Friday, June 21, 2013

Hormone Disorders And Essential Oils.... The not so well known dangers.

The following is an article I wrote back in 2009 that was published by The American Chronicle.  I decided rather than writing a whole new blog post I would just re-post the article here.  For more information on essential oils and hormone disruption check out Dr. Peter Eckhart's books and website.  He is an endocrinologist from Colorado that has done ground breaking studies on the hormonal effects of certain essential oils and how they negatively affect those struggling with estrogen driven diseases and symptoms.  He found that some of his patients despite proper medical treatment, and a healthy lifestyle could not get well and get their hormones balanced.  He discovered that when certain chemicals and also certain essential oils and other plant oils were removed from their skin care regimen, they were suddenly able to make a full recovery.  He observed this over and over, and decided to do more research.  Dr. Eckhart also found out from one of his patients, (who is a dear friend of mine) that I loved formulating skin care products, and ended up contacting me (very much to my shock and surprise!) and asking if I would be interested in developing a line of skin care products for his patients that would not include any of the natural ingredients that contain plant based estrogens.  He was un-able to find any company on the market that had a whole line of product dedicated to being "estrogen free" for those struggling with hormonal disorders.  His patients were very frustrated that his regimen for healing included certain limitations in skin care, but there was no line of products Dr. Eckhart could recommend for them to use.  And there is a good reason for this because many of the ingredients he asks his patients to avoid are very hard to "get around" in skin care because they hare what make the products nice to use, smooth, preserved etc.  So that is how I became connected with Dr. Eckhart and his research.  The ingredients his patients were instructed to avoid include, but were not limited to Lavender oil, Tea Tree oil, Rosemary oil, Castor oil, and Hemp Oil as well as any chemicals, preservatives, and stabilizers.  And thus the mad scientist in me emerged yet again as for months on end as I worked at getting effective formulas that did not include a very large list of ingredients typically used in natural skin care.
I feel I would be remiss if I did not include this research in my blogging here on essential oils.  Please note, that while these oils only contain small amounts of phytoestrogens (plant based estrogens) they can be more than enough to have damaging effects on those struggling with estrogen dominance.  Sometimes people wonder why I recommend an oil for a certain problem other than for example Lavender, which might be the obvious choice in a situation, but this article explains why I will suggest another oil many times if it can be just as effective for a given situation.  The three oils I mention in this article are particularly overused, and if the same affect can be achieved with another oil, sometimes it is wise to do so.  Thanks for reading!  Enjoy!

Estrogen Dominance, Hot Flashes, Skin Problems And Migraines.  Is There A Link?

One of the most frequent questions I get in dealing with cosmetics and skin care products is, "do you have anything to cure my _________" fill in the blank.  These ailments can range from eczema, acne, rosacea, dry itchy skin, overly oily skin, and the list goes on and on.  We never seem to think about our skin until there is a problem with it.  We look in the mirror and suddenly notice the bags under our eyes, or the wrinkles forming around our mouth, or that zit on our chin flashing like a neon sign.  
As the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."  And this couldn't be turer in regards to our skin.

The skin is the largest organ of the body, proceses more toxins than our liver, and repairs itself on a daily basis.  When food is consumed, the body processes it through the digestive system, the liver and kidneys filter out the toxins and then the food is absorbed into the blood stream.  However, with the skin, what is placed on it is directly absorbed into the blood stream.  Chemicals, dyes, preservatives, etc., that we would never dream of putting in our mouths have a straight path from our skin to the blood stream where they directly effect our health, energy, and beauty.

Skin care products have been very overlooked in the health care world.  Emphasis is put on supplements, healthy eating, and exercise, and while these things are beneficial and very necessary to a healthy lifestyle, a major piece of the puzzel has been missed.  People with severe allergies, skin issues, hormonal issues, severe hot flashes, headaches, chronic pain, cancer, and other ailments have found skin care products to be the "missing link" in their treatment plans.  As is attested in the research and treatment of the many patents of Dr. Peter Eckhart.

Ingredients that are harmful to our health and skin sneak into every area of skin care, and change forms and names like a chameleon.  Some of the most well known harmful chemicals are: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and propylene glycol, among others.  However, parabens, phosphates, fragrances, and even some essential oils are being linked to skin issues, hormonal disorders and even some chronic pain issues.  Many products that label themselves as "natural" products still contain these chemicals and confuse buyers.  Shopping for truly natural products has become and extremely frustrating process for many health conscious individuals, and it is our goal to help inform and educate.

