Hormone Health

Could Your Sunscreen Disrupt Your Hormones?

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Learn the Dangerous Ingredients that May Be Lurking in Your Sunscreen

Most types of sunscreen contain toxins that can easily penetrate the skin and cause inflammation, hormone imbalances, and increased toxic burden. Fortunately, there are safer options that still protect from harmful sun rays. Learn how to read your label and discover where to buy safer sunscreen.

Sunscreen 101

As we head into summer, it’s important to remember the impact of the sun’s rays on our skin. Though some sun is good for us (hello, vitamin D!), too much exposure can age our skin, burn us, and leave us at a higher risk for skin cancer.
 
Most of us have likely experienced a bad sunburn and are determined to protect ourselves better this year. So we turn to sunscreen in an effort to keep ourselves safe. But what if our sunscreen itself is dangerous?
 
Most sunscreens on the market contain chemicals that quickly penetrate our skin and disrupt our hormones. Since our skin absorbs much of what we put onto it, we need to guard against slathering ourselves with toxin-laden chemicals. Sunscreen can also provide a false sense of security. Some sunscreens may actually cause more harm than good!
 

Sunscreen Toxins to Avoid

Before you cover yourself or your kids with sunscreen, grab your bottle and check the ingredients for these endocrine-disrupting chemicals:

  • Oxybenzone - This chemical is included in many sunscreens because it absorbs and filters UV rays. However, it also penetrates the skin rapidly and mimics estrogen in the body, leading to hormonal imbalances and potential infertility. (1)

 

  • Octinoxate - This is another inexpensive UV filter, making it a popular choice for many sunscreens. Unfortunately, it is also a potent endocrine disruptor, posing problems for the thyroid and reproductive systems, among others. It is also linked to cell death and difficulty clearing toxins from the body. Octinoxate also causes complete coral bleaching at low doses. In other words, snorkeling with this sunscreen during a tropical vacation contributes to a weakened, diseased state in coral reefs. (2)

 

  • Retinyl palmitate - Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A and a popular choice for sunscreen because it is believed to slow skin aging. The problem is this chemical breaks down in sunlight, creating extra free radicals and leading to skin problems, even skin cancer. Additionally, retinyl palmitate is a powerful reproductive toxicant, which is, again, easily absorbed through the skin and can lead to hormonal imbalances.

 

  • Parabens - These chemicals are included in sunscreens because they delay bacterial and fungal growth. They are, however, also linked to endocrine disruptions, possibly leading to breast cancer and other hormonal difficulties. Again, this is not something we want to be inviting into our bodies!

 

  • Fragrances - These are also commonly found in sunscreens. They are added to make the product more appealing, but they can also cause hormonal disruption and toxin build up. If you see the word “fragrance” on a label, it could include any number of toxic chemicals that legally don’t have to be listed individually. (3)

As you might imagine, slathering our bodies with these chemicals throughout the summer can lead to or worsen hormonal imbalance and create a heavier toxic load for our bodies. Fortunately, we have other choices to help keep us safe from sunburn and hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The Issue with Spray Sunscreen

When it’s time to apply sunscreen, it’s easy to grab an aerosol can and spray on the sunscreen. However, this can cause lung irritation.
 
To make it easier to use as a spray, the sunscreen is broken down into even smaller molecules that fill the air around us as we spray the skin. We (and anyone else around us) end up breathing the chemicals in the air, giving us even more exposure to the chemicals. Now we get them through our lungs and our skin! The use of aerosols has even been linked to a higher risk of breathing problems like asthma.

So if you choose a spray sunscreen, make sure it’s a natural one, and don’t use on yourself or your kiddos if it causes any breathing irritation.

Also, realize that a spray sunscreen does still need to be rubbed in to work most effectively!

Staying Safe in the Sun

Fortunately, we have many options when choosing how to protect ourselves from the sun!

