What are Parabens and Why You Should Remove Them From Your Beauty Products

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Parabens are commonly found in cosmetic products and until recently, you seldom saw products labelled “paraben free.” So what are parabens and should we care whether the products we use contain them?

Parabens are an antifungal agents and the most common preservative in cosmetics, moisturizers, hair products and personal care products.

They stop the growth of bacteria, fungus and microbes in your favorite products.

Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and there are many forms of parabens:

  • Isobutylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Propylparaben

You will find these listed on an endless array of personal care products. In the last few years, a debate has ensued among scientists, cosmetic manufacturers, and product safety regulators about whether these chemicals, which have been used for nearly 70 years, could potentially be hazardous to our health.

Link Between Parabens and Some Cancers

One of the questions recently asked is whether the increase in breast cancer rates could be linked to the use of parabens. That’s because parabens can mimic estrogen, and these parabens have been found in breast cancer tumours.

Another concern has been that the potentially declining sperm counts, increase in testicular cancer, and increased rates of male breast cancer may be linked to parabens.

The answer is that researchers aren’t sure and although some would like consumers to believe there is nothing to worry about, many believe that the alarm bells should be rung.

Oncology lecturer and researcher Philippa Darbre from the University of Reading in England published a study in 2004 that detected parabens in 18 of the 20 samples tested from breast tumour biopsies.

While her study did not prove the parabens caused the cancer, what it did prove is that the parabens were detected within the cancer cells.

Another Danish study raised the ‘alarm bells’ when it showed parabens were detected in the urine and blood of healthy young men just a couple of hours after a lotion containing parabens was applied to the skin.

The reason parabens are so widely used is because they are cheap and highly effective. Decades ago, parabens replaced formaldehyde as a preservative.

How You Can Spot Parabens

Parabens are used in such a wide range of products that reach far beyond personal care, cosmetics, and hair products. They can be found in some foods, health care aids, and even pharmaceuticals.

You need to read labels and look at the active ingredients of all products that you are thinking of using.

We recommend to look for products that are paraben-free to cut your exposure to the risks associated with parabens.

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I prefer natural products and try to buy paraben-free products to support my healthy lifestyle. Click To Tweet

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Featured image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net



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