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What Is Paraben In Cosmetics?

What Is Paraben In Cosmetics
What are parabens, and why are they used in cosmetics? – Parabens are a family of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products. Preservatives may be used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, in order to protect both the products and consumers.

Why is paraben harmful to skin?

More on the health risks posed by parabens, and how to go paraben-free – Posted on January 3, 2020 Written by: 100% PURE ® These nuisance ingredients could be lurking in your skin care and beauty collections – and your pantry! It’s also possible that you’ve seen this claim on product labels, but are unsure what it really means: “paraben-free”. There is a deep rabbit hole of controversy discussing whether or not parabens are dangerous – but some facts are undeniable.

Today we’re covering what parabens can mean for your health, in which everyday products they’re hiding, and confirm why you should be seeking out paraben-free products. What Are Parabens? Parabens are synthetic chemicals that are used as preservatives in personal care products, foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.

As preservatives, parabens increase a product’s shelf life by preventing harmful bacteria, fungus, and yeast from growing. While there has been more buzz about parabens the past few years, these sneaky culprits have actually been around since the 1950s! Parabens are no strangers to the cosmetics and skin care industries.

According to the American Chemical Society, most parabens are in 85% of health, beauty, and personal care products. They are commonly listed under methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, or isobutyl parabens. While it seems these little superheroes may be saving the life of your products, turns out they could be moonlighting as your skin’s – and body’s – arch nemesis.5 Side Effects That Make Parabens Unsafe As the adage goes, too much of something can be bad for you – and parabens are no exception! With the majority of parabens being found in conventional beauty products, daily use of these products over time can cause a buildup of parabens and do more harm than good.

This occurs when these products and their pesky parabens are absorbed through the skin and into the body. Just like makeup and skin care products, foods and beverages also need preservatives to prevent harmful bacteria and microbes from growing and harming us.

  • When parabens are ingested over time through food or food additives, the health risks and effects can be potentially worse.
  • Follow along to find out the risks and facts about these stranger-dangers and why you should avoid them.
  • 1: They’re Endocrine Disruptors The chemical structure of parabens is similar to the hormone estrogen.

Research shows this estrogen-mimicking has marked them as endocrine disruptors, and parabens have even been recently linked to cases of early puberty in girls. Over time, endocrine disruption can lead to a variety of problems including adult onset acne, male breast growth, developmental and neurological disorders, and various cancers.

Other studies have shown that parabens can also alter thyroid hormone levels, causing possible adverse health effects. #2: Links to Breast Cancer While some research has revealed that parabens can mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body’s cells, this estrogenic activity is associated with certain forms of breast cancer.

Estrogen is a female hormone that has been known to cause both normal and cancerous breast cells to grow and divide. Parabens have also been found present in breast tumors. In 2004, British scientist Philippa Darbre published a research paper that appeared to find traces of parabens in breast cancer tissue samples.

This study testing for parabens in human breast cancer tumors found traces of 5 different parabens in 19 of 20 tumors. Darbre found that not only can parabens enter your body through the skin, they fuel the growth of existing cancer cells. #3: Links to Reproductive Problems There has been research into parabens being linked to an increased risk of reproductive problems,

These changes may contribute to adverse health effects in both mothers and their children, potentially leading to reproductive complications and a heightened risk of cancer in adults, as well as developmental issues in children. #4: Can Cause Allergic Reactions Parabens can trigger irritation and allergic reactions in the skin, especially to sensitive, damaged, or broken skin.

  • Studies show that parabens can be especially inflammatory to those with pre-existing conditions of psoriasis, eczema, or a pattern of contact dermatitis.
  • This is why parabens are not often used to preserve topical hydrocortisone creams or antibiotic ointments.
  • 5: Absorbed Quickly By Skin Just how quickly and easily can parabens get absorbed into the skin? According to EWG, parabens are absorbed rapidly through intact (unbroken) skin.

