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Personal Care Products: Practical Suggestions

General Strategy

Many of the products we put on our bodies, including some shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics, contain chemicals that have been shown to interfere with normal estrogen-regulated processes. These substances are added to personal care products to enhance their features and to make them last longer. In addition, and most worrisome, some hair products aimed at women and girls in the African American community contain estrogen and placental hormones, substances that are directly linked to changes in breast development. Reading labels and choosing less contaminated substances, or just using less of them, may make sense.

  • Be especially careful to avoid hair products containing estrogens, placental extracts, or other hormonal additives.
  • Help adolescent daughters pick safer products before personal care habits are set. Young girls are especially susceptible to the damage done by these chemicals. Early intervention can have a vast impact.
  • Limit the amount of products used. For example, only use lotion when necessary rather than everyday or after every shower.
  • Check labels on all personal care products; avoid products that list parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben, and butylparaben) or phthalates [di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP, commonly found in nail polish) and di(2-ehtylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, found in perfumes)] in their ingredients. Avoid make-up that contains butylated hydroxyanisole. (For some ideas, visit