  • Choose a mineral-based sunscreen made with non-nano zinc oxide. Mineral-based sunscreens protect our skin by reflecting and scattering the sunrays. Make sure to pick a sunscreen that uses non-nano zinc oxide, as the regular nanoparticles of zinc are small enough to penetrate the skin and cause problems. (See below for our favorites.)

 

  • Reapply sunscreen every few hours. Sunscreen does not last all day! Make sure to re-apply frequently if you are out in the sun for long periods of time.

 

  • Cover up. We can protect our skin by wearing long sleeves, using a hat, and taking other precautions to avoid direct sunlight as needed.

 

  • Eat a healthy diet. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that our skin will be healthier and less likely to burn quickly when we eat better! Make sure to include healthy fats, antioxidants, and an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

 

Protect Yourself with Safe Sunscreen

Daily Protection

           

          

DeVita brand sunscreen offers a Solar Body Moisturizer and a Solar Protective Moisturizer for the face. These sunscreens go on light and smooth for everyday use. 

My skin is acne-prone and DeVita sunscreens have never clogged my pores. It doesn't feel like you are wearing a sunscreen at all with these products! I apply them on first thing in the morning.

In addition to 19% micronized zinc oxide (it’s non-nano), they contain ingredients that support your skin like aloe, grape seed extract and vitamin C. 

I am so fond of these products that I decided to carry them in our new online shop! You can find the Body Sunscreen here and the Facial Sunscreen here.  

Use coupon code 'safesun' for 15% all the non-toxic personal care products in our shop through June 30.

Fun in the Sun

If you are planning a day at the pool or the beach, you need a stronger product to withstand the elements. When I’m going into full sun exposure,  I turn to Beautycounter’s line of water-resistant products.

Beautycounter offers a line called Countersun with a lotion, a stick and a spray sunscreen. Beautycounter is always free of synthetic fragrance, parabens, and 1,500 other harmful or questionable ingredients. 

Their sunscreens are reef safe, so you can take them to Hawaii, and you can even pack the spray in a checked bag!

In addition to sunscreen, Beautycounter offers skin care, hair care and makeup that perform like any high-end product, but without disrupting your hormones or exposing you to heavy metals.

Receive a free sample pack of tinted moisturizer when you make a Beautycounter purchase of $100 or more through June 30.  

Root Causes of Hashimoto's with Dr. Eric Osansky

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Dr. Eric Osansky is a chiropractic physician, clinical nutritionist, and Functional medicine practitioner. He is back on the show in the event of his new book coming out called "Hashimoto's Triggers". In this episode we talk about Hashimoto's disease & its triggers, the connection between thyroid & SIBO, and essential oils.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:05 Introducing Dr. Eric Osansky's new book
Min 02:55 What are Hashimoto's triggers?
Min 04:25 Food triggers
Min 08:00 Estrogen dominance
Min 12:10 The connection between thyroid & SIBO
Min 18:10 Blood sugar as a trigger for Hashimoto's
Min 21:55 Blue light exposure
Min 23:45 Dr. Osansky's book
Min 24:05 Using essential oils

To learn more about Dr. Osansky, visit his website here and follow him on social media:
Facebook 

Resources:

Hashimoto's Triggers book 
Addressing Hashimoto's and Graves' Disease with Dr. Eric Osansky 
Receive a FREE CHAPTER from Dr. Osansky's book "Hashimoto's Triggers"

Here's a video version of the interview with Dr. Eric Osansky:

Functional Health Solutions Program

To learn more about our private Functional Health Solutions program, please fill out the brief form here. After filling it out, you'll get a short series of emails to teach you about how functional health coaching works, and if it's a fit for you and your case.  As thank you, we provide a discount code at the end of the series for learning about us!

