Chemical Exposure Decreases with Change of Cosmetics.

Potentially endocrine-disrupting chemicals are present in many personal care products, putting girls at particular risk, as makeup, lotions and shampoos are sources. Now, a new study shows that by switching to products without such chemicals, we can lower our urinary concentrations of phthalates, triclosan and other potentially harmful substances.

The study – led by Kim Harley, associate director of the University of California-Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health – is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), phthalates are a group of chemicals used in plastics, flooring, detergents, soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, cosmetics and nail polishes.

Once they enter the body, they are then converted into metabolites that pass in the urine.

Although the health effects of exposure to these chemicals are largely unknown, some types have been shown to affect the reproductive system in laboratory animals.

The CDC say “more research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates,” which is not particularly comforting for consumers.

Furthermore, the CDC have previously found significant levels of phthalate metabolites in the general population, which suggests that phthalate exposure is far-reaching in the US population.

Previous research from the organization has also found that adult women have higher urinary metabolite levels than men since phthalates are used in personal care products that are used more frequently by women.

Metabolites of chemicals decreased after 3 days

The researchers of this latest study wanted to investigate how switching cosmetic products – to those labeled free of phthalates, parabens, triclosan and oxybenzone – would affect urinary metabolites in adolescent girls.

These chemicals have been shown in previous animal studies to intervene in the body’s endocrine system.

“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products,” says Harley, “they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals.” She adds:

”Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”

To conduct their investigation, the researchers analyzed urine samples of 100 Latina teenagers who were participating in the Health and Environmental Research on Makeup of Salinas Adolescents (HERMOSA) study.

They measured metabolites in urine samples both before and after a 3-day trial, in which the girls used the products with fewer chemicals.

Results showed that metabolites of diethyl phthalate – used in fragrances – decreased by 27%, while methyl and propyl parabens – used as preservatives in cosmetics – decreased by 44% and 45%, respectively. Meanwhile, triclosan – found in soaps and toothpaste – and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) – found in sunscreens – both decreased by 36%.

“The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level,” says study co-director Kimberly Parra, “but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth in learning about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities.”

She adds that after learning about the study outcomes, many of the girls wanted to educate the community and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento, CA.

Consumer techniques can reduce personal exposure

Interestingly, another result of the study revealed a minor increase in concentrations of two less common parabens – ethyl and butyl parabens – but the researchers say the levels were small and could be down to either accidental contamination or a substitution not indicated on the product labels.

The team notes that cosmetics and personal products are not well regulated in the US – likely due to a lack of data regarding exposure health effects.

However, there is growing evidence that endocrine-disrupting chemicals are linked to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.

Medical News Today recently reported on a study that suggested a certain phthalate found in food packaging could lead to weight gain, for example.

“We know enough to be concerned about teen girls’ exposure to these chemicals,” says Harley. “Sometimes it’s worth taking a precautionary approach, especially if there are easy changes people can make in the products they buy.”

The researchers conclude their investigation by writing:

”This study demonstrates that techniques available to consumers, such as choosing personal care products that are labelled to be free of phthalates, parabens, triclosan and BP-3 can reduce personal exposure to possible endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”


Collagen is a substance that is naturally produced by the body. However, the production of this substance diminishes as people grow older. The results of the low production include wrinkles, thinning skin and brittle hair among others. There are a number of collagen supplements available on the market that can restore the amount of collagen in the body. Many individuals use collagen supplements to reduce lines or wrinkles.

Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues of the body. It is significant in making certain parts of the body such as nails strong and is also an important factor in joint health. Collagen supplements come in various forms. One of the most common is called Gelatin. For a long time, Gelatin has been used in collagen replacement and has been thought to strengthen nails and hair. Individuals suffering from conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis often take collagen supplements to replace collagen in the joints. The collagen supplements mostly used in such a case has chicken collagen as an active ingredient. There are also collagen creams that are applied to the skin to help reduce wrinkles and lines.

How Collagen Works

Collagen is a form of fibrous protein that is normally present in the bodies of humans and even mammals. It provides a supportive structure for various body tissues such as muscles, bones and ligaments and prevents them from falling apart. It works with another compound called Elastin to provide strength and firmness to the tissues. Collagen also works to keep the skin looking firm, tight, flexible and youthful looking. Young people naturally produce more collagen than older people. With age, the collagen in the body breaks down leading to wrinkles and folds around the mouth. As such, collagen stimulation leads to a more youthful looking skin. The substance has been used for a long time in combating signs of aging.

Collagen in Plastic Surgery

Collagen works to reduce the signs of aging by plumping up the skin, making it firm and flexible due to the fibrous and stable structure of the substance. Many plastic surgeons use the substance to give their clients a youthful appearance. In this case, the collagen is injected directly into the skin in the areas with depressions created by wrinkles. The collagen plumps up the wrinkles making them less noticeable. The collagen injections may last up to six months after which one has to go through the same procedure to refill wrinkles. The procedure may take a few hours or minutes depending on the extent of wrinkles.

Collagen has various other uses including artificial skin construction for burn victims. The collagen used in this procedure is normally obtained from bovine or equine sources to replace lost skin as a result of third party burns. Recently, collagen from human sources has become available for skin replacement in case of burns though it is more expensive.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Many people take collagen supplements because of the substantial health benefits it has on the body. Anecdotal reports state that there are certain improvements when taken. However, little research has been done to support the effectiveness of these supplements. The substance is purported to assist individuals with arthritis and other illnesses affecting the joints or bones. Collagen helps to increase mobility and reduce pain. Collagen is also believed to improve the appearance of the skin, nails and hair. There are various topical health products that are available for enhancing the look of skin. Collagen injections are normally administered by plastic surgeons to correct skin indentations and plump up the skin.

Collagen for Arthritis

Various studies indicate that chicken collagen supplements can be effective in the treatment of pain, swelling as well as stiffness around joints. This type of collagen is mostly used by people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Studies also indicate that collagen supplements used with protein and amino acids supplements help in improving mobility and flexibility in athletes.

Collagen Side Effects

The side effects of taking collagen supplements vary depending on what type of collagen supplement has been used. Collagen creams will have a substantial effect on the wallet and not on the face or skin. Oral collagen supplements will only pose a danger if one has food sensitivities; most collagen supplements are made from products obtained from cows or chickens. Collagen injections may produce certain side effects on individuals with allergic reactions to injections. However, tests are normally done before the injection to determine if the person has this kind of allergy. Those with auto-immune disorders such as herpes simplex may experience a flare-up because the body is reacting to the new substance.