I had been considering writing about parabens for a while but I saw something that just threw me over the edge. It was a shampoo bottle from a well known shampoo brand (not naming any names but it does say “herbal”) and on the front it claims that it contains “0% silicone and 0% paraben”. So they are saying geez, we are so good and caring and since parabens are so bad we didn’t put them in. But they surely made sure they put in not only SLS but threw in SLES for good measure as well. Wow, how caring!
So what are parabens and why are they used in cosmetics?
There are four main types of parabens being used: ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. You will mostly find them in things like shampoos, conditioners, shaving gels, tanning lotions, sunscreen, toothpaste, deodorants, lotions, facial and shower scrubs. Their main use is as a preservative as they fight bacteria and fungus (and are cheap to manufacture). Although parabens are found in nature (like in blueberries), the majority of parabens used in the products are manmade.
The man made version of parabens mimics estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. As such, it causes endocrine disruption. It has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer as well as developmental reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity.
They say that it is most dangerous for pregnant women and young children.
I say that anyone with skin is at potential risk.
Couple of things to keep in mind here. If there are paraben free options available, that tells me that there is no need for it’s use in the first place (clearly, other options are available).
Secondly, if a product claims to be paraben free, that is great! But look at the rest of the ingredients as well. Are they trying to trick you (like our friends above) by clever marketing? Saying that their product does NOT contain ONE potentially harmful ingredient, but then including another five potentially harmful ingredients to make up for it?
Do NOT be fooled!
You know that you can always ask me questions if you are unsure about something, that is why I am here 😉 x