My Real Life Healing Journey with Tami Wilson

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Tami Wilson is part of our staff at WWC and joined our online coaching program as a client about a year ago. She's our special guest this week where we talk about her health history, menstrual cycle, negative self-talk, working at WWC among other topics.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 03:00 Introducing Tami Wilson & her health history
Min 05:12 Puberty & irregular cycles
Min 08:30 Tami's health in high school
Min 11:40 Seeking natural treatment
Min 17:30 Testing with naturopaths
Min 20:35 Online coaching at WWC
Min 23:20 Home cooking & changes experienced
Min 28:20 Negative self-talk
Min 31:45 Personal care products
Min 33:58 Distrust in the medical community
Min 37:10 Testing on the WWC coaching program
Min 43:50 Shifts & improvements experienced
Min 49:30 Working at WWC

Resources:

Functional Health Solutions sign-up form
Leaky Gut Solutions webinar May 22, 2018 2:00 PM in Pacific Time
Perfect Periods Program
Improve Your Genetic Performance with Dr. Ben Lynch
High Energy Morning Detox Guide
WWC Shop

Functional Health Solutions Program

To learn more about our private Functional Health Solutions program, please fill out the brief form here. After filling it out, you'll get a short series of emails to teach you about how functional health coaching works, and if it's a fit for you and your case.  As thank you, we provide a discount code at the end of the series for learning about us!

Three Great Hacks for Hormonal Imbalance

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Hormone imbalance can rear its ugly head in myriad ways: fatigue, moodiness, cramps, bloating, headaches and more. 

There are some ‘hormone helpers’ available to you that cost just pennies per use and can shift things quickly.

I’m talking about essential oils and there are many of them, but today I’ll deep dive on just three so you can start building your oils knowledge to help yourself. These three oils are all personal favorites of mine that I use weekly!

 

1. Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata)

 

When you are under stress and your hormones don’t seem to be supporting you, returning to a feeling of nourished feminity is key! Ylang ylang helps with mood and beauty and leaves you feeling like your best self.

  • The intoxicating smell of ylang-ylang is super relaxing and makes me feel like a queen!  It helps me feel restored and sensuous at the end of the day, and ready for sleep. I usually use it after bathing as a body oil.
  • If you suffer from hormonal mood swings, either anger or depression, ylang-ylang can help smooth out the bumps in your monthly roller coaster.
  • Ylang ylang has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac. Most of our clients report their sex drive as low, so this oil can help you get in that relaxed and ready mood.
  • It is also fantastic for skin and hair.  For skin, it is soothing and nourishing and supports aging or irritated skin. Shake a drop into your hand and apply with your moisturizer.
  • For hair, it is so smoothing, and I’ve been experimenting with using it in a homemade leave-in conditioner for the ends of my hair. Or shake several drops into your conditioner bottle and mix well.

2.  Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is an oil I’ve been using a long, long time on my acupuncturist clients when I was giving a localized massage. I learned basil to be a muscle relaxant, and I stayed dedicated to using this oil. People always loved it and tried to identify the scent.

I think I must have also enjoyed the benefits of basil, which is why I stuck with it!  Since giving up my acupuncture practice last summer, I got away from basil. But we recently reunited and I am in love again!

  • The scent of basil is very calming. It helps relieve chronic stress and promotes restful sleep. As chronic stress is often what is robbing our hormones, managing stress is key! Basil is supportive of your adrenal glands.
  • As I mentioned earlier, it’s a muscle relaxant, so it’s useful for menstrual cramps or restless leg syndrome.
  • Yes, you can also use it for cooking! Add a couple drops to your pasta sauce before serving.

 

3.  Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint oil sounds too simple to be very powerful, but it is! Many of the symptoms that arise during hormonal changes can be relieved with peppermint.

  • Create a mist of water and few drops of peppermint oil to get relief during a hot flash. (Ratio is about 1 drop per teaspoon of water. Shake well before spraying.)
  • Use to help for headaches during your period or at the end of long day. (Dilute in carrier oil and rub on neck, shoulders, temples.)
  • Use during your work day to increase energy and improve your focus. (Peppermint actually increases circulation to the brain.)
  • And, my favorite use, use on your scalp to improve hair growth and prevent hair loss. (Shake into shampoo bottle or create a spray with water and keep in the shower.)
  • It’s also great to have on hand for an upset stomach or to freshen your breath.
To learn more about the incredible power of essential oils for women's health, join us for an educational email series by filling out this form or visit our essential oils page.

