Monday, October 17, 2011

No Paraben is not related to Paraffin.

Most consumers have never heard of Paraben. In fact, some people seem to think it is in some way related to paraffin which is wax. Though most people have simply never heard of Paraben....I think the paraffin reference comes from lack of exposure to the term.

Paraben is actually the most widely used preservative in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. This toxic ingredient is found in cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, moisturizers to name a few. The marketplace is riddled with products that contain some form of paraben. It is overwhelming to think that 98% of our health and beauty products contain this type of preservative. By the way, products containing Paraben are found in all price points in stores ranging from Target or Wal-mart to Nordstrom or Sephora.

So just what makes paraben a toxic ingredient?  While the jury may still be out on whether Paraben is in fact bad, I always err on the side of caution and have adopted the precautionary principle in many aspects of my life. This principle certainly applies to personal care products.

Numerous studies have shown that Paraben is directly linked to cancer....specifically breast cancer because it will mimic Estrogen. In some studies it has also been shown to cause skin reactions like contact dermatitis(exzema)  and rosacea. There is also evidence that when Methylparaben is applied to the skin before sun exposure the UVB will react and cause skin aging and DNA damage. It is suspected to also be an Endocrine System disruptor which means it interferes with the hormonal system that can cause tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders.  These are just a few effects of paraben. While some studies have shown to be inconclusive, there is still reason to take notice. Why tempt fate?? I would certainly rather use products that do not include ingredients that have been linked to skin irritations and potentially contributors to cancer.

As mentioned before, Paraben can be found in numerous products. The five most common names you will find on labels are ButylParaben, EthylParaben, HeptylParaben, MethylParaben, and PropylParaben. Be sure to look at your current products and see for yourself. Send me an email or comment if you would like some great suggestions on brands that you can use to replace your existing products!