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Pregnant women who use make-up ‘often have fat children’

Expectant mothers who use makeup are more likely to have fat children because the chemicals can reach them in the womb, a study claims.

Researchers measured levels of butyl paraben (BuP) in the urine of 629 mothers, finding higher concentrations in those who struck on cosmetics.

Their babies were more likely to be overweight in the first eight years of their lives – especially girls.

Parabens can seep through the skin into the body and then cross over to the placenta with the risk of harming the baby, the scientists in Germany warned.

In further studies, baby mice were exposed to BuP while being forced into the womb to eat more, thicker than control mice.

BuP – also digested in food and drink – appeared to influence genes that regulate food consumption in the mice.

Expectant mothers who use makeup and perfume can aggravate their child's risk of obesity by exposing them to a chemical in the womb, a study warns

Expectant mothers who use makeup and perfume can aggravate their child’s risk of obesity by exposing them to a chemical in the womb, a study warns

BuP is a chemical substance that is used as a preservative because it has antibacterial and fungicidal properties. It is found in most makeup products that last a long time, such as lipstain or foundation.

It is a type of parabens to be found in many beauty products, including makeup, deodorants, moisturizers and shampoos, as well as food products.

Parabens mainly enter the human body through uptake or skin absorption and can often be detected in urine, blood and breast milk.

Researchers led by Dr. Tobias Polte from the Helmholtz research institute in Leipzig reported their findings in Nature Communications.

The team looked at the chemical levels in 629 pregnant women between 2006 and 2008.

The expectant mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire about which cosmetics they used during the 34th week of pregnancy.


Parabens are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are used as preservatives in skin care, cosmetics and hair products.

They are also used in food. As preservatives, paraben products give a longer shelf life and prevent harmful bacteria and fungi from growing, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Parabens are widely used daily by everyone. Exposure occurs when these products are swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

They are rapidly metabolized and excreted. Finding a measurable amount of parabens in urine is not considered an indication that they cause a harmful health effect.

However, the effects on human health from environmental exposure to low parabens are unknown.

In 2006, the industry-led Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), determined that there was no need to change the original 1984 CIR conclusion that parabens are safe for use in cosmetics.

Parabens are considered as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC).

Dr. Alex Polyakov, senior lecturer at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Melbourne, said: “They are known to disrupt normal endocrine function by disrupting synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination.” natural hormones.

“These hormones are involved in the maintenance of homeostasis, reproduction and development of the fetus and the neonatal.”

Cosmetics were categorized as separation products, including body lotion and makeup, and rinsing products, including toothpaste, hair stylers, and perfumes.

A quarter of the women reported that they used at least one cosmetic product that contained parabens. Their urine contained paraben levels three times higher than women who said they avoided parabens.

The body weight and height of the children were then assessed on an annual basis up to the age of eight.

The authors discovered that the mothers who used cosmetics containing BuP specifically had children who were more likely to be overweight in early to mid childhood – with a “stronger trend among girls.”

The authors wrote: ‘Because parabens are used extensively in cosmetic products, it seems reasonable that cosmetics are an important source for exposure of people to parabens.

“Mothers who used parabens containing cosmetic secretion products daily had considerably higher parabens in urine.”

In further research, the authors demonstrated that exposure to BuP in pregnant mice led their female offspring to eat more.

Baby mice exposed to BuP had 20 to 45 percent more body fat compared to control mice.

The authors claim that the parabens affects a gene that regulates food intake in the brain region of the hypothalamus.

There was a reduction in the expression of the leptin receptor, which regulates body weight under normal circumstances by balancing food intake.

In other words, because gene expression for the leptin receptor was compromised, the mice had difficulty stopping food.

The authors say that a modern lifestyle and increased calorie intake are not enough to explain obesity.

They claim that when a baby is in the womb, its development can be disrupted by chemicals such as parabens that disrupt hormones.

These are known as endocrine disrupting chemicals [EDCs]and are also linked to the growth of breast cancer cells.

Many of them are able to cross the blood placental barrier with the risk of already exerting their harmful properties during fetal development, Dr. Said said. Polte and colleagues.

In a reaction to the study, Dr. Alex Polyakov from the University of Melbourne said the physiology of mice and humans was different, but he said pregnant women would be best off avoiding paraben makeup.

He said: “At this time it would be advisable for pregnant women to avoid cosmetic compounds containing parabens.

“Complete avoidance of parabens is not possible because its use is so widespread, but avoiding non-essential exposure seems a sensible and easily achievable goal.”

Dr. Amy Heffernan of Florey Institute in Melbourne, however, said the link between parabens and weight gain in children was “weak.”

She said: “The exposure to parabens varies during the day and from one day to the next. A single urine sample is not a reliable measure of paraben exposure.

“There were some very weak indications for a link between high exposure to butyl and parabens and the child who was overweight two to eight years after birth.

“Studies in mice are not the same as studies in humans. Nutrition and exercise are much more important than exposure to parabens in healthy weight management. “