Throughout the month of April 2018, doTERRA will give you back $50 in credit when you become a new member at the $100 level. It’s a great deal and a chance to spoil yourself with a few more decadent oils.

What You Need to Know About Phthalates

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Some years back, BPA (a type of plastic), earned a bad name as a health disruptor. The market responded by slapping a ‘BPA free’ label wherever it could, and often just replaced BPA (bisphenol A) for  BPS (bisphenol S), which has the same estrogen-like compounds.

While it was great that consumer awareness about plastics began at this time, and it also was great that many consumers started using glass and steel containers, I would not say that we, as a culture, got a deep and clear understanding of synthetic ingredients following the BPA uproar. 

Let's Learn About Phthalates

So let’s continue our education and add another ‘bad plastic’ to the list: phthalates.  Phthalates is a hard word to pronounce ( say “thal - lates” ) and even harder to spell, but I want you to get to know this group of chemicals, as they are probably more ubiquitous than BPA, and a lack of awareness is leaving you literally soaking in a sea of phthalates.

Phthalates keep plastic soft- like in those disposable, pre-filled water bottles, plastic hoses, plastic wrap, even IV bags in hospitals. But that’s not all phthalates do. They also help keep fragrance lingering for longer, so they are a part of about every ‘fragrance’ mix you see on a label.

Large companies are now pumping fragrance around their buildings as a signature scent. Hotels are doing it, and even Goodwill Industries has gotten into it. But I digress...

The Problem with Phthalates

The problem with phthalates is that they are obesogens and endocrine disruptors. This means that they contribute to a toxic load that can make you fat, tired and grumpy.  They can also contribute to fertility issues and man boobs.

The tricky thing about environmental toxins is that we are all exposed to multiple toxins from multiple sources, so it becomes difficult to isolate any one source as the cause of disease.

However, there is a growing body of study linking phthalates and other chemicals to health disorders, especially in unborn and small children:

Associations of prenatal environmental phenol and phthalate biomarkers with respiratory and allergic diseases among children aged 6 and 7 years.

Early Prenatal Phthalate Exposure, Sex Steroid Hormones, and Birth Outcomes.

Impact of diisobutyl phthalate and other PPAR agonists on steroidogenesis and plasma insulin and leptin levels in fetal rats.

Association between use of phthalate-containing medication and semen quality among men in couples referred for assisted reproduction

 

Are We Being Protected?

 

According to the FDA, the higher levels of phthalate metabolites now found in urinary testing cannot be tied to symptom development. (Example of testing of phthalate levels)

“While the CDC report noted elevated levels of phthalates excreted by women of child-bearing age, neither this report nor the other data reviewed by FDA established an association between the use of phthalates in cosmetic products and a health risk. Based on this information, FDA determined that there wasn’t a sound, scientific basis to support taking regulatory action against cosmetics containing phthalates.” (source)

It appears this information has not been reviewed since 2002.  However, I did find an article that stated that, in 2016, the FDA was going to reconsider the use of phthalates in food packaging and equipment (source), but I have not seen any further reference to their response to this public petition.

 

What Can You Do?

As I mentioned earlier, we all have multiple exposures to chemicals in our modern world. But we can reduce our exposure significantly through our own choices!  Most of those choices are made in what we buy to eat and use around the home. If you want to avoid phthalates, here are some easy tips:

  • Avoid buying those pre-filled soft water bottles. Instead, invest in a home water filter and keep glass bottles of filtered water ready to go when headed out of the house.
  • Eat organic as much as possible. Phthalates are part of some pesticides.
  • Avoid processed foods wrapped in plastic like pre-made burgers. Also, store your food in glass- not plastic.
  • If you don't need your receipt, ask the sales clerk to throw it out for you.
  • Don’t get your nails done. Nail salons are so full of chemicals! Just buff, trim and oil your nails to keep them healthy.
  • Make your own air freshener.  This is super easy and avoids phthalates.  I have a video on it here.
  • If you visit a place with a troubling amount of fragrance, comment! I just wrote my local Goodwill Industries and cited some sources!
  • Avoid the word ‘fragrance’ like the plague.  Instead, buy unscented or items scented with essential oils. Be careful, because everything from kitty litter to trash bags is now being scented.
  • Learn more. This is a huge topic but little by little you become an expert!  

