all body firming lotions

Most contaminants found in petroleum-based products or ingredients are often able to penetrate the skin because that is how they work. Ironically they are marketed and popular for their abilities to penetrate the skin indeed.

3. Petroleum Prevents Nutrients From Being Absorbed Properly


Comedogenic is a problem because it blocks your skin pores. When petroleum-based cosmetics are applied directly to the skin, they create a thin invisible barrier. To some extent, comedogenic prevents your skin from absorbing more beneficial nutrients contained in the product as well. Some moisturizer products are believed to lock in moisture. In reality, they simply create a barrier to prevent the skin from making contact with the air that makes the skin dry. Of course, it is possible that your skin is protected from natural elements including debris and dirt, but the product’s comedogenicity also disrupts your body’s ability to secrete sweat for thermoregulation.

4. Petroleum Contaminates Our Food And Drinks


If you place a plastic bottle filled with water under the sun for two days, the water tastes like plastic. Why? Simply because the plastic chemicals dissolve in the water and they create this very unpleasant smell in your mouth. The same thing happens if you cook your food in a plastic container in a microwave, the chemicals can be released from the container and penetrate to your food, so you are likely eating and drinking petroleum without knowing it.

Even if you go straight to organic food; it’s hard to find food that hasn’t been contaminated by petroleum to some degree. Petroleum byproducts are used in many synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. They are widely used in food preservatives, flavorings, and colorings. Petroleum products help the agriculture industry produce more food, cultivate it faster, and keep it fresh for longer. But they also pollute our environment at the same time. Believe it or not, petroleum-based ingredients are also “incidentally” found in your chewing gums and soft drinks. This is difficult to swallow, isn’t it?

This is just one side of the story that how we overuse our natural resources and take them for granted. When we take the advantage of our environment without care, we become the victims of the damages we have created. Based on the recently published Annals of Internal Medicine, the pollutants in our environment have posed a high risk to human health, including more respiratory and heat-related illnesses, vector-borne diseases, and behavioral health problems.

Our planet has been on a red alarm for quite a while, what can we do to improve our environment and protect our health?

If everyone can be environmentally conscious, start from small things to protect our environment and love our mother earth, we will create a clean and healthy environment not only for ourselves but also for many generations to come!

What are your suggestions and ideas to create a better world to live in? Please share with us, together we can make a difference.

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Walk as you are kissing the mother earth with your feet.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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About the author: Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, TCM Practitioner, Energy Healer, Master Hypnotist, Reiki Master, Advanced Theta Healing Practitioner, Author and Speaker, Lucy Liu, the founder of, has gained a good reputation in holistic health after many years of serving patients and clients as a holistic health practitioner. Lucy has developed a unique and comprehensive approach, which combines Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, and Alternative Medicine together, to help others achieve optimal health by creating harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, and maintain long-term success for healthy lifestyle changes.
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