In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control detected parabens in nearly all of the 100 urine samples tested, indicating widespread exposure in Americans. This proved that these widely used chemicals get absorbed quickly and easily into the skin, which over time could cause harm. Where Parabens Are Hiding Since it appears there’s widespread exposure to parabens in many things, it’s especially important to get skilled at reading product labels. Any personal care product that has an ingredient ending in -paraben should be on your list of products to avoid. Researchers have also found that some 90% of typical grocery items contain measurable amounts of parabens. This is why being cautious of what we’re applying to our skin is just as important as what we’re putting inside our bodies. Parabens are another example of a food preservative, although they’re not called parabens when used in food – they’re identified as “E” numbers instead.

  • Examples include: methylparaben (E218), heptylparaben (E209), and ethylparaben (E214).
  • Typical products which contain parabens for preservation include: Beer Jams Dairy Products Sauces Pickles Fats and Oils Desserts Frozen Meals Processed Meat and Fish Soft Drinks Processed Vegetable Canned Foods Flavored Syrups Alcoholic Beverages What You Can Do About Parabens There are many skin care and beauty manufacturers responding to consumers’ concerns about parabens.

This has spurred conception of new preservation methods, which are just as effective at maintaining product freshness and quality. In fact, the amount of conventional products being manufactured with parabens has gone down, in what researchers believe to be consumer pressure or complete avoidance of parabens altogether.

  1. While other manufacturers may not quite be on board, you always have the option to go completely paraben-free, and to steer clear of these pesky culprits.
  2. For those who can manage it, growing your own food or buying exclusively from organic farmers can help achieve a preservative-free diet.
  3. If you enjoy using cosmetics and personal care products without the worry and health effects of parabens, opt for toxin-free makeup and products that are just as effective.

Still curious about the case against parabens? Read more about the facts and harsh effects on parabens, plus what you can do to avoid them.

What ingredient is paraben?

Parabens are man-made chemicals often used in small amounts as preservatives in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages. Common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Often more than one paraben is used in a single product.

Are parabens okay in skincare?

A decade ago, shoppers looking to buy a facial moisturizer may have looked for ingredients such as retinol to reduce wrinkles or vitamin C to protect the skin from sun damage. But today, in the age of “clean” beauty, customers are also choosing personal-care products — makeup, sunscreen, skin care, deodorant, hair care, dental care, fragrance — based on what they don’t want in them.

  1. Among these unwelcome ingredients is a group of preservatives called parabens.
  2. Now, products such as Aussie miracle moist conditioner with avocado and jojoba, and Dove deep moisture body wash are labeled “paraben-free,” and retailers including Target and Sephora have “clean” beauty aisles where parabens are forbidden.

The concern raised about these widely used synthetic preservatives stems from research showing that parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen and a broadly criticized 2004 study that suggested a potential link between parabens and breast cancer. But what if parabens are not as dangerous as feared? And what if the substitutes being used in countless “paraben-free” products can have major side effects? Could it be that the focus on parabens has been misplaced? That’s the stance of many scientists — including Philippa Darbre, professor emeritus in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading in Great Britain, who led the controversial 2004 study that sparked the worry about parabens and breast cancer.

And it’s making some of us who follow the industry (including myself, once open to the concept of “clean” beauty) start digging into the science that has spread fear of parabens and other synthetic ingredients. But first, some background: Parabens were introduced in the 1920s and are found in personal-care items, food products and pharmaceuticals such as antacids, cough suppressants and antidepressants.

They became the preservatives of choice, because they are broadly antimicrobial and inexpensive and rarely prompt an allergic response. Of the 21 parabens, the four most commonly found in cosmetic and skin-care products are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben.

  1. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have deemed parabens safe for use in cosmetics (a category that includes makeup, skin care, hair care and shaving products) with no suggested limits on concentration.
  2. The European Union’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety considers the use of methylparaben and ethylparaben in cosmetics safe at the maximum authorized concentrations (0.4 percent for one paraben or 0.8 percent when used in combination) and the use of propylparaben safe up to a maximum concentration of 0.14 percent.
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These concentrations are higher than those typically used in cosmetic formulations, according to Lalita Iyer, a New York City-based cosmetic chemist who has formulated personal-care products for both beauty conglomerates and indie brands. “Parabens are one of the most effective broad-spectrum preservatives out there,” Iyer said.

