Everything You Need to Know About Parabens

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

60% of everything you apply on your face is absorbed into the bloodstream. That’s why it’s important to use skin care products and cosmetics that are proven safe and gentle.

Parabens are one of the many beauty ingredients to watch out for. The most common types of parabens are butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Used as a preservative, these compounds inhibit bacterial growth. Parabens have used to preserve lotions, lipsticks, and shampoos since the 1950s. In fact, about 85% of skin care products contain parabens during the 50s.

Unfortunately, studies found that parabens are carcinogenic. These preservatives were deemed as xenoestrogens during the 90s. Xenoestrogens are compounds that mimic estrogen, the female hormone. An elevated level of estrogen in the body could lead to breast cancer and reproductive problems. Worse, parabens can accumulate in the organs. The cumulative effects of parabens is a health risk.

Over the years, beauty brands started removing parabens from their products. But there are some brands that still use parabens to maintain the integrity of their products.

How to Find Parabens-Free Beauty Products

Careful Selection

Products that do not use parabens have a “parabens-free” label shown prominently on the package. If the product does not have this label, it means the company used some forms of preservative to improve shelf-life.  You can always go online and check for brands that do not use parabens.

Check the Ingredients

It’s hard to keep track of parabens because they come by many names. So check the label first. Search for any of these terms in the list of ingredients: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Methyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Propyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Butyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Parahydroxybenzoic acid and Parahydroxybenzoate.

All these are forms of parabens. Cosmetic companies are required by law to list their ingredients on the labels of their products. Only fragrance is exempted from this measure.

Go Organic

There are lots of all-natural, organic beauty brands that do not use chemicals to preserve their products. Understandably, organic or 100% natural products have shorter shelf-life than products laden with preservatives.

Even if the product claims to be organic or natural, don’t take the company’s word for it. Check the label still. The list of ingredients should be short. The product should contain ingredients that you can recognize.

Most beauty counters have separate areas for organic skin and body products. If you can’t find it at your local beauty counter, don’t be shy to ask about it to a sales rep. Explain what types of products you are looking for.

Look For Natural Preservatives

The removal of parabens in cosmetic products paved the way for natural preservatives. These preservatives are derived from essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, tea tree and cinnamon. These natural preservatives are 100% safe unless you are allergic. Grape seed extract and vitamin E also act as natural preservatives. When buying skin care products, see if the company uses any of these safe additives.

DIY Skin and Body Care Products

If you’re still unable to find parabens-free skin and personal care products, why not make some from your kitchen? It’s easy to make your own skin treatment, face mask and even all natural serums and creams! Go online and look for recipes. The beauty of making your own skin treatments is that you have total control over the quality and ingredients. This ensures 100% preservative-free body care products.


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