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What are Parabens ? How it negatively impacts us


You can find parabens in majority of cosmetic products. Michelle Scott-Lynch, founder of Boucleme, a unique hair care brand acknowledged as paraben-free explained the preservative prolongs shelf life of health and beauty commodities by preventing the growth of germs and molds. This stabilizer also goes by the names of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Manufacturers have been using parabens since the 1950s. Cosmetic specialists say these chemical additions have a history of being safe, cheap, and effective. Over the years, majority of leading brands have made and labeled their products (shampoos, lotions, body scrubs, and lipsticks) as “paraben-free” to entice more customers. This is one of the reasons said labels have become popular lately. We can also find parabens in baked goodies, syrups, jams, and some beverages to maintain the freshness of these foods.

The Truth about Parabens

Only a few years back, scientists, manufacturers, and regulators have been engaged in debates whether these additives are harmful or not. Some nutritionists pointed out that parabens allow personal care products to last for years. However, these chemicals also enter our bodies through the skin.

More than a decade ago, research studies discovered traces of parabens in the breast tissues of about 20 women-respondents. The study failed to prove the preservatives caused cancer. However, the parabens managed to penetrate their skin and stay in the tissues of the human body.

Additional studies found out the compounds have the capacity to interrupt hormone functions by replicating estrogen.  An excess of these sex hormones can prompt possible growth of tumors as well as an increase in breast cell division. This is precisely the reason for linking parabens to reproductive problems and breast cancer.

Parabens don’t just harm humans but affect the environment as well. Take for instance this scientific report which reported that parabens found in the bodies of marine life could have originated from products like makeup and body care washed into sewers and released to the atmosphere.

Parabens and Cancer Diseases

Let’s focus on some research findings. One recent study at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts found out that parabens can accelerate the growth of some varieties of breast cancer cells even in small amounts. These may be more dangerous compared to previous assumptions.

For example, a group of scientists grew these cells in their laboratory treating the cancer cells with minimal dosages of parabens and heregulin, growth substance commonly found in breast tissues.  When these chemicals were mixed, the number of parabens needed to accelerate growth became 100 times lower. The outcome implies parabens can wield effects at levels individuals are exposed to in real life.

Regulations by the FDA

As mentioned earlier, manufacturers use parabens in foods, drugs, and cosmetics. The last category includes makeup, hair care, moisturizing, and shaving products. Major trademarks of deodorants do not contain parabens, according to published articles.

What should be the ideal practice? Cosmetics sold in retail outlets or online shops must contain a completed list of ingredients for the welfare of consumers. At present, the FDA considers preservatives in cosmetic items just like ordinary ingredients. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act provides that beautifying products and components except for coloring do not require approval by the FDA before being sold in the market.

Yet, it is illegal to promote or sell beauty aesthetic goods in interstate commerce if these are misbranded or contaminated. The FDA compels appropriate labeling and directions for consumers’ safety. This agency can take necessary action against brands that fail to observe laws or regulations for safety of buyers and users. Labels must include scientific information for reliability.

Use Parabens or Not

Is it correct to stop using products with parabens? Perhaps, consumers must not panic right away if the percentage of stabilizers in the formula is insignificant. It would be unfair to state that these additives are bad for humans. Besides, companies continue to produce new preservatives which provide more options for consumers and replace parabens in the future.

We cannot avoid people making different assumptions. Some presume natural and paraben-free products may not be as effective as those that contain this compound. The main thing is people must avoid synthetic ingredients that can lead to irritation as well as stress particularly sensitive skin types.


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