When the concept of the "essential oil" first starting gaining popularity in our modern western society, it hit the world of natural skin care like a bombshell.  Everyone was excited about the highly touted healing properties of the oils and the fact that you could smell good and get well at the same time.
Now, years later, after the craze of the oils has slowed down a bit, some startling discoveries regarding the negative effects of some essential oils are being made.  One of the more surprising links recently discovered is that what we are putting on our skin seems to directly impact our hormones.  This particularly applies to essential oils.  And many products that are "natural" contain one or more essential oils that can drastically impact our hormones.  Those who have balanced hormones and bodies that are functioning properly may feel no adverse effects from using these oils.  However, research shows that women with ailments such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, hair thinning, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), hot flashes, and many others are adversely impacted by the Estrogen like effects of these oils.  So, while we may be making our skin and noses happy, we could be feeding underlying issues for many health and skin problems.
Why is research showing that that some essential oils increase symptoms of hormone related diseases?  It is because of the ability of some plant substances, as well as certain chemicals to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.  These substances are known as phytoestrgens, or foreign estrogens.  These substances, whether plant or chemical can mimic estrogen in the body, enhance the effects of estrogen, or cause symptoms of estrogen depletion, or dominance, thus causing severe hormonal imbalance, which may result in many adverse symptoms and even serious disease.  Plant based estrogens (phytoestrogens) are much healthier on the body than chemical based estrogens (xenoestrogens) because plant based estrogens will wash out of the body naturally in a few days, whereas chemical based estrogens stay stored in the body causing havoc for up to 10 years.  That being said, using a bit of  one of these oils will not cause long term damage.  Even if you are struggling with a hormonal disease or imbalance a drop or two of lavender on a bug bite, or some acne now and then probably will not cause you any problems.  However, using a shampoo, lotion, lip balm, or tooth paste regularly, or or just rubbing these oils on every day could easily be enough (and has been observed by medical doctors) to cause, or prolong hormonal problems.

The of the oils that seem to especially exaggerate hormonal issues are:
1. Lavender
2. Tea Tree
3. Rosemary

Because these three oils are in so many natural products, this causes a problem when shopping for skin care products.  In an effort to avoid many of the harmful chemicals found in skin care products, many companies turn to natural products containing these oils because they are found in health food stores and assumed to be harmless.  And while you are succeeding in avoiding the harmful chemicals, the essential oils in these products may cause other symptoms of estrogen dominance which can also be harmful.  These three oils are not the only essential oils that can adversely effect the hormones, but they are three of the most commonly used, and hard to avoid.  These three oils offer fantastic preservative qualities which is why so many natural products use them, in an effort to avoid chemical preservatives.  These three oils are some of the most well known essential oils on the market, and are touted for their many relaxing and healing properties.  The purpose of this article is not to argue or debate the natural benefits that come come from oils such as Lavender or Tea Tree, but to bring awareness to the potentially detrimental effects these oils can have on those struggling with hormonal disorders.
Many essential oils are assumed to be natural and are "safe" to use, so they are recommended to everyone with out previous knowledge of health or hormonal issues.  Please be wise when using natural products and be aware that just because something is "natural" it does not mean it is safe or beneficial to everyone.  And while the negative effects of essential oils as compared to many pharmaceutical alternatives, they should still be used and recommended with wisdom and care. 

Article By: Ashley Powell-Glassman, skin care expert and founder of: "On Angels Wings" Natural skin care products for every day.  Ashley has studied herbs, essential oils, and has been formulating natural skin care products since 1998, and has written numerous articles on healthy living and natural skin care.

For more educational information on essential oils, natural skin care, tutorials, and recipes visit me at:


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  2. Can you provide references for this, please? Thank you!

  3. I have a question for you, and I hope that you will actually answer it, though it seems to me that you stopped blogging and your facebook page is also down which I find regrettable.
    Trying to cut things short, it is very important for me to understand WHY a product is doing what it does. Evidence and understanding is important for me, otherwise it just falls into the category of blind faith, which can also be linked to witchcraft and New Age, which I also found to be linked to several claims of several essential oils.
    So, my question is, are there actually EOs that can be used to create a hormonal balance, and if so - how do they do that?
    I know this article was mainly about how we should avoid using certain oils BECAUSE they affect hormones, but nowadays there is so much promotion to USE EOs for hormonal balance... so I wonder if it is even safe to try balancing hormones with EOs.

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