There always seems to be a new ingredient to avoid these days. It can get super confusing, but I am here to help make it simpler. Today’s focus is parabens, and why paraben-free matters. We will start from the beginning…
A Paraben is a preservative that prevents bacterial growth in products. Which prevents the spread of disease and contamination. So a good thing.
Common products that contain parabens are deodorants, shampoos, moisturizers, spray tanning solutions, makeup, lotions and toothpaste.
Ingredient listing names for parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, heptylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben.
Parabens have been in use since the 1950’s.
So what is the issue? Well in the 1990’s, it was discovered that parabens were xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens mimic estrogen in the body. Which ‘estrogen disruption’ has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. It has also been linked to early onset puberty and low sperm count. There was even research to back up that parabens were found in a breast cancer tumor. However, you can find parabens in non-cancerous tissue too. In short, there are no definitive studies that parabens cause cancer; more research needs to be conducted.
The FDA has not set any limits to paraben use in products. A study conducted in 2005 stated that it is safe up to 25% usage. The majority of products only use 0.01%-0.3%.
The EU has limited the use of Propylparaben and Butylparaben to .14% and completely banned them in the use of children’s products below the age of three, due to skin irritation. Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Phenylparaben, Benzylparaben and Pentylparaben are all banned by the EU. However, EU does state that all parabens are safe.
But besides all of that above, this is why I created a line that is paraben-free. For those you who are like me, and have sensitive skin, parabens can cause allergic reactions. Reactions such as contact dermatitis and rosacea. Also, there has been a link of methylparaben and sun exposure reacting to cause aging and even DNA damage, which can result in skin cancer. I will also be using paraben-free on my (future) children, since there seems to be some increased risks.
In short, don’t go on a rampage tossing out all products that say ‘-paraben’, but I would slowly change out the few leave-on type products, like lotions, and makeup. Your body wash, shampoos, etc aren’t doing much damage. And be more cautious with the use when it comes to small children. All-in-all, don’t be alarmed! It is a personal choice I have made for my brand and myself to remove parabens from my cosmetic line. All my products are considered ‘leave-on’, so made the decision to follow the EU recommendations.