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Ingredients Matter: What are Endocrine Disruptors?

Why the Ingredients in your Personal Care Products Matter

You’re looking at your Plaine Products shampoo bottle, and you see it says, “Free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and synthetic fragrances”. You’ve also been hearing a lot more about things called “endocrine disruptors” but aren’t sure why they’re significant. If you’re wondering what endocrine disruptors are and why they matter, we’re here to help!

According to recently updated research by the Environmental Working Group, the average woman uses about 13 personal care products per day, while the average man uses about 11. This means that women are exposed to over 114 chemicals and men around 105 chemicals. That’s just per day! If we think about how many products we’re using and how often, we start to see how the ingredients that make them up can really impact both our health and the environment.

What are Endocrine Disruptors?

Our endocrine system is the system in our body that creates and releases hormones. This system is in charge of a lot of important processes, a few being mood, metabolism, reproductive health and regulating vital processes to keep our body in balance. Hormones communicate with each cell to do so, and they do this by binding onto receptors outside of the cells.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals, either natural or man-made, that displace hormones from the cell receptors, therefore disrupting our endocrine system processes. This displacement can cause hormone production to falsely increase and/or decrease, or interfere with the signals they’re sending our body. All of which disrupts our body’s natural balance and can cause a vast array of health issues.

What Ingredients Should I Avoid?

While endocrine disruptors can be found in our food and water, a majority of our exposure can come from ingredients in personal care products. Below is a very general list of the most common you can find and want to avoid when choosing your personal care products:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • PFAS/PFOA
  • Phthalates
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs)
  • Synthetic Fragrance
  • Butylated compounds (BHA/BHT)
  • Benzisothiazolinone (BIT)
  • Benzophenones
  • Siloxanes & Silanes (think silicone)
  • Triclosan

How to Make Stress-free Product Swaps

While even just that general list can feel overwhelming, it’s a great starting point to check the products you’re using and see where you could make some swaps.

If you’ve checked your products and found that some of them contain these ingredients, don’t panic! Your past buying decisions were made with the information you had then. Now you know better, so in the future, you’ll do better. There’s no use getting down on yourself for choices you’ve made in the past.

If you’ve got a lot of products to swap and don’t know where to start, the best place to start is with the products that you use the most. Shampoo and conditioner are both products we’re all using almost every day, so they’re a great place to start. If there’s something else you’re finding yourself using daily, plan to make that one of your first swaps.

You also don’t want to throw out all of your half-used products and buy new ones. Not only is it wasteful, it’s expensive as well. The most cost-effective way to swap is to do it gradually as you run out. It’s also less stressful because you’ll be focusing on finding one low-tox item you like instead of six. That can feel really intimidating!

To make it even easier on you, we’ve created all of our products free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and synthetic fragrances, to ensure the safety of our customers, their families, and the planet. We want you to feel comfortable and confident when shopping our products!

If learning about ingredients in your personal care products is interesting to you, stay tuned for our upcoming monthly ingredients blog posts! 

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