The beauty of parabens is that you can really use them at a low percentage.” But doubts about the safety of parabens were raised in the late 1990s, when research led by British molecular endocrinologist Edwin Routledge indicated they could have an estrogenic effect. Those results prompted Darbre’s 2004 paper, a small study that found parabens in the tissue of breast tumors and that sparked concerns that there could be an association between parabens and breast cancer,

While much of the research into the hormonal effects of parabens that followed was conflicting, none of it confirmed a connection between parabens and breast cancer. According to ” Parabens Toxicology,” a 2019 review of the literature led by surgical dermatologist Anthony Fransway, no study of parabens has concluded that they contribute to hormone disruption, breast cancer or skin cancer in humans.

  • Until such time as convincing data are published and verified, claims that parabens have any role in these controversial and important health problems are premature,” the researchers wrote.
  • But that didn’t settle the matter.
  • While research was ongoing, concern about parabens had taken hold in the public, and “paraben-free” products started appearing at stores.

Experts warn, however, that these formulations are potentially more harmful than their counterparts, because the preservatives used in place of the parabens are less studied and more likely to cause an allergic response or allow product contamination.

“The issue is that, when people freaked out about parabens, we started using more preservatives, which are way more allergenic,” said Walter Liszewski, an assistant professor of dermatology specializing in allergic contact dermatitis at Northwestern University in Chicago. “For example, my Head & Shoulders shampoo says ‘paraben-free’ but uses methylisothiazolinone (MIT) in place of parabens, which is way nastier.” Methylisothiazolinone is a known contact allergen,

Iyer, the cosmetic chemist, added that natural preservatives typically do not extend the shelf life of a product more than six months, compared with two years for parabens, and that natural preservatives kill a much narrower spectrum of microbes. “This is extremely problematic,” she said.

  1. According to the FDA’s “Cosmetics Recalls and Alerts” page, several “clean” companies have voluntarily recalled products in the past two years because of the presence of mold, yeast and bacteria.
  2. This included multi-level-marketing company Beautycounter, which voluntarily recalled its Brilliant Brow tinted brow gel because testing found the mold Penicillium.

Esther Oluwaseun, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based research and development formulation chemist, said most of the recalled product cases listed on the FDA’s site could have been avoided had the brands used broad-spectrum preservatives such as parabens. “But because parabens have been demonized, formulators are forced to use less effective preservative systems.” Darbre’s 2004 study, ” Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours,” has been broadly discredited.

  1. Critics started raising concerns immediately after its publication, citing the study’s small sample size (20 tumors), its failure to look at control samples of normal breast tissue, its inability to determine the source of the parabens and possible contamination of samples used in the research.
  2. Later that year, Darbre published a response in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, stating: “Nowhere in the manuscript was any claim made that the presence of parabens had caused the breast cancer.” But in the public mind, the connection had been made, though scientists and organizations have continued to point out the research’s flaws.

The American Cancer Society agrees with the criticism: “The study did not show that parabens caused or contributed to breast cancer development in these cases — it only showed that they were there,” it says on a Web page about parabens. The National Cancer Institute also noted that there is no evidence that parabens cause breast cancer and included a footnote to a 2019 report by the industry-funded Cosmetic Ingredient Review’s expert panel, which concluded that 20 of the 21 parabens in the report are safe in cosmetics as long as the total in a product is less than 0.8 percent.

  • Despite the strong critiques, Darbre’s study has been cited close to 1,000 times since publication.
  • Timothy Caulfield, the Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta, said it’s not unusual for what he calls “zombie papers” to live on.
  • This is a big problem — bad studies are polluting the academic literature and, sometimes, meta-analysis.” Caulfield said there are other forces at work that are contributing to the public’s wariness of parabens, however, pointing to some beauty companies that he says spread ” chemophobia ” (the irrational fear of chemicals).

