What do deodorant, self-tanners, laundry detergents, lotions, and dish soap all have in common? They are all contributing to the estrogen dominance in your body.
Estrogen dominance directly impacts your hormonal health and can lead to painful periods, acne, weight gain, and more. Fragrances in everyday household products can contribute to estrogen dominance with their harmful and often undisclosed ingredients. In this article I’ll share how fragrance free products can lower your estrogen dominance and my favorite product swaps.
While we all enjoy making our homes and ourselves smell good (nobody wants to be that guy who’s always known for their “natural musk”), but did you know that the fragrances that we allow into our everyday environments could be detrimental to our hormone health. Unless you’ve already set out to find cleaner alternatives, there’s a good chance all of your favorite personal care and household items contain fragrance.
The ingredient “fragrance” can actually be over 3,000 different ingredients that companies aren’t required to disclose. However, we do know is that chemicals often used in fragrance are known to be allergens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and are even linked to affecting reproductive health. Because estrogen levels are directly linked to a healthy cycle for women, reducing fragrances can be one of the ways you can reduce estrogen dominance in your body.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen is a category of sex hormones that are present in both the male and female bodies. In women, it helps regulate the reproductive system and is especially important for conception and menopause. Estrogen also affects women’s urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain.
Estrogen is vital to life, and the fluctuation of estrogen throughout the menstrual cycle helps facilitate the change in each phase (it peaks during ovulation and drops low during menstruation) but an excess of estrogen in the body, or estrogen dominance, can be quite problematic.
Common Signs of Estrogen Dominance
- Mood Swings
- Irregular or Heavy Periods
- Pelvic Pain
- Weight Gain
- Brain Fog
It is important to note that environmental, lifestyle, and nutritional changes can greatly impact estrogen levels in the body, you should always consult a doctor if you have any concerns about your health.
How Fragranced Products Disrupt Your Hormones
The average person uses nine personal care products per day (that doesn’t even include fragranced household products). That is 9 times per day that you may be putting potential chemicals directly on your skin and disrupting your hormones. This is especially concerning when you consider that many fragranced products contain phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors. This common ingredient causes the hormones in your body to be blocked, mimicked or interfered with.
Fragrance and Lowering Your Estrogen Dominance
When it comes to lowering your estrogen dominance, it is imperative to reduce any exposure to endocrine disruptors that can easily put your hormones out of balance by causing an over or under production of them. Women should be especially conscious of their estrogen levels because an imbalance of estrogen can lead to fatigue, weight gain, migraines, PMS, and more.
Because fragrance is such a dominant ingredient is so many products today, swapping them with fragrance free alternatives can make such a difference in the effort of lowering estrogen dominance and promote overall health.
What Does Fragrance Free Actually Mean?
Fragrance exists all around us, it is an amazing tool that helps us experience the world through the sense of smell. However, with the introduction of artificial fragrance to nearly every household and beauty product over the last 50+ years, we must be cautious of what we use. The term “Fragrance Free” means a product containing fragrance materials or masking scents are not used in the product. It does NOT mean unscented.
Every person is different in the sensitivity level of their skin. For me, I can use products with natural fragrance (i.e. essential oils) without problems and so some of the recommended products below do have a scent, but it is natural. Because my main concern is reducing my estrogen dominance and promoting my hormone health, as long as I’ve reduced as much artificial fragrance from my environment as possible, I feel like I’m on the right track.
My Fragrance Free Journey
Can I make a confession? I was the last person to imagine that I would be that girl using salt crystal deodorant and throwing out all of her candles. However, after suffering with severe eczema and acne for most of my teenage and adult life, and learning that I have an allergy to fragrance, I’ve been forced to make changes for the better. I remember sitting in the dermatologist’s office when she told me I was allergic to fragrance and feeling so defeated at the thought of never having a house that smelled good or never getting to wear perfume again.
While an allergy to fragrance would have eventually been enough to make me start swapping my products out for fragrance free options, it was my fascination with cycle syncing that really set things into motion. I share on my blog about cycle syncing a lot because it has been so life changing for me, it has really helped me get my hormones in balance and reduce my estrogen dominance. On top of my eczema issues, I’ve suffered from painful cramps, PMS, bloating, acne, and all! Cutting fragrance from my life and cycle syncing has drastically improved my period pain and helped keep my eczema outbreaks to a minimum.
