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With women choosing to start their families at later ages, new research which indicates that the simple use of makeup and other cosmetics could bring on menopause anywhere from 2.3 to perhaps as much as 15 years early is a grave cause for concern. 

The analysis, conducted by a team of scientists led by Dr. Natalia Grindler of Washington University in St. Louis, involved examination of the level of phthalates in the urine of 5,700 women.

Phthalates are a common group of chemicals that have widespread use in makeup and other personal care items such as shampoo, body lotions. cleansers, perfume, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray.

Phthalates are used in many other types of products too including children’s toys (even those for mouthing and teething!), food packaging, paint, wax, print ink, and the list goes on and on.  From a manufacturer’s point of view, phthalates are desirable as they greatly increase a product’s flexibility, transparency, and/or durability.

According to Dr. Grindler, women studied who had the highest levels of phthalates in their blood were found to start menopause a full 2.3 years before the other women.  This is not the first research to indicate the negative impact of phthalates on reproduction.   A study released in October 2012 in the journal Reproductive Toxicology indicated that mice experience reproductive abnormalities when exposed to the phthalate DEHP.

Even more concerning, Dr. Grindler said in her remarks at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s conference in San Diego, California that some women may be going through the change as early as their mid-thirties as a result of chemical overexposure much of it likely from bad makeup.

“Early menopause has a lot of impact on your health. We absolutely think these chemicals have the potential to affect ovarian function and human reproduction.

“There’s a lot that we don’t know at this point, our research is still preliminary, but it’s enough to suggest it is having a detrimental impact in the long term.”

Menopause in your mid-thirties?  This is a huge problem for women who put off starting a family in order to pursue a career.  I myself didn’t have my first child until I was 34 so this particular study really hit a nerve with me.

How to Avoid the Bad Makeup Trap?

There is no doubt that it is well-nigh impossible for women to avoid phthalates altogether as they are ubiquitous in our toxic soup modern environment.  There are definitely ways to minimize exposure, however, and dietary strategies can be employed to maximize the body’s ability to handle whatever phthalates come its way.

#1:  Stop Using Conventional Makeup and Personal Care Products

Stopping the use of conventional makeup and using only toxin free makeup made with natural ingredients is a huge step as the skin absorbs chemicals into the blood quite readily.  According to the industry magazine In-Cosmetics, the average women who uses bad makeup and other personal care products absorbs over 4 lbs of chemicals each and every year!

Don’t forget hair care products too! The chemicals in these products easily migrate onto skin or even your pillowcase. One easy way to style hair without toxins is learning how to make natural hair gel.

#2:  Eat Fresh Foods and Minimize Anything in a Package

Eating fresh food and minimizing the use of packaged food would help enormously as well because phthalates are widely used in the packaging of processed foods.

#3:  Eat Liberal Amounts of Homemade Bone Broth

Plenty of homemade bone broths in the diet on a regular basis is a dietary strategy that can help tremendously with any phthalate exposure that does occur despite a woman’s best efforts.  Bone broth is extremely high in the amino acid glycine via natural gelatin which is essential for the liver to adequately perform its detoxification duties.  In fact, the liver is greatly hampered if there isn’t enough glycine in the diet so it makes sense to consume liberal amounts of bone broth which includes glycine in a form that is very easily absorbed.

Dr. Reuben Ottenberg in 1935 suggested in the Journal of the American Medical Association that patients with jaundice or other liver problems be administered 5-10 grams of gelatin per day as food or via a powdered gelatin supplement to supply additional glycine to the diet in order to encourage normalized hepatic function.

#4:  Take a Daily Dose of High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil

According to Frederick W. Plapp, Jr., PhD, true Vitamin A (retinol, not beta carotene), and vitamin A hormone (retinoic acid), are necessary for normal functioning of the immune system and for the protein synthesis processes involved in reproduction.

Environmental chemicals such as phthalates interfere with vitamin A pathways so a daily dose of high quality cod liver oil containing natural Vitamin A (not just any old brand from the healthfood store which usually contain synthetic Vitamin A or inadequate levels of natural Vitamin A) is crucial to provide the extra reserves needed for the body to function properly – particularly on a reproductive level.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


More Information on Healthy Personal Care Habits

Why Store Deodorant Stinks

Go Primal with Your Personal Care


Bad Makeup “triggers early menopause”

Early Menopause: Study Says Common Item Can be a Trigger