“I don’t know a universe where chemicals don’t exist,” he said, “but that’s the narrative that brands like Goop and Honest Company like to sell, and unfortunately, it’s extremely effective.” Goop and Honest Company declined to comment. Iyer also cited the influence of retailers such as Sephora that promote paraben-free products.

“Brands want that ‘ Clean at Sephora ‘ label on their products,” she said, “so they refuse to use parabens.” A representative from Sephora said the company’s “Clean at Sephora” criteria “reflect the latest data and research.” But Iyer also has concerns about the way research about parabens is being disseminated to the public.

“I think a lot of the push away from parabens stems from organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) spreading misinformation and cherry-picking data to meet their agenda.” The activist organization’s science, tactics and publications, including its annual ” Dirty Dozen ” list of produce most likely to be contaminated by pesticides, have been questioned by experts.

  1. Iyer mentioned EWG’s parabens overview page, saying the organization had chosen “outdated studies to meet their narrative” and left out context.
  2. For example, the page cites a study of rats exposed to butylparaben during development, which found harm to the animals’ reproductive systems.
  3. But, she said, the rats were orally fed high amounts of parabens, “which is quite different than topical application on humans.

It’s fearmongering.” When asked about these examples, Carla Burns, EWG’s senior director of cosmetic science, said the parabens article was written in 2019. “We have more recent information,” she said, “and the continuing, evolving scientific space is listed on our Skin Deep database under each of the applicable paraben ingredient pages.” Evolving science does not seem to have affected the public’s mistrust of parabens, however.

  1. That concerns Darbre, author of the 2004 study, who has continued her research into estrogenic chemicals.
  2. She now says many hundreds of such chemicals “may add together at low concentrations to make cells grow up to their maximal rate.” Therefore, she said, “hounding” one set of chemicals, such as parabens, is not useful.
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“It would be wonderful if a single chemical could be identified as a sole problem and then replaced by something ‘safe,’ but this is unlikely to happen,” Darbre said. “What often happens now is that one chemical with ‘bad press’ is replaced by a new chemical with less data.” She cited the reduction of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical heavily used in plastics until 2008.

What is another name for parabens?

What are the top tips to avoid exposure? –

  • Look for products labeled “paraben-free.”
  • Avoid products listing parabens as ingredients. Common parabens and their synonyms include:
    • propylparaben (or propyl 4-hydroxylbenzoate),
    • butylparaben (or butyl 4-hydroxylbenzoate),
    • ethylparaben (or ethyl 4-hydroxylbenzoate)
    • heptylparaben (or heptyl 4-hydroxylbenzoate),
    • methylparaben (or methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate)
  • Pay particular attention to products marketed to kids: both the European Commission and Denmark have banned butylparaben and propylparaben from diaper creams and other leave-on products for children under three.,

Reviewed 2019 Mervish, Nancy et al. “Dietary predictors of urinary environmental biomarkers in young girls, BCERP, 2004-7.” Environmental Research 133 (2014): 12-9. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2014.04.040, National Center for Biotechnology Information. “PubChem Compound.” Accessed November 17, 2020.

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doi:10.20452/pamw.2257, Stiel, Laura et al. “A review of hair product use on breast cancer risk in African American women.” Cancer Medicine 5, 3 (2016): 597-604. doi:10.1002/cam4.613, Environmental Working Group. “EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.” Last modified September 1, 2020.

