Let’s Talk About: Parabens

Let’s Talk About: Parabens

You may have heard from many people to avoid using any product that contains parabens. But do you know what it is and why is it used in cosmetic & personal care products? Let’s find out! 

What Are Parabens?

Parabens belong to a group of chemicals that have been widely used as artificial preservatives since the 1920s.  Parabens are preservatives that keep bacteria and other microbes out of cosmetic, skincare & personal hygiene products.It prevents & reduces the growth of harmful bacteria & mold and allows your products to have a longer shelf life. They are also known by some other common scientific names such as: 

  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben

How Is It Bad For Your Body & Skin?

Parabens are absorbed into the body through the skin and into your bloodstream, metabolized and excreted in urine and bile. Research has shown that parabens can potentially cause harm to our body.

Reproductive & Hormone Disruption
Paraben can act like the hormone estrogen and disrupt the normal function of both male and female hormones and reproductive systems. It may also disrupt the production of hormones such as decreasing sperm production and lowering testosterone levels or decrease fertility by reducing the menstrual cycle length.   

Breast Cancer
Scientists are concerned about how parabens contribute to the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer in women. Studies have shown that Propylparaben can alter the expression of genes and accelerate the growth in breast cancer cells. Low doses of Butylparaben were not considered harmful, until research shows that it can work with other cell receptors to switch on cancer genes and increase the growth of breast cancer cells.

May Promote Skin Irritation
Constant exposure to skincare products that contain paraben may lead to sensitive skin, causing allergic reaction after using it for a long time. The immune cells in the skin will slowly but significantly build an immune response when parabens come in contact with the skin.

Additional Facts

Not Environment Friendly

Parabens are believed to cause harm to marine life and damage and kill corals. Paraben traces can be found through personal care products that incorporate the use of paraben such as sunscreen. 

Where Else Can Parabens Be Used & Found?

During the 1970s, people were exposed to or consuming parabens as it was used as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of food and beverages. Propylparaben was recognised to be ‘generally safe’ in the 1970s. However, this safety label has been outdated given by recent scientific research that showed negative health effects associated with parabens. 

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