Recently we learned that scented candles may kill you, and now there’s another health risk lurking in your bathroom: shampoo. While it won’t necessarily cause your untimely demise, shampoo is now being blamed for making you fat. A group of doctors at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York are claiming that the chemicals in a number of beauty products, such as shampoo, soaps and lotions, can alter our hormonal balance, thus contributing to weight gain.
Researchers say that phthalates and Bisphenol-A — common ingredients found in 70 percent of the cosmetic products tested — are “chemical calories.” It’s these chemicals that have been proven to interfere with hormonal balance. And when our hormones are off kilter (as during puberty and menopause) things like weight gain can happen.
Tam Fry, a spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum, told the Daily Mail that many doctors buy into the theory or hormonal disruption and weight gain caused by chemicals for adults and even young girls:
There is particular concern about whether these chemicals with an oestrogenic effect are contributing to earlier puberty in girls. Girls reach puberty when they are at a weight that can support the reproductive cycle and this is getting earlier and earlier. Whether that’s a result of straightforward over-eating by a generation of young girls or whether there is an additional chemical effect, we don’t yet know.
And it’s not just females who were found to have weight gain linked with these chemicals. In another study, researchers found the same compounds contributed to belly fat, obesity and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, in men.
The bottom line? Don’t panic and stop lathering, rinsing and repeating, and certainly don’t blame weight problems on your shampoo — because over-eating and under-exercising are still the main culprits — but you might want to consider opting for natural products whenever possible.