What Are Parabens & Why They Could Be Bad For Your Skin.Soumya Nair
You may have started to notice an increase in ‘paraben free’ labels online, across social media, in your favourite store, and even places like your local hair salon.
It may not be something you ever thought about before, but ongoing research is starting to show why parabens can actually be bad for us.
And now may be a good time for you to take note and make a change in the skin care products you buy.
So what exactly are parabens and what do we need to know about them?
What are parabens?
Essentially, parabens are a group of chemicals that make your products last longer.
Parabens are a class of preservative compounds that have been used in cosmetics and skin care products to extend their shelf life.
They’re found in many of our favourite “conventional” beauty products, including shampoos, soaps, moisturisers, conditioners, and make-up.
Why do we need parabens to do this?
Because any product that contains water can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. When these microorganisms make themselves at home in our favorite skin care products or shampoos, they can lead to problems like mold, discoloration, and can make your favourite product unusable pretty fast.
There has been a lot of debate about the safety of these parabens. In this blog, we will look at the different types of parabens and their possible side effects.
Why can’t my favourite cosmetics be paraben-free?
Usually when skincare products are mass produced, stored in warehouses, and shipped all over the world, they go on quite a journey before they reach your shelf.
So naturally, the shelf life needs to be extended so you can actually use the product when it reaches you.
While your favourite face wash, hand cream, or body lotion, might last longer if they were to include parabens, you may actually be exposing yourself to other personal and even environmental hazards.
What Products Have Parabens?
Even in products labelled organic and natural, you can still find parabens!
But very rarely will you see a label or anything pointing this out.
So, you need to be able to check yourself to avoid parabens before purchasing a product.
If you’re not sure if the products you use or are shopping for contain parabens, you can always check the ingredient label to see whether it shows some of the more common cosmetic parabens.
We listed the most-used ones below so you can spot the products you should avoid.
What parabens are bad?
If you are looking check parabens next time you want to pick up a new skin care product or shampoo, here is a list of common parabens in skincare products to avoid:
Parabens to avoid:
Benzylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
Good alternatives to parabens:
Odium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, Salicylic acid, Benzoic acid, Sorbic acid.
And if you need to check fast, you can download this handy little image to check next time.
Paraben side effects.
Our skin has the ability to absorb the products that we use on it, which means the ingredients found in your skin care products can make their way into your blood stream.
While parabens are approved by the FDA for use in skin care products, there are concerns about potential side effects.
In some studies, parabens have been linked to certain types of cancer, endocrine disruption, and altered immune function among other health conditions.
One of the biggest concerns when this happens is that parabens can mimic the effects of estrogen, which can trigger reactions and become harmful in large quantities.
For decades scientists have been researching the relationship between exposure to excessive estrogen levels and its damaging effects on your body.
Too much estrogen can lead to a host of health problems including menopause, lower bone density, fertility issues and reproductive system disorders.
And studies show that when the body detects abnormal levels of estrogen, it could possibly trigger breast tumor growths and ovarian cancer.
Parabens are also known to mimic the female hormone oestrogen (also known as oestradiol) which aids in cell growth and differentiation.
Oestrogens can also stimulate the production of other hormones such as those involved with inflammation – potentially leading to accelerated aging or skin problems.
Parabens & skin issues.
Have you ever been disappointed by a skincare product’s ability to solve the problem that it promised to on the label?
It’s frustrating to use so many products, even the ones with great reviews, but find that the problem still persists.
You may want to check if the existing ingredients in these products are actually causing the irritation or worsening of your condition, such as a product that contains parabens can cause skin irritation rather than help soothe it.
If you have sensitive skin, it’s wise to keep your skin as natural as possible.
While parabens do have an antibacterial effect on your skin, this active ingredient also makes your skin more sensitive to other irritants.
If you’ve ever had an adverse reaction, such as redness or itching, to skin care products it may be a good idea to check the ingredients list and see if parabens could be the cause.
Parabens and acne.
Quite a few studies have shown a direct link between parabens and acne breakouts. Parabens work by binding to estrogen receptors in the skin. Estrogen hormone plays a huge role in the development and maintenance of acne.
When parabens bind to the estrogen receptors, they can block their concentration and affect acne. If, over time, parabens build up in the pores, they can cause issues like clogged pores and acne breakouts.
Parabens and aging.
One of reasons many of us take great care of our skin os to keep it looking young and fresh.
If you are looking to prevent signs of aging, or trying to roll back to clock a little, you definitely need to hold back on using products containing parabens.
Rather than prevent aging, parabens have been found to actually promote wrinkles and fine lines!
Parabens and skin sensitivities.
If you have sensitive skin, you are probably already picky about what products you use on your skin. Many people have reported issues and allergies to the paraben – methylparaben. Methylparaben has been linked to dry and flaky skin, itching, redness and inflammation, and small red blisters.
As well as causing acne breakouts, people with rosacea can be prone to sensitivities and parabens can worsen rosacea symptoms.
If you have tried a new skin care product or have experienced these issues in the past – check the label to see if methylparaben might be the cause.
Parabens in hair care:
When we buy a conditioner or shampoo we want it to add shine, volume, and protection to our hair.
And just like skin care products, the ingredients in your shampoos and conditioners can be absorbed through the scalp.
However, according to a study in 2010 by the Journal of applied toxicology, parabens can cause a number of problems for your hair including drying, scalp irritation, flaking, fading hair color, and even hair loss.
Parabens and the environment.
As vegans, many of us make this choice for environmental reasons. Going vegan can help the environment on top of being a more ethical, sustainable choice.
For this same reason, we can avoid parabens, are parabens are known to have an adverse effect on the environment around us and even on animals.
Parabens can be found in the bodies of animals & wildlife. These findings suggest that parabens may be harmful not just to humans but also to wildlife and even some endangered species of animals.
Until we truly know the effects of parabens on wildlife, maybe it’s food for thought to avoid them for environmental reasons aswell.
Paraben free cosmetics.
As with any cosmetic product, it’s advisable to read the ingredients list of everything that you buy.
Parabens and other preservatives can be common ingredients across numerous brands.
But just because something is “organic”, there’s no guarantee that it doesn’t include parabens.
Just because a label claims to be organic, you should still take the time to study all of the ingredients listed on a cosmetic product before buying it – and remember, just because a label says it contains 100% natural ingredients does not necessarily mean that the product isn’t potentially harmful for your health!
You can always take the work out of shopping for the right skin care product for your sensitive skin by choosing a company you can trust.
Here at Mytri Wellness we use only natural ingredients, and all our products are paraben free. Our customers can always attest to that.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us anytime in the comments, on our social or directly here on our email address.