Cocktail of hormones in the bathroom – chemicals that get under the skin


Statements of this kind are published time and again and can be quite alarming. “Are cosmetics really dangerous? All these preservatives, hormones and chemicals – can they really give me breast cancer or make me infertile?” These are the type of questions that many concerned consumers are asking both our own Customer Service and that of our customers.

The questions are legitimate: some of the substances that Mibelle and many other cosmetics manufacturers use in their products really can be harmful to health:

  • Fluoride is toxic
  • Citric acid irritates the skin
  • Some perfume oils and plant extracts trigger allergies
  • Synthetic hormones, such as diethylstilbestrol or the degradation products of nonoxynol, affect conception and pregnancy

However, as the famous physician Paracelsus said 500 years ago – “poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy”. So what matters is the quantity to which the user is exposed on a daily basis. Not every rumour or potential risk really is a danger for the consumer!

For example, a lion is quite dangerous. However, behind bars in the zoo and without direct contact, it doesn’t pose any danger whatsoever for the visitor.

In Switzerland and the EU, it is required by law that a cosmetics product is not harmful to health. The legislator has banned many substances or established maximum permissible quantities. The regulations are tightened if any new findings come to light.

Parabens are a typical example of the discrepancy between individual test results, the fears these generate and the actual problem. In a series of measurements conducted 12 years ago, it was established that 20 samples of cancerous breast tissue contained parabens. The work that produced these findings was so poorly done that the scientific journal in which they were published quickly withdrew them. However, the fact that the words “breast cancer” and “parabens” were used in the same sentence was quickly seized upon by newspapers and websites and, as a result, parabens are now considered carcinogenic and similar to hormones. However, this is not the case: EU scientists have established that parabens in the concentrations in which Mibelle and other cosmetics manufacturers use them are, in fact, completely harmless.

Furthermore, Mibelle has to prove that our products are not harmful. For this reason, an expert writes a safety report on each of our products. This is a detailed document that evaluates all known data about each substance used, as well as all test results relating to the product, and it compares this with the volume of product to which the user is exposed on a daily basis. If there are no data for a certain substance, or if too much of a substance is contained in the product, we are not allowed to put this product on the shelves. These reports are also checked by public authorities or by our customers.

Conclusion: yes, some substances can in themselves and in large quantities be quite harmful to health. However, the products in which they are used are not. Research and Development at Mibelle makes sure of that.