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Hormones in Cosmetic Creams?

I am reposting a topic that came up for discussion in one of my online esthetician peer groups. I would so very much appreciate your feedback.

"A client of mine was diagnosed with ridiculously high progesterone. Her doctor thinks it's coming from one of her skin care products. We've both been doing research and learned that cosmetic companies can put up to 4% of a hormone, i.e. progesterone in a product without having to list it as an ingredient. Apparently this is quite common. Have you heard of this?? I'm horrified if it's true. Are there ingredients that will affect hormone levels and what would they be?"

I worked as an educator for a cosmetics manufacturing company for 8 years ... I think this is the perfect example of fear mongering in our industry. I asked the poster where she got her information, and she said, "just google about hormones in cosmetics and all kinds of information comes up."

Then she posted two of her sources, which I read through -- then clicked on the references hoping to find further data, but didn't really get much more information. This poster kept referring to the hormones from cosmetics "entering our bloodstream" and I don't believe this is physiologically possible. Further, aren't manufacturers REQUIRED to list every ingredient on their ingredient list, especially in the amount of 1% or higher?

As cosmetic chemists --- what are your views on this?


  • "...cosmetic companies can put up to 4% of a hormone, i.e. progesterone in a product without having to list it as an ingredient."

    That's crazy! All ingredients have to be listed unless they're covered by a trade secret or they're part of a fragrance. 

    It is true that hormones can be applied topically - there are hormone creams on the market - but that's different than companies "sneaking" hormones into regular products. 

    You might find this helpful: Estrogen in beauty products Episode 39 
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