Why are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Bad for Health and Skin?
As humans, we only started seriously to acknowledge the risks of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the last 20 years.
According to the Endocrine Society, our multiple endocrine (hormonal) systems, including those involved in foetal development, immune response, reproduction, metabolism, obesity, and brain development can be targets of EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals)". EDCs have also been associated with DNA epigenetic modification across multiple generations, affecting the children and even grandchildren of those exposed to the original insult.
There are also susceptible periods in our lives when the body is more sensitive to all hormones and endocrine disrupting chemicals (because EDCs mimic the hormones), such as pregnancy and puberty.
How safe is a cosmetic product?
Cosmetic regulations around the world set the standards for product safety. The standards set by the EU and the UK are one of the highest in the world. However, the regulated list of endocrine disrupting chemicals is still very short, while many are suspected but haven't made the list yet. The process of getting a suspected ingredient on the official list takes decades. Then the brands get another 7 years of grace period to stop selling those products containing the banned substance.
So, at Skin Diligent, we went further than regulations. We diligently tested all our skincare products for oestrogenic endocrine disruptions, a test called OEDT. The test is an innovative in-vitro test on living cells developed jointly by French academia and industry.
There are only 16 chemicals confirmed as EU Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (14 of which are environmental disruptors and only 6 are human endocrine disruptors). But there are hundreds of ingredients (mostly synthetic) that make up the suspected list.
We know from our own testing that there are botanical ingredients that are not on the confirmed or suspected endocrine disruptor lists, but have tested as endocrine disrupting. We would caution trendy ingredients.
The 'cocktail effect' of chemistry is about the sum of the total
A 'cocktail effect' can create a situation where an ingredient gets 'triggered' by the chemical effect resulting from the mix of ingredients and test as endocrine disruptor. So, the absence of a known endocrine disrupting ingredient is not a guarantee of the safety of the product. Only a test of the final formula can certify this.
This is why testing all final skincare products for endocrine disrupting chemicals is one of Skin Diligent's pillars. Currently, the testing technology for skincare products on living cells is limited to oestrogenic disruptors, as these have been judged as the most threatening ones, affecting the human reproduction.