Retinyl Palmitate, Parabens, and PEG’s, Oh My! (a look into a lotion used in the Hospital)

My dad has been in the hospital since the 4th with an intraventricular bleed (brain bleed). I’ve spent a lot of time in this past week sitting in his room and I happened to grab the lotion that was sitting in his room and do a little ingredient scanning. Reading labels is a fun little past time for me and I wanted to share what I found on this one with you all! On a side note if you ever need help scanning a label and can’t find it in EWG, just ask me! I’m happy to help!

Endocrine disruptors are a favorite topic of mine to geek out on. It gets my Nurse Practitioner brain all fired up and seeing this lotion that is being not only rubbed into patient’s bodies but also the workers that work in the facility makes me so angry. Someone asked me in my group why these ingredients are showing up in a medical type of product and my answer was that our healthcare system is so focused on results and evidence based medicine (which isn’t all bad) they haven’t even really dug into what we are talking about here. 

I highlighted some of the big offenders on this ingredient list and took screenshots of the EWG info. I want to say that the EWG has it’s faults, but is the best resource we have right now for looking up ingredients and products. 

What I found on the label———>

  • Methylparaben – EWG score 4, concern = endocrine disruption (I covered parabens in a past blog post HERE)
  • Propylparaben – EWG score 7, concern = endocrine disruption
  • Retinyl Palmitate – EWG score 9, concern = speeds up tumor growth (I wrote a blog post on retinol linked above!)
  • PEG’s – EWG score 3, concern = PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens

What do we mean by the endocrine system? Endocrine signifies hormones that are signaling molecules that regulates various functions of our body such as regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual function and reproductive processes. Endocrine disrupting chemicals scramble those molecular signals and contributes to disease and disability.

Interestingly, tiny amounts of these chemicals can sometimes do more damage than large amounts. It may be counterintuitive, but the body is used to dealing with really small amounts of natural hormones, produced nearly constantly. So when foreign endocrine disruptors from our environment—like our food and our cosmetics—enter our bodies in tiny doses throughout the day, they mimic real life. Any of these changes may produce serious developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune problems. A wide range of substances can disrupt hormones, including DDT and other pesticides, BPA (found in polycarbonate plastics and the resins that line metal food cans), phthalates (found in “fragrances” in detergents and cosmetics) and parabens (common cosmetic preservatives).

Genetics can protect you from these chemicals which is why not everyone is affected. We never know who and when someone is going to be affected which is why I always like to play it safe and do the best I can with controlling these outside factors.

This is a well documented/studied issue including the WHO organization and the Endocrine Society rewriting it’s own statement in 2015 using 13,031 references of the impact that hormone disruptors have on our health. The American Academy of Pediatrics also stated that these chemicals are intentionally and unintentionally added to food that impacts children’s health.

This is a real problem and why I am still here 5 years later fighting for change for everyone.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *