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Xenoestrogens in Personal Care Products & Breast Cancer

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Xenoestrogens in Personal Care Products & Breast Cancer

Using nutritional support to enhance overall breast health is a wonderful thing to do. But we need to realize that there are so many outside influences that can undermine our efforts to prevent breast cancer. Sex hormonal imbalances are common issues based on my observations of both my female and male clients. Instead of jumping right onto using supplements or any protocols to clear out their system, I am most interested in detecting what caused their excessive amount of these hormones in the first place. Here is what I have discovered:

Among these clients who have sex hormonal imbalances, most of them use perfumes or personal care products that contain perfumes or fragrances. A couple of my male clients were also detected with high levels of estrogen in their system, which led to many body dysfunctions. Even though they don't use perfume or fragrance-containing products, I found out that their wives are long-term users of these products. So let's make some sense out of this.

What is the association between excessive estrogen and breast cancer?

Estrogen is produced in various organs of a woman’s body. The role of estrogen in the development of some breast cancers is well documented in the medical literature. About 2 out of 3 breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive. For these cancers, high estrogen levels help the cancer cells grow and spread.

What is xenoestrogens?

Many personal care products contain estrogenic toxins such as:

  • synthetic chemical preservatives known as parabens (methyl-, ethyl-, benzyl-, propyl-, butyl- isopropyl- or isobutyl-)

  • proprietary ingredients known collectively as fragrances which can consist of over 2,000 different chemicals, including carcinogens and other toxins.

  • perfumes which also contain proprietary fragrances as well as alcohol

These toxic chemicals are nowadays called xenoestrogens and are reported to cause breast cells to produce estrogen in excessive amounts. Studies have shown that these toxins can have estrogenic activity on ER+ breast cells which could lead to breast cancer.

What are the personal care products that commonly contain these xenoestrogens?

They are skincare products, makeup products, antiperspirants, hair sprays, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, perfumes, nail polish, etc.

Can personal care products cause excessive progesterone?

Yes, some personal care products do contain ingredients that can increase progesterone levels. While estrogen dominance is a lot more common, I have encountered a few cases in my practice where women have excessive amounts of progesterone. Progesterone is also associated with cancers.

So how do we avoid these toxic products?

It's pretty simple: First, only choose to buy the products that are labeled free of the chemicals listed above. Second, run away from anything that has a perfume and fragrance smell.

What to do with the current products I use?

Please find the toxic ratings of the products you use at EWG Skin Seep database website at In this database, you can also find less toxic and safer products. EWG also created an app called HealthyLiving you can easily download onto your cell phone. I find it super helpful and convenient to scan the bar code on the product label to get a toxic rating by using this app.

Jenny Noland, MS, CNS, CNGS, CKNS, LDN, MBA

Functional Nutritionist in Eugene, Oregon

Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist

Board-Certified Nutritional Genomics Specialist

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Personalized Nutrition Therapy for Metabolic Dysfunction and Cancer Care

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