Should we be worried about chemical endocrine disruptors being used in our cosmetics?

There has recently been a flurry of news articles stating that we should be wary of some beauty products which may contain chemicals such as phthalates. There are some chemicals that we come across everyday in the environment, plastics and other household items which have traces of harmful ingredients – but we want to reassure you that it is not likely that you will come across these in your beauty regime. Here’s why…

Ingredients such as DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate), are banned from use in Cosmetics in the UK and the rest of the EU.

A recent study from Washington University School of Medicine found a link between a group of chemical ingredients and early menopause – which are sometimes known as endocrine disruptors. These chemicals can be found in some household products, but these are more likely to be strong cleaning products, than the type you lather onto your skin.

In the US, it is not illegal to use substances like DEHP in cosmetics, however these products would not be allowed to be sold in the EU due to the regulations currently in place. When talking to Cosmetics Design, Dr Chris Fowler – Director General of CTPA said, “DEHP is not expressly forbidden in the US and so it is possible some companies continue to use it, though companies making the same product for the US and EU could not do so because DEHP is expressly forbidden in the EU.”

Flower continues, “At no time do the authors of the study draw a link between their findings and ingredients in make-up and personal care products, as suggested in some of the alarming headlines.”

A senior author from the study, Amber Cooper, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, said, “This study doesn’t prove causation, but the associations raise a red flag and support the need for further research.” 15 of the 111 chemicals tested, showed the need for further investigation.

The findings do however, bring to light the concerns over cosmetic production and show that consumers should be made more aware of the implications of their purchase. We have put together some tips to help make sure you can reduce the contact you have with harmful chemicals and make smart choices about your cosmetic products.

1. Read the ingredients lists on every cosmetic product you buy. If you are unsure about a particular ingredient and want to find out more about the impact it will have on your skin and body, visit the EWG Cosmetics database which is the largest cosmetics and ingredients database.

2. Be careful where and who you buy your products from. Make sure that the company you buy from have recommendations and good reviews in the media, or from secondary retailers or consumers. Buy your cosmetics from reliable sources and if you are unsure about a product or company, look them up online. If you choose to buy products outside of the EU, check the ingredients list before you buy.

3. When you are using household products – make sure you wear gloves to minimise the direct contact with chemicals on the skin as these can be absorbed and cause possible health issues. Always follow the safety and storage advice on the container.

4. Recycle, but do not re-use. Some types of plastic container can contain chemicals which filter into your food and drink when left under heated conditions. Avoid re-heating food in plastic containers, and do not re-use drink’s bottles that have been exposed to heat.

5. Do not put plastic in your mouth. Some types of plastic until recently, were still used in the making of children’s toys, for example, and some of us may take to chewing on accessories like bits of stationery, where we can absorb the nasty chemicals.

6. Know your chemicals. By educating yourself on what’s good or bad for your body, you can avoid any nasty trips to the doctor. For example, not all phthalates are harmful and whilst some phthalates may be found in lipstick, they will not be the harmful type that may also be found in toilet cleaner. Not all man-made chemicals are bad for you, but there may still be some that you would rather avoid.

All ingredients in Stratum C Menopause Skin Care products are available on the website. Visit or feel free to contact Forme Laboratories for any more information regarding the products and ingredients. All Stratum C products are phthalate, paraben, DHA, BHA, BHT, formaldehyde and MI free and use only the gentlest of preservatives.



Hyaluronic Acid: What is it? How can it help during menopause?

Hyaluronic Acid is known by many names – Hyaluron, Hyaluronan, ‘HA’ and Sodium Hyaluronate. It’s reputation for being ‘the anti-ageing miracle ingredient’ in recent years has made it a must have for beauty buff’s and skin care companies alike. It … Continue reading

Winter VS Menopause: Skin Care and Avoiding That Dreaded Cold

As we all know, menopause can bring with it many unwanted symptoms. Most notably, what we like to call ‘power surges’ that can make it feel like you have just run through a burning fire pit. Though during the winter … Continue reading

The Benefits of Aloe Vera

The Benefits of Aloe Vera

We have all heard of Aloe Vera, the plant used for its therapeutic properties and popularly used as a natural emollient, due to it being gentle, calming and soothing making it the perfect choice for skincare. Aloe, or ‘Aloe Barbadensis’, is full of nutritional benefits for your body and very popular amongst skin care manufacturers as it is packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. It is also a perfect astringent, making Aloe the essential ingredient for a toner due to its deep cleaning, hydrating, moisturising and rejuvenating effects.

