The Keys to Healthy SkinSep 25, 2013
Some chemicals found in simple household items can have an adverse impact on your skin. Dr. Kirtly Jones from the University of Utah discusses how you can spot seemingly safe chemicals that could actually be hazardous to your skin.
Dr. Kirtly Jones: What's in your lotions? Should we be more careful? This is Dr. Kirtly Jones from the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Utah Health Care, and this is The Scope.
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Dr. Kirtly Jones: Little boys growing breast tissue, now we all know what something isn't right there. Several years ago pediatricians in Colorado noted several young boys were growing breast tissue, and they went on a hunt to find out why. It turns out that lavender oil and tea tree oil in their lotions and shampoos were to blame. We now know that you can deliver powerful hormones, birth control, narcotics and other medicines in patches across your skin, but what about the chemicals that you're rubbing all over your body, on your lips, on your fingernails? Should we be more careful about what we put on our skin and who we put it on?
Walmart announced last week that it would be phasing out cosmetics and cleansers containing ten worrisome chemicals. The word actually used in the press release was toxic. This is great news for consumers, but which ten are being phased out hasn't been announced yet. Also, announced this month, Proctor and Gamble, you know P&G, one of the big makers of cosmetics and soaps and shampoos and stuff will be eliminating triclosan and phthalates from its products.
So what's the worry? Pull out your moisturizer, your shampoo or your baby lotion. Look at the ingredients. So you know what they are? Can you even pronounce them? Some ingredients can bind to estrogen or testosterone receptors in a weak way and affect tissues in your body. For example, parabens, in almost all skin lotions, which are used as a preservative, act like a weak estrogen and are associated with breast cancer. Phthalates are in lotions and perfumes and have been associated with changes in developing mice, male mice and some studies suggest changes in human fetuses. So some chemicals aren't really good for anyone, phthalates for example. And some are most risky for fetuses and pregnant women and children.
So what to do? Get out your moisturizer, right in front of you. Google, EWG, that stands for Environmental Working Group, EWG skin deep, or the campaign for safe cosmetics, and go to skin deep. Put the name of your product in the search. If the risk score for your product is zero to two, good for you. If it's three to six, think again and it it's over six you should think about who you're putting it on and why. So what do I have on my desk right here? Cetaphil Moisturizing lotion, oh, I hope there isn't a best by date because I know this is over ten years old. So it gets a three, not too bad. And my lip balm gets a two. Good for me.
I can go, if I wanted to check out a toothpaste or a toothpaste for my baby, I could get the best rating, I could go to the section on toothpaste and it starts with the lowest number and goes up to the number that you don't want to put on anybody's teeth. And the Environmental Working Group will have a mobile app for this website this fall. What you can smell goes into your brain, into your body and into your baby. And what you put on your body goes into your body and into your baby. Maybe you should check it out. This is Dr. Kirtly Jones and thank you for joining us on The Scope.
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