Over the last 12 months while digging into the chemistry of ingredients for the re-introduction of DeVita, it came to my attention that many of the ingredient manufacturers added soy as an “incidental” to many raw ingredients.  Incidental substances are those items added to a cosmetic as a component of a cosmetic ingredient and which have no technical or functional effect in the finished cosmetic. They may be used to stretch an ingredient, add to the preservation of the raw material,  or a substance added to a cosmetic during manufacture for its technical effect in processing but present in the finished cosmetic at an insignificant level and not having any technical or functional effect in that cosmetic. Example: a de-foaming agent. Per the FDA, these incidentals do not need to be listed on the label.


Many lipid (fat) based raw materials add soy as an incidental due to its multi-faceted versatility. I, personally, have two issues with soy. 1) nearly all soy regardless of source is subject to GMO issues and 2) with the barrage of cosmetics men and women are using today and soy’s appearance in a tremendous amount of pre-packaged foods (incidental amounts from each raw ingredient), I concern myself with soy’s ability to mask itself as estrogen in the body and act as an estrogen disruptor leading to estrogen dominance and throwing your endocrine balance into turmoil.


The endocrine (hormone) system affects almost every organ and cell in the body.


The endocrine system is a big deal. It’s an information superhighway of hormone-producing glands that release mini chemical messengers (hormones) and that play a vital role in all phases of development, metabolism, and reproduction.  Once released from the glands (which includes the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, and sex glands), hormones travel throughout the body, connecting with target receptors and produce changes on the cellular level. A big deal indeed. 


The reason hormone disruptors wreak so much havoc in the body is that they are brilliant hormone imitators. Hormone-disrupting chemicals block these natural hormonal signals by sneakily binding to receptors and causing responses in the body much stronger than those we would have naturally produced.


What is estrogen dominance?


Estrogen dominance happens in the body when too much estrogen or perceived estrogen in relation to progesterone occurs. It can be very hard to completely avoid estrogen excess, because we are surrounded by endocrine disruptors – in everything from foods and cosmetics, our furniture polish to our nail polish. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include bloating, swelling and tenderness in your breasts, fibrocystic lumps in your breasts, decreased sex drive, irregular menstrual periods, increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), mood swings, headaches, anxiety and panic attacks, weight gain, hair loss, cold hands and/or feet, trouble sleeping, sleepiness or fatigue or memory problems.

Twenty years ago, I first encountered the concept of estrogen disruption when I learned all about parabens used in skin care. Parabens are powerful preservatives used in somewhat goodly quantities in skin care products and more. In 2008 The American Journal of Toxicology published a study which produced controversy surrounding parabens masking themselves as estrogens.  The controversy then lead to their link between breast cancer and paraben use and for that reason alone, DeVita formulated paraben free products.


As the fates would have it, in April 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nine years later it is still an on-going battle which fuels my mission toward being a part of creating a world of clean cosmetics and personal care products.


Cherylanne DeVita, Ph.D.


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