We are dedicating a lot of attention to the INCI of cosmetics, explaining in several posts how to recognize and, if possible, avoid, in creams, serums, shampoos the substances considered more dangerous. Because a soft and scented face cream that promises a velvet skin may hide risks as a consequence of some chemical ingredients inserted in the formula and we think that it is important to make known how to protect our health and the health of the people we love. Noteworthy is the latest article published in the first days of December by a team of University of California, Berkeley, on the journal Human Reproduction that links some chemical substances that can be easily found in daily cosmetics with puberty at younger age in girls (Harley et al, Human Reproduction, Dec 2018).
The scientists started from the observation that in the last 20 years girls and boys have been experiencing puberty at younger ages and this is linked with an increased risk of developing some types of cancer and mental problems. Between 1999 and 2000 pregnant women have been recruited in order to analyze the presence in their body of substances such as triclosan, used in mouthwashes, toothpaste and soaps, and phthalates, that can be often found in scented products such as soaps, shampoos and perfumes. Also the children have been followed until the age of 13 in order to study their growth. What the researchers observed was that the daughters of mothers who had high levels of phthalates and triclosan in their body during pregnancy experienced puberty at earlier ages, in particular every time the concentrations of phthalates and triclosan in the mother's urine doubled, the timing of developmental milestones in girls shifted approximately one month earlier. The same effect was not observed in boys. Beyond some limitations of the study, for example the fact that the sample of women was restricted to an area in California and not generalized, the results are very interesting and also worrying and should make us think about the cosmetics that we use every day for our beauty and that may have effects even on the hormones of our body and on our children.