Fragrance Free Product Swaps to Reduce Estrogen Dominance
1) Swap Tanning Foam For Natural Self Tanning Drops
I love looking tanned and glowing just as much as the next girl but my fair skin doesn’t make it out into the sun very often. Sadly, conventional self tanning products have harmful ingredients that I’d rather pass on. Not only do they often contain fragrance to cover up the chemical smell of the product, they can also contain mineral oil, which is carcinogenic, and is comedogenic, meaning it blocks your pores.
That’s why I was so excited when I found these all natural tanning drops. I can add them to my fragrance free lotion and they blend in to my skin like a dream. Honestly, it was less streaky than my conventional self tanning foam. All of the ingredients are organic and it actually smells really nice because of the fruit extracts that are used in it. I got the shade “light” but I think I will pick up a bottle of the “medium” to mix together because the light gives you more of a sun kissed glow than a noticeable tan. Still, it made my skin look healthy and beautiful!
2) Swap Toners for Witch Hazel
If you walked into a cosmetic store today, you would be overwhelmed by the choices of toners at your disposal. It seems like there is a toner to solve any skin issue you might have. The only problem is that many of them contain fragrances which may disrupt your hormones.
I love using witch hazel as a toner and have been doing this for YEARS. Not only is this much cheaper than many toners out there, it rebalances your skin’s PH levels, cleanses it, and moisturizes it. I simply apply some to a cotton pad after using my cleanser and before I moisturize. Some witch hazel options do contain fragrance, so be sure to read the ingredients.
3) Swap Heat Protectant for Argan Oil to Reduce Estrogen Dominance
I have always been so protective of my hair. I used to love trying out different hair masks and leave-in conditioners. Sadly, all that has gone out the window since I started my fragrance-free journey, especially because my eczema outbreaks happen most frequently on the back of my neck where my hair touches.
My hair still feels as healthy as ever with this 100% organic argan oil that I use on my wet hair after I’ve gotten out of the shower to seal in its moisture and as a heat protectant. Argan oil is what all of the moroccan oil hair care products is based around but sadly they all contain fragrance. I love that I can still have beautiful-looking hair by just using this natural oil!
4) Swap Candles for Essential Oils
I love just love candles. They are the perfect thing to make your home feel so cozy and inviting (or to cover up an unwanted odor). Sadly, the artificial fragrances in candles can make them harmful to your hormonal health. Another downside to candles is burning scented candles can release volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde that may increase your cancer risk.
Don’t let this news stop you from having a nice-smelling home. Well-sourced essential oils are a wonderful alternative! They can even have natural benefits like purifying the air, helping with congestion, or having a calming effect. Lately I’ve been enjoying Stress Away by Young Living, which is a blend of different essential oils. I’ve also been exploring other brands and blends that I could try.
TIP: As essential oils have become more popular, some companies have slipped artificial fragrance into their recipes. Be sure that the oils you are diffusing are 100% natural.
5) Swap Tinted Moisturizer for Mineral Sunscreen
Not only do a lot of sunscreen products contain fragrance that you rub directly into your skin, studies have shown that these harmful ingredients actually get absorbed into your blood stream. There are quite a few sunscreen ingredients to watch out for, the worst for hormone health is oxybenzone. It filters UV rays from the sun, which is good, but it mimics estrogen and interfere with testosterone. This may lead to adrenal hormone disruption.
Mineral sunscreens have come a long way since the pasty white liquid that won’t rub into your skin no matter how hard you try. It’s active ingredient is Zinc Oxide. I really like this Cotz Face Moisture tinted moisturizer, it’s SPF 35 and has the consistency of a primer. Plus, the skin-tinted color helps it rub in seamlessly!
6) Swap Antiperspirant for Mineral Deodorant to Reduce Estrogen Dominance
Like many people, natural deodorant was one of the first clean product swaps I made. Aluminum is a common ingredient in antiperspirant deodorants. Some scientists have theorized that the aluminum compounds might cause changes to estrogen receptors of breast cells leading to an increased risk of breast cancer. Fragrance and the parabens that are also common ingredients in deodorant are hormone disruptors.
