Exposure to chemicals in cosmetics can cause breast cancer

In a world where vanity prevails, usage of cosmetics is considered obligatory by social norms-or at least advisable. While all those hair care products, creams, makeup, lipstick moisturizers and fancy shampoos do make us more beautiful, some of the chemicals present in them might lead to breast cancer.

Among the wide mix of chemicals used to put together cosmetics, a few stand out with their harmful effects.


Parabens serve as preservatives and are the most well-known group of chemicals present in cosmetics. The most commonly used parabens are methylparaben, ethylparabel, butylparaben and propylparaben. Parabens can be found in many cosmetic products ranging from makeup to hair care products, shaving gels (or creams), lotions and moisturizers. The biggest problem with parabens is that the body can register them as an estrogen. The paraben estrogen imitation is very weak but it is tangible enough to have the potential of turning on hormone receptor positive breast cancer.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocabrons (PAHs)

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons can be found in coal, gasoline or crude oil. The most famous and commonly encountered PAH is naphthalene. A number of cosmetic products or shampoos have coal tar as ingredient which means that there might be PAHs present in them. Studies have concluded that exposure to PAHs can increase the risk for breast cancer.


Like parabens, phthalates are well-known and present in many popular cosmetics. Among these are hair spray, personal care fragrances (deodorants, perfume), air fresheners, nail polish. The most commonly used chemical is Diethyl Phthalate (DEP). As is the case with parabens, phthalates are chemicals that mimic hormones. While the body doesn't mistake them for a higher amount of produced estrogen, they can disrupt normal hormonal processes. Research has linked high exposure to phthalates to early puberty in girls which in turn can lead to breast cancer at a later stage.


Triclosan is added to a lot of consumer products with the purpose of reducing bacterial contamination and mold prevention. Its usage to cosmetics is mostly connected with toothpastes, antibacterial soaps, body washes and deodorants. Triclosan is yet another chemical that can cause harm on the human hormone systems. Officially classified as a pesticide, Triclosan might lead to breast development disruption due to harmfully affecting the thyroid hormones. Triclosan effect on the estrogen and androgen receptor systems leads to increased to higher risk of breast cancer. Another antimicrobial agent close to Triclosan – Triclocarban is also to be avoided if possible.