A group of teens and scientists just created some major waves in the beauty industry this week. Releasing the results of The HERMOSA Study, which shocked many people and vindicated those of us who have been saying we need to get rid of hormone disrupting chemicals from beauty products now!
“Hermosa” in Spanish means “pretty”, which is appropriate since the beauty industry heavily markets to teens who are the highest users and consumers of beauty products.
According to Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, “Research has suggested that they [teens] use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”
The scary part is that teenagers are particularly vulnerable in formative years of growth and puberty to hormone disrupting chemicals commonly found in personal care products, cosmetics, fragrance, hair products, soaps and sunscreens.
So that’s exactly what the HERMOSA Study focused on when it partnered with UC Berkeley, Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas and a team of youth researchers from the CHAMACOS Youth Council.
The HERMOSA Study Methods
12 male and female high school students helped design and carry out the study. 100 female latina teenagers were asked to forgo their traditional cosmetics and, for a period of just three days, use products provided to them which did not contain:
Each participant provided a urine sample at the start of the three-day study to be compared with a urine sample at the end.
The HERMOSA Study (Shocking) Results
Urine samples revealed significant drops in levels of phthalates, parabens, triclosan and oxybenzone in the body in an incredibly short amount of time.
At the end of 3 day trial period researchers found:
- 27% reduction of metabolites of diethyl phthalate, commonly used in fragrances
- 44% reduction of methylparaben, used as preservatives in cosmetics
- 45% reduction of propylparaben, used as preservatives in cosmetics
- 36% reduction of triclosan, found in antibacterial soaps and some brands of toothpaste,
- 36% reduction of benzophenone-3 (BP-3), found in some sunscreens under the name oxybenzone
Sara Yang of the Berkeley News made sure to include, “The researchers noted that cosmetics and personal care products are not well-regulated in this country, and that getting data about health effects from exposure, particularly long-term ones, is difficult. But they say there is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.”
How Teens Reacted to the Results
Kimberly Parra the study co-director said, “After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento.”
One teen researcher and study co-author Maritza Cárdenas shared:
Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.
My goal for Green Beauty Team has always been to help you be as educated as possible. We ask that you don’t keep this to yourself, but go out and and share this information with anyone who can benefit from it, so we can not only make better choices for ourselves, but also be examples for our young people of how to live healthfully.
Kim Harley sums it up beautifully, saying:
We know enough to be concerned about teen girls’ exposure to these chemicals. Sometimes it’s worth taking a precautionary approach, especially if there are easy changes people can make in the products they buy.
If you need help reducing your exposure to hormone disrupting cosmetics, download our FREE “Toss the Toxins Toolkit” by clicking the button below.
Who will you share this news with today? Let us know if you liked this article and how it impacted you in the comments below.
Photo by Alba Soler. Graphic design by Emily Blue.