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  • Exposure determinants of phthalates, parabens, bisphenol A and triclosan in Swedish mothers and their children.” Environment International 73 (2014): 323-33.
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Darbre, Philippa D, and Philip W Harvey. “Parabens can enable hallmarks and characteristics of cancer in human breast epithelial cells: a review of the literature with reference to new exposure data and regulatory status.” Journal of Applied Toxicology 34, 9 (2014): 925-38.

doi:10.1002/jat.3027, Pan, Shawn et al. “Parabens and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligand Cross-Talk in Breast Cancer Cells.” Environmental Health Perspectives 124, 5 (2016): 563-9. doi:10.1289/ehp.1409200, Pan, Shawn et al. “Parabens and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligand Cross-Talk in Breast Cancer Cells.” Environmental Health Perspectives 124, 5 (2016): 563-9.

doi:10.1289/ehp.1409200, Darbre, Philippa D, and Philip W Harvey. “Parabens can enable hallmarks and characteristics of cancer in human breast epithelial cells: a review of the literature with reference to new exposure data and regulatory status.” Journal of Applied Toxicology 34, 9 (2014): 925-38.

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Darbre, Philippa D, and Philip W Harvey. “Parabens can enable hallmarks and characteristics of cancer in human breast epithelial cells: a review of the literature with reference to new exposure data and regulatory status.” Journal of Applied Toxicology 34, 9 (2014): 925-38.

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  • Savage, Jessica H et al.
  • Urinary levels of triclosan and parabens are associated with aeroallergen and food sensitization.” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 130, 2 (2012): 453-60.e7.
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  • Relationship between urinary triclosan and paraben concentrations and serum thyroid measures in NHANES 2007-2008.” The Science of the Total Environment 445-446 (2013): 299-305.

doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.12.052, Calafat, Antonia et al. “Urinary concentrations of four parabens in the U.S. population: NHANES 2005-2006.” Environmental Health Perspectives 118, 5 (2010): 679–685. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901560, Calafat, Antonia et al. “Urinary concentrations of four parabens in the U.S.

  1. Population: NHANES 2005-2006.” Environmental Health Perspectives 118, 5 (2010): 679–685.
  2. Doi:10.1289/ehp.0901560,
  3. Stiel, Laura et al.
  4. A review of hair product use on breast cancer risk in African American women.” Cancer Medicine 5, 3 (2016): 597-604.
  5. Doi:10.1002/cam4.613,
  6. Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee (IBCERCC).

“Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention.” Last modified Feburary 2013., Konduracka, Ewa et al. “Relationship between everyday use cosmetics and female breast cancer.” Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnetrznej 124, 5 (2014): 264-9.

Where is paraben banned?

A brief but telling piece of legislation was put forward in Connecticut in January. Just three lines in length, the bill calls for any cosmetics in the state to “meet the chemical safety standards established by the European Union”. The move, unlikely to be made law, is the latest signal of mounting anguish over the enfeebled regulation of everyday products in the US compared with European countries.

Across a span of cosmetics, including makeup, toothpaste and shampoo, to items ranging from household cleaners to fruit juice to cheese, hundreds of potentially harmful ingredients banned in the EU are legally allowed in the US. toxic embed “Many Americans are unaware that they are absorbing untested and unsafe chemicals in their products,” said Alex Bergstein, a state senator who put forward the Connecticut legislation.

Bergstein was previously the chair of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental health center. “Generally, the EU has got it right. In the US we have a strong favouritism towards companies and manufacturers, to the extent that public health and the environment is being harmed.

  • The pendulum has swung in an extreme way and it’s really going to take a general awakening by the public.” The disparity in standards between the EU and US has grown to the extent it touches almost every element of most Americans’ lives.
  • In cosmetics alone, the EU has banned or restricted more than 1,300 chemicals while the US has outlawed or curbed just 11.

It’s possible to find formaldehyde, a known carcinogen banned in EU-sold cosmetics, in US hair-straightening treatments and nail polish. Parabens, linked to reproductive problems, are ruled out in the EU but not the US, where they lurk in skin and hair products.

Coal tar dyes can be found in Americans’ eyeshadow, years after they were banned in the EU and Canada. “In the US it’s really a buyer beware situation,” said Janet Nudelman, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “Cosmetics companies can use any raw material that they like and there’s no way to know if they are safe before they reach the shelves.

The contrast with the EU is stark and troubling.” At the heart of the EU’s approach is what as known as its Reach (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) laws which require manufacturers to prove to regulators that a product is safe before it can be used.