ID-10076222With so many choices out there, it can be difficult choosing which skin care product is best for you. Having the right levels of Aloe Vera and other active and natural ingredients in your skincare regime will make all the difference.


Aloe has mild healing qualities and is also known to kill bacteria, and when used as part of a skin toner, it delivers all the benefits into freshly cleansed skin.

Toners gently close the pores,  so using Aloe will confidently leave the skin perfectly clean, nourished and healed. Aloe Vera has properties which allow it to reach deeper body tissues, taking all the nutrients of the Aloe into the skin. It also helps to retain moisture in damaged tissue; the penetrating power of Aloe allows water and other moisturisers to sink deeply into the skin, therefore also making it ideal to use before applying your face cream. Collagen is a big factor in preventing skin ageing during menopause and Aloe Vera has been found to increase the production of fibroblast cells, these are the cells responsible for for producing collagen and it has been known to increase by up to eight times as much as normal cell production.

mailoutimagetonerStratum C Calming Toner uses a high level of active ingredients to give you the highest quality products. As well as Aloe Vera, which gives it a natural green hue, it also contains Hyaluron, Papaya, Cucumber, Sage and Orange Flower which all help to enhance the delivery of Coenzyme Q10 into the dermis. CoQ10 is an important anti-oxidant ingredient used in our Calming Toner, this active ingredient will prevent dry skin, ageing and a dull complexion by powerfully combating free radicals. Stratum C Calming Toner compliments our existing Gentle Cleanser with Rose Hip Seed Oil, giving you a complete regime for beautifully clean skin. Use the toner morning and night, after cleansing to deeply clean the pores, remove make up and bacteria, leaving it soft and replenished.

To purchase the Calming Toner or any item from the Stratum C Menopause Skin Care range, please visit

If you would like to be added to Stratum C’s mailing list to receive our free monthly newsletter, there are no obligations and we won’t share your details with anyone else, all you have to do is sign up using the link below. We look forward to sending you lots of helpful information, please click on the link and fill in your details –

Smoking causes early menopause… another reason to quit!

cigarette-smashSmoking causes risks to your health. It is written on the packets and the countless advertising we are bombarded with, encouraging us to lead a healthier lifestyle. This is because smoking is scientifically proven to be bad for our body’s.

Not to mention the affect it has on your skin. It is commonly known that smoking can make the appearance of ageing more prominent at a younger age. Smoking is also a well-documented cause of many different types of disease such as cancer, heart disease and health issues such as infertility.

We all know that smoking is bad for us. But what you may not know is that another side affect of smoking has recently been assessed, it can induce early menopause. Scientists used to think that it could cause accelerated menopause by up to 1-2 years, but a new study has found that smoking can cause menopause as early as 9 years before you would naturally be expected to hit it.

The findings published in the journal ‘Menopause’ stated that the findings were based on specific genetics, and that this statistic was found to happen more commonly in white women and that the same relationship between smoking and black women could not be found. (Though this is not to say that any women should carry on smoking, as it is still not good for you, whether you hold the offending gene or not!)

This study has not been taken lightly. The researchers spent 14 years following over 400 women between the ages of 35 to 47. The women that carried the specific gene and were not smokers, entered menopause significantly later than women who do smoke.

And so if the threat of cancer, heart attacks and dreaded wrinkles was not enough for you, then maybe the thought of possible early menopause might tip you over the edge and encourage you to throw your pack of 20 in the bin and start living a healthier lifestyle.

There are many ways to give up smoking, some of which can be bought on the high street and some of which can be prescribed by your doctor. But any attempt to quit is a step in the right direction, no matter how you choose to go about it.

For more information on the study, visit the link below:

For more information on giving up smoking, visit the NHS website and take your first step to quitting:

Helpful hints and tips for better sleep during menopause

ID-10046747Menopause and sleep are often not too things you would see in the same sentence. The onset of menopause brings hot flushes, itchy skin and all manner of annoying symptoms, which can have a knock on effect for your sleeping patterns.

We have put together a list of handy hints and tips to help you get more out of your bed time routine, if you are having trouble catching those Zzz’s. There are many ways in which you can increase the length and quality of your sleep, by taking action, gently, whilst you are awake.

