A few months ago, I wrote a post on the Dangers of Formaldehyde and followed it up with a post that included a list of personal care products that may contain formaldehyde as well. But if you've bought skin care and beauty products recently, you may have noticed more and more products going “Paraben Free”. So what are these things called parabens and is it really important to avoid them? That's what I want to talk about today.
What are Parabens?
Parabens are inexpensive chemicals that act as preservatives. They are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and extend the shelf life of beauty and personal care products.
Where are Parabens found?
Parabens are found in a variety of products, especially cosmetics. According to Arthur Rich, Ph.D. “About 85 percent of cosmetics have them.” They can also be found in shaving creams, shampoos, lotions, and even in tanning products. [su_quote cite=”Campaign for Safe Cosmetics” url=”http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=291″]Parabens are most common in personal care products that contain significant amounts of water, such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions and facial and shower cleansers and scrubs, in order to discourage the growth of microbes.[/su_quote]
What are the Dangers of Parabens?
Parabens have been known to cause endocrine disruption and they disrupt hormone function. Some parabens have the ability to somewhat mimic the hormone estrogen. High exposure to estrogen has been linked to the development of breast cancer. Parabens have even been found inside some cancerous tumors.
The Many Names of Parabens:
There are several different types of parabens, all of which should be avoided:
How to go “Paraben Free”:
When shopping for personal care products, read the labels and choose products labeled “Paraben Free”. Many organic and natural brands contain no parabens and are great safer options.
Or better yet, make some of your own personal care product, like these:
- My favorite diaper rash cream
- Coconut Oil Hair Mask
- Homemade Body Butter
- Essential Oil Perfume Recipes
- Homemade Toothpaste
- Cinnamon Hand Soap
I know it can be overwhelming sifting through all of the information online and the more you learn, the scarier it can be. I hope this post gives a clear picture of what parabens are and why they should be avoided.