Parabens are chemicals that have been widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers. They keep products fresh by preventing the growth of microbes.
Their effectiveness as preservatives along with their low cost explains why their use has become so commonplace. They are becoming increasingly controversial however.
This is because they have been found to have potential health risks. People are concerned about the risks of parabens in cosmetics, especially when it comes to skin creams, because it has been proven that they are absorbed through the skin and linger in the body.
Parabens Have Been Widely Used For Years
Parabens have been widely used in products to prevent bacteria growth since the 1950s. It has been estimated that up to 85 percent of cosmetics have them because of their anti-bacterial properties.
This chemical preservative appears in many personal care products that contain significant amounts of water, such as skin creams, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, toothpastes, cleansers and scrubs, shaving and tanning products etc.
So What’s the Problem With Parabens?
These chemical preservatives have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. “Estrogen disruption” has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive, and other health issues.
Dr. Philippa Darbre, a research scientist at the University of Reading (UK), published a small but pioneering study in 2004, that showed high concentrations of parabens in human breast tumors.
While this study did not provide a conclusive link to specific cancers it was important because it was the first time intact parabens had ever been measured in the human body.
The chemicals ability to remain in the body sounded a serious alarm because if they can be stored in the body, over time they could have a cumulative effect and pose a health risk.
Since then, several studies have detected and reported parabens in human urine and tissue. In fact studies have shown that they are found in nearly all urine samples from U.S. adults without regard to ethnic, economic, or geographic backgrounds
While concentration limits in products are recommended, these recommendations do not account for the use of multiple forms of them in a single product, or for an individual using several products containing them.
Should I Avoid Using Skin Care Products With Parabens?
There are good reasons to be mindful about the amount of these chemicals that you are using in your everyday products, and especially for the ones used on your skin and body.
Dr. Darbre conducted a more comprehensive study that confirmed Parabens are getting into a body’s tissues in significant amounts mainly through absorption into the skin.
This conclusion was formed because they were found to have bypassed the liver, which indicates that you’re not getting them from your food, they’re being absorbed through your skin.
There is no reason to panic though as there are options to limit your use and exposure Some manufacturers have eliminated them from ingredient lists.
Be cautious though because they’re still used in many mainstream products. Check the labels or the company website on the products you use for the following ingredients: methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben, or butylparaben.
Over the last few years in response to customer concerns, many brands have started to manufacture paraben-free products, including lotions, lipsticks, shampoos, scrubs, and more.
There is no reason to not use these products, especially in lotions that coat a large area of your skin and remain there. The natural /organic sector have many effective alternatives you can use.
Want Better Looking Skin Without The Use Of Parabens?
Many people who are now looking for a paraben-free skin lightening product may not have heard of a popular product called Meladerm. It does not contain harsh chemicals like mercury, steroids, hydroquione, and of course parabens.
It was was formulated years ago by Civant Skin Care, one of the pioneers in developing an all natural skin care product that works.
They also solved one of the major problems of how to keep natural ingredients fresh without the use of harmful chemicals.
This was done by using an airless pump that uses innovative technology to dispense it’s contents, thereby avoiding contaminating the product with air. This keeps it fresh and microbe free for a very long period of time.
Julia, a user of this product stated on 3/11/13:
Civant has made a huge difference to my self esteem and I love the product for that. I’m so grateful after years and years of trying numerous products that invariabley failed and even considered going to a cosmetic surgeon to consider expensive laser therapy. Thank you to the team at Civant, I will be forever a devotee of your products because THEY WORK!
One reason you may not of heard of this product is because it is not found in department stores or pharmacies. You can only buy Meladerm Cream online direct from the manufacturer.
You can read more about parabens on the safecosmetics.org website.