Here are a few that we think you may benefit from:

  • Wear loose clothing, if any, to bed, and try if you can to wear natural breathable fibers
  • Keep your room cool and well ventilated, either by leaving a small window ajar or by using a fan in your bedroom
  • Avoid certain foods such as spicy foods that may cause sweating, especially before bed
  • Maintain a regular bed time schedule to help get your body and brain in check and used to a regular bed time
  • Exercise regularly, but not right before you are due to go to slepp
  • Try to avoid naps during the day as this can stop you from sleeping well at night
  • Try calming activities before bed such as reading or listening to soothing music, this will reduce your stress levels.
  • Try not to use any electronic devices at least a couple of hours before you go to bed as this can often act as a stimulant and keep you awake
  • Avoid caffeine, although a coffee with breakfast should be OK…
  • Try having a warm (not hot!) bath before you go to bed to help you relax and ease stress
  • Use a thinner blanket on your bed, or even a sheet instead if a blanket is too much, but you still want to feel covered and comfy.
  • Your doctor can also recommend some prescription sleep remedies if you are finding it particularly difficult to sleep, and so if the above tips do not work, it may be worth making an appointment with your GP.

There are also some diet changes you can make to help you sleep. It is often recommended that you do not eat too late, so that your body can fully digest your dinner and not cause you discomfort whilst you are trying to sleep. You should also try to avoid foods with caffeine such as coffee or chocolate flavoured desserts, too close to bed time.

Some foods that may be good to try and encourage your brain to relax:

  • Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan (an amino acid) which cause the body to release serotonin and melatonin, which improve your mood and help you relax. They also have their own natural source of melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster, according to the University of Texas. ID-10022197
  • Contrary to popular belief, eating cheese (or any dairy) before bed can actually help you sleep as Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan (also found in dairy) to make melatonin, which will help you sleep.
  • Chamomile tea is associated with an increase in glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts like a mild sedative. A cup of this before bed will help you sleep, according to researchers.

We hope that this will assist you in achieving a deeper, more relaxed night of sleep. You can look out for more tips for coping with menopause, especially skin care , here on our blog or on the Stratum C website, where you will also find more information on our moisturising skin care products especially designed for menopause.


Phthalates found in make up can bring on early menopause

Having been scanning the internet to find out about make up for sensitive skin, I came across an article that tells of a study conducted on 5,700 women, showing that high levels of phthalates in their blood or urine, could be linked to early menopause.

Phthalates are esters which derive from phthalic acid and are often added to plastics to improve their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They have been linked to ever increasing concerns over health matters, such as premature births and early menopause, as there are still many products that use phthalates as a cheap ingredient. I would like to think that all companies no longer use the ingredient, of which some companies do avoid the ingredient altogether due to the damage it can do to our bodies, but according to the study that was carried out earlier this year, it seems we may still be putting them on our skin and not realising.

Many of the women that had high concentrations of phthalates in their body were also said to have entered menopause on average 2.3 years earlier than the women who did not have any, or as much phthalate chemical in their bodies. Other research has shown that the chemical has also been responsible for some premature births and complications during pregnancy.

If you are someone that wears make up everyday or even just quite often, make sure you are checking the label to see what you could be putting on your skin before you buy it. It may be worth spending a little more on a higher quality foundation or blush, to ensure that you are using only the best ingredients, as your skin can absorb them and this could prove detrimental if the ingredients are harmful to your health. Take care to speak to a make-up advisor, make sure you read the ingredients list, and always use samples first.

To read about the study, visit the link:

To find out more information about safer cosmetics, visit the link:


Middle aged? Go Mediterranean… the diet that prolongs your life.

mediterranean-mapWell, that may not be completely true… but it seems to be a current fad that we have seen a lot of people talking about – even scientists and health professionals. It seems that if we learn a thing or two from those that live nearer to the equator, we may just add a few years of fighting fit onto our lifeline.

The mediterranean diet is commonly undertaken in the countries to the south of Europe, near the mediterranean, obviously. The diet consists of meals rich in colourful vegetables, not too much meat, and plenty of oily foods that are great for your skin. What you didn’t know was that eating all manner of wholegrains and natural fatty acids (such as those found in avocado) can prevent you from getting all sorts of nasty diseases, and as the cereal adverts keep telling us, they are also good for your heart.

According to a study carried out by the University of Bordeaux and the Harvard School of Public Health, the women in the surveys that were more healthy tended to eat more fish, fruit and vegetables and consumed less red meat and alcohol. The study was carried out on over 10,000 women and shows that when you are mindful of what you eat, it can benefit you in more ways than you thought possible. It can even help you prevent Alzheimer’s.