I felt like I have tried almost every natural deodorant out there, sadly, most of them aren’t effective and just end up irritating my armpits. In a last ditch effort, I tried the mineral deodorant stick and was shocked how well it actually worked. While it’s not a antiperspirant, so it doesn’t block the sweat glands in your armpits, it masks the body odor smell so well! There is a technique to apply this product, and I would recommend reading the Amazon reviews to get tips, but essentially this product blocks body odor by leaving a thin layer of residue from the salt crystal on your skin, so you want to make sure you cover every part of your armpit and a little beyond while they are slightly damp from the shower.
7) Swap Mascara for a Cleaner Mascara Option
For me, the key to reducing estrogen dominance is trying to find cleaner versions of the products I use everyday. One of my favorite cosmetic products EVER is mascara. When I first started removing fragranced products from my bathroom, mascara was not at the top of my list. I thought it was totally safe! I had no idea that some mascaras have fragrance and other allergy-inducing ingredients like pigments that can irritate your eyes.
Ilia makeup products have been on my radar for a while and I had heard how they are trying to make more clean-conscious products. I have loved using their Limitless Mascara so far! I find that it lasts longer and doesn’t create dark circles under my eyes. That’s quite an improvement over my previous drugstore mascara favorites.
8) Swap Laundry Detergent for Natural Laundry Wash
There is nothing better than clean, fresh laundry. I will never forget the distinct smell of my Granny Jo’s laundry and how it would last for days. While I will forever keep that as a core memory, the fragrances and ingredients in laundry detergents are known hormone disruptors and can lead to estrogen dominance. Hormone imbalances can lead to heart disease, cancer, depression, and more. That’s why I think it is so important to choose cleaner and safer household products.
I have recently tried Truly Free’s cleaning products and have really been enjoying them. Their Signature Sent Laundry Wash has been getting my clothes so fresh and clean without any problems. This product does contain essential oils and natural fragrance oils, but I really don’t think it has a overwhelming smell. Another reason why I love this laundry detergent is because they send me a laundry bottle one time. Then, Truly Free just sends me the refillable packets on a schedule. If I ever need to give my clothes an extra soak, instead of grabbing OxyClean, I will throw in their OxyBoost product that has worked great for me as well!
9) Swap Foaming Hand Soap with Castile Soap
I used to have friends that told me I had the coolest mom because she always had the best-smelling Bath and Body Works hand soap in our bathrooms. While I do still think I have the coolest mom ever, the large amount of fragrance in these soaps and other foaming hand soaps can be extremely disruptive to your hormones. Luckily, foaming hand soap is extremely easy to make!
All you need is a foaming hand soap container, castile soap, and water. There are hundreds of tutorials for this online! Here’s an easy recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Farmhouse on Boone. This makes the most luxurious foaming soap, takes less than five times to make, and still can smell delightful! I like to buy castile soap that already has essential oils added. However, you can buy plain castile soap and add whatever essential oil you like.
10) Swap Disinfectant Wipes for Everyday Cleaning Spray
Keeping a clean house is really important to me. Honestly, nothing feels better than me getting to wipe down my kitchen counters at night or having a clean bathroom. While those wipes are very convenient, they pose a risk to hormone health. Sadly, a lot of disinfecting wipes and products contain chemicals called Quaternary Ammonium, which cause hormone disruption.
I have been using this Truly Free Everyday Cleaning Spray lately and have really been enjoying it! It has replaced multiple cleaning products I was using before because it is so versatile. We even have a vacuum-mop that we stopped putting the fragranced floor cleaning solution in and started pouring in a little bit of this cleaner. It works great and it’s cheaper than the Bissel cleaning solution!
Reducing Estrogen Dominance Can Be Simple
Every girl dreams of the day when she won’t have debilitating cramps or don’t experience severe mood swings, but sometimes it seems like a pipe dream. Often, we’re left feeling like we can’t do anything about it other than take medication or just “deal with it”. Sadly, not many people stop to consider that everyday products in are homes can make estrogen levels spiral out of control and leave us feeling like there’s no hope. Thankfully, something as simple as making basic product swaps and looking out for your hormone health can make a real difference. In fact, with enough practice, lowering your estrogen dominance can become second nature.
If the thought of getting rid of every fragranced product from your home at once is daunting, you’re not alone. You might blow your budget and sanity by trying to do it that way. Start by swapping products out as you run out for cleaner, healthier options. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and you’ll have a variety of fragrance free products in your home before you know it.
Let me know in the comments below what cleaner product swaps you’ve made around your home to support a happier and healthier life!