This week and next I have two live webinars available to learn with me about non-toxic products:
 

1. Choosing the Best Products for Your Skin Type

We will spend a little time talking about why Beautycounter is different in terms of product quality (both non-toxic and high performance) and then we'll focus on their skincare lines to help you choose a good fit for you.

Apr 17, 2018 2:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register here.  

I chose to work with Beautycounter as it allows me to recommend high-performing, safer products online. You can browse our Beautycounter store here: https://www.beautycounter.com/womenswellness

 

2. What Women Want: A Webinar on Essential Oils for Women’s Health and Beauty

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Essential oils are a great way to find non-toxic health solutions in your home. After working in women's health for many years, I think I know what women struggle with! I'll be talking about sleep, anxiety, hair loss, bloating, food cravings and more. Hope you can join us live to ask questions and get special deals!

Apr 24, 2018 2:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register here.

 What are your experiences with phthalates? Do you try to avoid them?

Your Period After 40 with Dr. Lara Briden

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Dr. Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor and the period revolutionary—leading the change to better periods. Her book Period Repair Manual is out on its second edition with new sections on perimenopause, how to come off hormonal birth control and the different options for birth control. In this episode, we talk about the new book, perimenopause, managing heavy periods, and histamine intolerance.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:10 Dr. Lara Briden's new book

Min 03:45 Feedback from Dr. Briden's first book

Min 04:30 What is perimenopause?

Min 05:55 The connection between hormones and symptoms of perimenopause

Min 11:10 Dr. Briden's rescue prescription for perimenopause moods:

  • Magnesium
  • Natural Progesterone
  • Taurine
  • Magnolia
  • Ziziphus
  • Ashwagandha
  • Vitamin B6

Min 20:20 Pregnancy in perimenopause women
Min 23:35 Managing heavy periods/flooding

Min 29:30 Going into perimenopause with health conditions

Min 35:35 Histamine intolerance

Min 44:15 Dr. Lara Briden's resources & help for teenagers

To learn more about Dr. Briden, visit her website here and follow her on social media: 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Instagram 

Resources:

Period Repair Manual book
Perfect Periods Facebook Group
Hormone Balance After 40 summit
Prof Jerilynn Prior's article prescribing progesterone for heavy periods
Lara's article "The Curious Link Between Estrogen and Histamine Intolerance"

Here's a video version of the interview with Dr. Lara Briden:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

 

Eating for Your Hormones with Katie Bressack

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Katie Bessack is a Certified Holistic Health Coach from California. She's also a Corporate Wellness Expert who supports companies through corporate wellness programs. In this episode we talk about some of the fundamentals of self-care for women's health like getting the right kind of fats, finding healthy snacks and getting a good night's sleep.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:25 Introduction to Katie Bressack
Min 05:00 Katie's transition to women's health
Min 11:00 Eating for your hormones
Min 15:20 How healthy foods contribute to hormonal health
Min 18:10 Eating fruits
Min 25:50 What to eat for breakfast
Min 27:45 Food recommendations for women's health
Min 33:10 Uses of iron & magnesium
Min 32:15 Katie's seed recommendations & tips for cramps
Min 36:45 Katie's resources
Min 39:45 Detaching yourself better every day

To learn more about Katie, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook page 
Facebook group 
Twitter 
Instagram 
Pinterest 

Resources:

Katie's Free Gift
Women’s Hormonal Balancing Trail Mix 
Clinical Practitioner Training survey

Here's a video version of the interview with Katie Bressack:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative