Planning Pregnancy? or Battling Infertility?

Why every woman should understand the ingredients in her skin care, if she is trying to get pregnant or is already pregnant

Most women know that when they become pregnant, there is a need to smarten up and realize how critical it is to eat well, and to avoid certain foods such as caffeine or fish, due to its elevated levels of mercury. There is also another side of the story for those wishing to conceive, and are battling with infertility.

Eating well and eliminating stress are important, but there is an even bigger picture to a healthy pregnancy, conceiving, and the toxic "body burdon." The term body burdon pertains to the slew of environmental as well as manmade chemicals. Chemicals made by man are fat soluble and not readily broken down by metabolic processes-and because of this, can be stored in body fats and build up to dangerous levels.

If a woman breastfeeds, female offspring are potentially most at risk of accumulative toxins. Over the past several years, studies have come out to show that chemicals have been found in the breast milk of American women. A study of the breast milk of American women published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in 2003 found "unexpectedly high levels" of chemical fire retardants in every participant tested.

The average level of bromine-based fire retardants in the milk of 20 first-time mothers was 75 times the average found in recent European studies. Milk from two study participants contained the highest levels of fire retardants ever reported in the United States, and milk from several of the mothers in EWG's study had among the highest levels of these chemicals yet detected worldwide.

While the news of these chemicals in breast milk is shocking and disturbing to most moms, doctors and experts agree that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks and breast is still best.

On and in our body each day American women reach for shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, and moisturizers. We apply blush, eye shadow, mascara, and lipstick, then maybe dab on some nail polish and perfume. We look good, we smell good - AND we have just exposed ourselves to 200 different synthetic chemicals.

It is not just a makeup problem - but a snapshot of the BIG PICTURE

We are seeing more benign lumps in breasts, thyroid problems, and infertility, which have become an increasingly common experience for many women. As a Western society, we are at an interesting disconnect - looking at how to treat disease-but not how to prevent disease.

Chemicals also affecting men - and some chemicals in these products are particularly problematic for men. We're all exposed to phthalates, and phthalates interfere with the production of testosterone, and they're also linked to health effects like lower sperm counts and testicular tumors.

We now know that what we eat passes into your bloodstream and to your baby, however it is as important to know what you are absorbing through your skin. Our tissue uptakes 64 percent of everything we use topically-everything we put on our skin or hair. Many manmade cosmetic chemicals are fat soluble and are not readily broken down by metabolic processes, and because of this, can be stored in body fats and build up to dangerous levels. Babies are potentially most at risk because during breastfeeding, further exposure to the pollutants stored in body fats occurs.

Since personal care products are not regulated by the FDA, you may be surprised that a number of controversial ingredients and known carcinogenics are found in our skin, hair, and body care. This is why it is up to you to decide what you feel at peace with as to what you're putting onto, and therefore into, your body, and potentially passing on to your baby.

For years, retinoids, salicylic acid, and accutane have been declared unsafe to use during pregnancy. Through research, this list continues to grow. Pregnant women should be aware of other questionable ingredients such as parabens, PEGs, and acrylamides. Often women have reactions to fragrance, mineral oils and allergens during pregnancy.

Seek out products that are natural and do not contain parabens, PEGs, SLS, glycols, acrylates, mineral oils, silicones or artificial fragrance. To help change the face of this industry, stop wasting your money on bottom-line companies that use cheap additives or fillers in their products.

Put it to action and test yourself!

Are you aware that the European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals used in making skin care products? The USA has only banned 9.

SIMPLE SOLUTION: Take this quiz to find out if you may be using products that could adversely affect you and your family's health.

Take a look at the ingredients of the beauty products you use. Then answer the following questions True or False:

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate appears as an ingredient in my shampoo or other hair products.
  2. I notice a combination of sodium lauryl sulfate and TEA (triethanolamine, DEA (diethanolamine), or MEA (monoethanolamine) in one or more of the hair products I use.
  3. The word "methylparaben" appears on a label.
  4. My product lists "fragrance" on the label.
  5. I see the words "dibutyl phthalate, or DBP," or "diethylhexyl phthalate, or DEHP" on a label.

If you answered "True" to any of the questions, you may want to reconsider using those products. Here's why:

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a suspected liver or gastrointestinal toxiocant and sometimes causes eye and skin irritation, hair loss, and allergic reactions.
  2. When sodium lauryl sulfate is combined with TEA, DEA, or MEA, it can cause the formation of nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.
  3. Methylparaben is a commonly used disinfectant in many products. But recent research has shown that, when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, it actually causes wrinkles and liver spots.
  4. Artificial fragrances have been linked to a wide variety of health problems. Artificial musk, for example, has been shown to weaken the immune system.
  5. Phthalates-plasticizers found in numerous cosmetics and other products-have been shown to be hormone disruptors that can cause birth defects and other harm.

Find out more about the toxic chemicals hiding in your beauty products at, The Environmental Working Group (

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