The use of some cosmetic and personal care products (such as face masks, lipsticks, face creams, nail polish, dyes, creams, hairspray, and hair mousse) could be related to an increased likelihood of developing endometriosis, due to the presence in these products of chemical substances that are capable of imitating or blocking the action of hormones (known as endocrine disruptors). It is one of the conclusions of a study published in the journal «Environmental Research».
Endometriosis is a very common gynecological disease, and it is estimated that one in 10 women of reproductive age could suffer from it. It is an abnormal growth of endometrial tissue (which normally lines the inside of the uterus) in different regions of the abdomen and pelvis, causing a wide range of symptoms such as intense chronic pain in the pelvic region, intestinal problems and infertility, significantly reducing the quality of life of these women.
To this is added the difficulty to be diagnosed (a surgical intervention is required to definitively confirm the disease), causing in many cases a significant delay in diagnosis (estimated at about 10 years on average from the onset of symptoms). In addition, the lack of a definitive treatment to cure this disease makes it a chronic disease and certainly disabling in some cases.
As indicated by the researchers responsible for this project, the gynecologist Olga Ocón of the San Cecilio University Hospital in Granada and the professor at the University of Granada, Francisco Artacho, “although the causes of its appearance are not exactly known, it is suspected that can be diverse, among them genetic, epigenetic and environmental causes, where hormones seem to play a key role.
In this sense, the presence of chemical substances that are capable of imitating or blocking the action of hormones (known as endocrine disruptors), present in numerous products of daily consumption, could be contributing to the increase in diagnosed cases that are being detected in the In recent years, as has been shown for other pathologies such as breast cancer, obesity or diabetes.
These endocrine disruptors include parabens and benzophenones, widely used in the cosmetics and personal care products industry and which are part of the exposome, a name given to the set of non-genetic environmental factors that contribute to risk. to get sick.
Researchers have quantified internal levels of parabens and benzophenones in a total of 124 women (with and without endometriosis), in addition to collecting detailed information on the use of cosmetics and personal care products for each of them.
The results obtained showed a clear association between greater use of various types of cosmetics (masks, lipsticks, face creams, pedicures, hair dyes, creams, hairspray and mousse) and higher internal levels of parabens and benzophenones. “Furthermore, we observed that the internal levels of some of these endocrine disruptors were related to the risk of endometriosis,” Ocón and Artacho point out.
However, the study has some limitations: a relatively small sample size, which reduced the statistical power of the findings; variability in daily exposure to benzophenone and paraben congeners, only one urine sample was taken from the women and this could bias the results; the contribution of other lifestyle factors, such as diet or smoking, to the increased risk of endometriosis was not taken into account or that the fact that exposure to other endocrine-disrupting chemicals could have an effect on endometriosis risk was not considered.
These results are in addition to those obtained in another recently published study, where these same researchers have observed how another endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A, could also be involved in the development of this disease.
And a recent statement from the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) warned of the presence of toxic substances in some lipsticks of the brands Kiko, MAC y Too Faced and they demanded that the authorities establish a maximum limit for this type of substances that guarantees the health of consumers.
It’s about the aceites minerales -Mineral Oils Saturated Hydrocarbons (MOSH) y Mineral Oils Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH)- that are present in some lipsticks and lip balms for children and adults that the OCU, together with associations from Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal, has analyzed in a study.
The main conclusion is that the use of three of the nine brands analyzed is not recommended for the presence of MOSH and MOAH, substances that appear as impurities in the manufacturing process of different mineral oils derived from petroleum that are used as ingredients of the bars. of lips.
According to the OCU, MOSH can have harmful effects on health, specifically on the liver and, although there are no safety regulations for cosmetic products, a recommendation from the European association of manufacturers recommends that it not exceed 5% of total hydrocarbons saturated.