The US has similar rules for new chemicals entering the market but no such precautionary principles for the thousands of potential toxins already in use. This means that certain dyes used in cheese, chocolates and juice are restricted in some European countries such as the UK – where a 2007 study found some artificial colors and preservatives are linked to increased hyperactivity in children – but not the US.

Atrazine is the most widely used herbicide in the US but has been banned in Europe since 2003 due to concerns it pollutes water. Lead-based paints were banned in much of Europe before the second world war but it took the US until 1978 to follow suit. Products such as shampoo and conditioner contain potentially harmful ingredients that are banned in the EU but legally allowed in the US. Photograph: Graham Turner/The Guardian Asbestos exposure has long been known to cause deaths and illnesses but the substance is still not banned in the US.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to do so in 1989 only to be overturned by the federal court following a backlash from manufacturers. The clout of powerful industry interests, combined with a regulatory system that demands a high level of proof of harm before any action is taken, has led to the American public being routinely exposed to chemicals that have been rubbed out of the lives of people in countries such as the UK, Germany and France.

“When the asbestos ban got overturned the EPA got nervous about banning anything,” said Molly Jacobs, a senior researcher at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, “That was the last time the EPA sought very strict restrictions on industrial chemicals.

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The EU definitely has stronger policies.” Of the more than 40,000 chemicals on the market in the US, the EPA has only banned six, including polychlorinated biphenyls (known as PCBs) which are linked to cancers, certain aerosol sprays blamed for the hole in the ozone layer and dioxins, used as an ingredient in Agent Orange, which the US sprayed during the Vietnam war.

Under a 1976 law called the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) the EPA has the power to limit chemicals, but critics say it is severely flawed. The act largely focuses on new potential toxins and even then gives the EPA just 90 days to work out if new products pose a risk before they hit the market.

A 2016 amendment known as the Lautenberg Act required the EPA to evaluate all potentially risky chemicals, but progress on this backlog has often appeared painfully slow. “The EPA is playing catchup, and under this administration things aren’t moving very fast at all,” said Jacobs. The EPA recently listed 40 chemicals to be assessed for review, including asbestos, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, which is used in refrigeration and can cause damage to the nervous system and liver.

Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA, said the agency was committed to the “successful and timely implementation” of the Lautenberg Act. Q&A

Which parabens are safe?

The FDA has also classified methyl and propylparaben as ‘Generally Regarded As Safe’ by medical and toxicological experts for use in preserving food. What are foods that contain parabens?

Is paraben good or bad for face?

Parabens, Explained – What Are Parabens And Why Should You Use Paraben-Free Makeup Products Not all beauty products are good for your skin but there are certainly some that are better than others. In a world where we’re increasingly aware of what we eat, it’s no surprise that we’re equally aware of the ingredients in our skincare and what we put on our face.

  1. But which product ingredients are good and which are bad? You don’t need to be a to know the answer to that one.
  2. Anyone who’s skincare-aware will recognise one of the biggest names on the naughty list: parabens,
  3. So we’re told parabens are bad for our health and our skin but what actually ARE they? Bacteria? Bad particles? It’s a beauty myth that we’ve all commonly accepted without knowing much about them.

Which is why we caught up with the pros to find out what parabens actually are and why we should be boycotting them. What Is Paraben In Cosmetics LAUNCHMETRICS SPOTLIGHT What are parabens? Consultant Dermatologist, says, ‘Parabens are a group of preservatives that are widely used in topical pharmaceutical products. They are also used in cosmetics, skin care products, medications, foods, and industrially in oils, fats, shoe polishes, textiles and glues.

‘Despite being cheap and for the mass markets, they are also added to many luxury sector skin and cosmetic products. Parabens started to be added to products in the 1950s and they are used primarily to prolong shelf life and also to prevent growth of bacteria/ mould etc within them. In chemical terms they’re a series of parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid.’ Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of looking for ‘CONTAINS PARABENS’ on the bottle.

