Cosmetic Scare Words : Parabens

This morning whilst having a shower, I looked at the back of my body wash and saw in big purple letters: Paraben free.

I know that I talk alot about products that have parabens, antioxidants, organic, and that are gluten free and cruelty free.

I explained anti oxidants in my post “Summer Sensitive Skin”. I went through other toxins like formaldehyde and toulene in my post about ZOYA nail polish and we all know what cruelty free is.  I haven’t gotten into parabens but they are something that is a scare word now in the world of cosmetics but why? When it comes to the chemistry of our makeup and skin care, what are the tiny differences to our body as a whole?

So what are they?

Parabens were the most widely used preservatives in North America (70-90%) in cosmetics such as shampoos, makeup, lotions and deodorants.

They are used as a presrvative with antifungal and antimicrobial properties.  They were used because they were stable on the PH range used in cosmetics, and very soluble in water so they mixed well into any type of cosmetic. They are cheap to make and use in manufacturing. The levels used in a typical mixture of cosmetics are 0.2% methyl-paraben and 0.1% of propylparaben.

Why are they bad if they are in small percentages?

The reason is they have been found to mimic estrogen. Extra estrogen in some females can cause breast cancer. In 2008 France found that cosmetics with parabens were unsafe for pregnant women who already have a excess of estrogen and for young children. Parabens are currently being tested for how they are stored in the body, which if a build up can happen it can then become a concern for a breast cancer risk.

In 2004 a Brittish study found in 20 women the presence of parabens within breast cancer tumors. BUT they never published any findings of parabens in the healthy tissue as well. (“The Cancer-Antiperspirant “Myth”: Could Shaving And Antiperspirant Be Related To Breast Cancer?”. CBS News.2009.) + (Golden R, Gandy J, Vollmer G (2005). “A review of the endocrine activity of parabens and implications for potential risks to human health)

On a personal note, I would not take the findings in ONLY 20 people as fact when it comes to a scientific study vs the billions of people. More studies are underway, and many companies (like the ones I carry) are paraben free to rest customer’s concerns.

the big question: Why do You care Scotia? Why do you make a point of not having parabens in most of your cosmetic lines?

I care because if there is a customer concern, then I might as well use the more organic and naturally made products that are out there so until the studies are for sure I don’t have to worry. There are people with paraben allergies as well so I would just like it to be one less thing to worry about when a new client walks through the door.

The natural alternatives to parabens are:

pomegranate (astringent)

pineapple (anti inflamatory)

ginger (anti inflamtory)

In the end I find this is another scare word and there is not enough evidence to say these chemicals are harmful in the amounts used. Sources listed within the post, and from my go to “consumers dictionary of cosmetic ingredients”.

Obviously too much of anything is bad, and yes even though the small amounts in one products are added to the other small amounts in other products you use but check the facts before you just say this chemical is bad.

If you think chemicals is bad you might enjoy the facebook page about Dihydrogen Monoxide.

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