Our Lifestyle tips page contains lots of helpful pointers to help improve the quality of your skin, and food is a big contender in the skin care arena. You should always drink plenty of water and try to avoid consuming too much dairy, alcohol and red meat as these can all cause blemishes and ageing of the skin. Also try to avoid smoking as this will definitely age you, not to mention all the other dreadful things it can cause!

We have put together a few links to some tasty mediterranean recipes for you to try, so that you can incorporate a bit more colour into your diet, and hopefully add a few more years onto a healthy life. Enjoy!

Recipe Links:


To see the original article from the Daily Express, visit the link below:

Mandy Appleyard writes new column on Menopause

Last week following the end of World Menopause Month in October, something magical happened in the world of menopausal news. Journalist Mandy Appleyard, who currently writes for Femail, ‘came-out’ about her own menopause and has agreed to write an occasional column about the progress of her symptoms, allowing us to follow her experiences and compare what it is like to be a modern day menopausal woman.

Here at Stratum C, we are all for women talking openly about menopause, as let’s face it, all women have this in common and we shouldn’t have to feel like we can’t discuss it openly! I have often wondered why menopause has been a bit of a taboo? Could it be due to the intimate nature of certain symptoms?

Menopause is something that all women will experience and is often more troublesome for certain ladies than others, which can be determined by all sorts of extenuating circumstances such as hysterectomy or simply by age, whether it be early or late. For most, the first signs of menopause are unpleasant, such as constantly feeling like your internal thermostat is broken and stuck on max. Suddenly, you may start feeling as though you don’t understand the fundamental demands of your body anymore as the process of menopause means that in some cases, you may have to start taking care of your body quite differently to how you did before.

Though, Mandy Appleyard is not the only one to speak out as of late, as you know, Linda Barker has also admitted to being menopausal and is a great lover of our very own menopause skin products from the Stratum C range. We have also seen Patsy Kensit talk about her own experiences on TV and we have noticed an amazing trend of menopause related interest in the media over the last few months, which we think is fantastic. We thank Mandy Appleyard for helping to break down the stigma surrounding menopause and will eagerly await her next column article to find out her viewpoints, but also for a mood lift, due to her very entertaining way of putting it.

To see this week’s story, click on the link below, where you can find a few positives about the menopause to put you in a good mind set for the start of the week. Enjoy!


Alternative Menopause Remedies can include coconut water and colour therapy… how far would you go to stop hot flushes?

Here at Stratum C, we are always researching menopause related subjects to find out the latest news and views on how to treat menopausal symptoms, so that we can share our wisdom with you other menopausal ladies. From bird poo facials to vegetable supplements, we have read about the many, sometimes slightly strange, ways we may be able to relieve the seemingly persistent side effects of menopause.

UnknownNew in today’s findings, some suggestions about how your in take of coconut water, or aloe vera juice (which I can imagine tastes interesting) may help to relieve hot flushes. This was just one suggestion in a list of several unusual ways to find relief from the menopause.

According to a recent article on an American news website (link below), these unusual practices could help to make you feel better. Tips include:

– painting your bedroom blue, as blue is a cool colour and is psychologically calming, therefore encouraging your brain to assume you are in a cooler, calmer environment.

– Japanese fruit – ‘Umeboshi’ – similar to the apricot, is supposed to be good for hot flushes, mood swings and headaches when eaten.

– adding antioxidants and herbal supplements into your diet, which you may say is not that unusual, but it is also not proven to actually make any difference specifically to menopausal symptoms as far as we know (though antioxidants are supposedly a good part of any normal diet).

– A triple daily dose of 4oz Aloe Vera juice mixed with water or fruit juice, or alternatively coconut water, is supposed to help with cooling the body and is apparently good for your liver, though it is also stated that the ‘dosage’ required depends on the person and it is not an exact science.

All these weird and wonderful remedies are worth a try if you are suffering with hot flushes and nothing else is doing the trick. Hot flushes seem to be the worst and least treatable symptom for many women going through ‘the change’. Aside from a recently FDA approved drug, there doesn’t seem to be much else we can do other than experiement with natural remedies and see if mother nature deals us an ace. If you prefer the natural way, then these alternative therapies may be for you, whilst others may wish to stick to the regimes they already have in place.

If you have any tips to share with other like minded ladies, please comment below or visit our forum. You can also find us on facebook by searching Stratumc. Just remember that before you make any big changes to the way you treat your symptoms, always talk it over with a health professional first.

To read the full article referenced above, click the link below: