Knowing what is inside the products you use every day is so important when it comes to wellness and looking after your skin. With brands and companies constantly promoting new and exciting products, I think some personal research is always a good idea at the end of the day.

Have a look at the ingredients list in your regularly used cosmetics and skincare. Here are some common parabens used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products:

  • Benzylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
Did you see any of these names pop up? Probably, so now let's strip things down to the basics. 

What are parabens?
Parabens are essentially a group of compounds used as preservatives to increase the shelf life of products. These preservatives have caused quite a frenzy in the beauty industry, with a lot of companies reformulating their products to be "paraben-free".

What the hazards of parabens?
Scientific studies have found that parabens may interfere with hormone function. They have been detected in the tumors of breast cancer patients, therefore suggesting a possible association between parabens in cosmetics and cancers, and studies have also linked parabens to skin problems and DNA damage. 

Should I be worried about parabens?
Before you go off and throw out all of your products with parabens in them, keep in mind that while these studies have detected parabens in breast cancer, there are no studies that point to the use of parabens being the cause of such cancers. We also do not know whether parabens arrive in tumors via food, cosmetics, or pharmaceutical products.

It's very easy worry and over analyze when the Internet is flooded with articles that state parabens cause cancer and that we need to stop using them. While it is a theory, as of yet, there is no scholarly evidence that links parabens to be the cause of cancer.

I myself am undecided about parabens, but I would like to stress one thing. There is absolutely no point in using paraben-free beauty products if you are continually consuming products that contain these preservatives. In fact, we are exposed to parabens every day. I use products that are paraben-free and ones that contain many preservatives, but I use such products because I genuinely want to. I should however note that they are skin sensitizers, so if you have sensitive skin, it would probably be best to steer clear of them.

All the while, it seems like I have been defending parabens however, there are always two sides to every story. So if you would like to make the choice as to whether you would like to be "paraben-free", do your research first and have a clear vision as to why you have come to your decision. Don't let the Internet or the beauty industry scare you out of using something you really like because they have condemned an ingredient to be the end-all be-all.

What are your opinions on parabens? Did you find this article to be useful? Let me know in the comments!

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1 comment

  1. I'm a beauty editor and have read a lot about this. Parabens have been used for over a hundred years and are safe. The FDA has reexamined them over the past few years and again found them to be safe. Cosmetics MUST have preservatives in them, or bacteria will thrive and can cause harm. Therefore, whenever you're told that a product has no parabens, you should ask the question, "What preservatives are being used then?" and you might find out that they're using preservatives that haven't been tested for as long as parabens and so they don't know if they're safe for not.


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