Parabens–Should You Worry?

Long-name ingredients are not new in the cosmetic world. But if you have noticed “Paraben-Free” on your beauty products, those products are avoiding using:

  • Butylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Benzylparaben
  • Heptylparaben

So why are these ingredients being shunned while other ingredients are not?

What are Parabens?

Before the 1950s, formaldehyde was the most popular preserving agent around. Used in foods, beauty products, and other goods, formaldehyde kept nasty bacteria and fungi away. However, around the 1950s, chemists introduced a new group of chemicals called parabens. Cheap and more effective, food and drug companies began using them. It was not long that beauty companies started adding parabens to their products for safety and profit benefits.  Decades later, about 85% of all cosmetics have at least one or more of these parabens.

Why the concern?

While it seems parabens are safe, the concern behind them started in the 1990s. Researchers labelled parabens as xenoestrogens―agents that mimic estrogen in the body. These “Estrogen disruptors” has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues in both male and female bodies. The major blow to the paraben name happened in 2004, when a British scientist found parabens in breast cancer tissues. As a result, many countries began limiting the amount of parabens in products.

However, there are critics to these studies. Many have started just because parabens are present in the tissues of cancer patients does not mean parabens CAUSE breast cancer. Since there are mix reviews about parabens, both the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration and the World Health Organization consider parabens to be safe at low levels.

What you can do?

When it comes to parabens, the information is out there to make a wise decision. Personally, I do not buy products with parabens. I find products without them last just as long as products with them. That is my personal decision, but I do hope you conduct your own research to come to yours.

Luckily, many companies that are cruelty-free and vegan usually do not add parabens. A quick reading of the ingredients is always wise though! I do believe with the Green Movement growing, parabens will eventually fade away.

What Are Parabens―and Do I Need to Worry About Them?

Parabens & Preservatives: Parabens: Are They Really a Problem?


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