When it comes to studying the label of your favourite serum, the names to look out for are butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben aka the most commonly found parabens. Why are parabens thought to be bad for us? According to Veraitch, ‘In recent years there have been growing concerns about the use of parabens in self care products. A British study found 19 out of 20 women studied had parabens in their breast tissue. This has caused concern as it showed that the parabens in self care products don’t just sit on the skin but they can be integrated and remain into our bodily tissues.

From such data it has been speculated that parabens could potentially lead to cancer formation. ‘There is also some evidence that parabens can mimic the effect of oestrogen, which has again in turn been linked to cancer formations and infertility. Parabens can also commonly cause skin sensitivities and allergies.

The skin sensitivities and allergies occur by repeated exposure of parabens to the skin, and then the immune cells in the skin slowly but significantly mounting an immune response to when parabens subsequently come into contact with the skin.’ Why are parabens bad for the environment? Parabens aren’t just bad for humans, they impact the environment too. What Is Paraben In Cosmetics Courtesy of Press Office So should we stop using parabens ASAP? Don’t panic. It’s important to note that the percentage of preservative in a formulation is generally very small. But, as Dr Veraitch concludes,’I would not use or recommend using skincare products that contain parabens, and the beauty industry needs to start paying more attention to what we are recommending consumers put on their skin.

Are parabens proven to be harmful?

Are Parabens Bad For You? – Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer here, hence a decades-long debate. On to that study that Pruett mentions, above. In 2004, British scientist Philippa Darbre published a research paper that appeared to find traces of parabens in breast cancer tissue samples.

While there wasn’t enough evidence to conclusively prove a link between paraben use and increased cancer risk, the paper did prove that parabens can pass through the skin barrier and into our bodies. Rubin continues, referencing Darbre’s research, “The main concern is for endocrine disruption and association with breast cancer,” she says.

“A small study showed trace parabens in breast tumors, though no causal relationship between parabens and breast cancer has been established.” Darbre’s research added fuel to concerns that were already surrounding parabens as potential disruptors to the endocrine system, meaning they can interfere with our regular hormone production, specifically by mimicking estrogen, which some researchers suggest could potentially lead to reproductive complications and heightened cancer risk in adults as well as developmental issues in children.

But as Pruett notes, there were “definitely some issues” with Darbre’s study, “because they didn’t test normal tissue for parabens, but the theoretical risk has raised concern for consumers. The FDA has not banned parabens in the US. because of the lack of scientific proof that they have an affect on human health.” According to EU and FDA regulations, parabens in their current form are officially considered safe to use, since cosmetic products only use a very small concentration of these ingredients in their formulas (up to around 0.4 percent, though measurements do differ for each paraben).

Rubin reassures that parabens are rather safe to use. “Other than the possible health concerns as discussed above, parabens are usually well-tolerated,” she says. However, in 2019 EU legislators set new rules for the term “paraben-free” stating “free from parabens should not be accepted, as it denigrates the entire group of parabens” to curb the use of it in beauty marketing and labeling so it doesn’t stigmatize brands that continue to use them.

That said, numerous skin, hair, and makeup companies are choosing to formulate with alternatives just in case. Although parabens haven’t been proven to be dangerous, Rubin chooses not to use them in her products. “At SEEN Hair Care, we prefer to minimize risk so we are paraben-free,” she says. “We use the precautionary principle; if multiple research casts doubt over an ingredient’s safety to humans or the environment, we will not use it,” explains Rose Ovensehi, the founder of Flora & Curl Botanical Haircare, an all-natural hair care line formulated for those with naturally dry, textured hair.

Meanwhile, Elsie Rutterford, a cofounder of Clean Beauty Insiders and BYBI Beauty, a beauty brand that creates 100 percent natural, certified vegan, and cruelty-free skincare products echoes this play-it-safe sentiment: “Many believe parabens are linked to serious diseases and hormonal disruption in men and women, but many fiercely debate this.” “Any ingredient that causes that much controversy in our eyes is best kept out of our products—proven or not, why take the chance?” Rutterford continues.