Parabens are the preservatives that are very widely used in cosmetics as well as medicines these days. They are considered very effective preservatives, mainly for their fungicidal as well as bactericidal properties. They are used in almost all products such as shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, toothpastes, and tanning solutions because of their low costs. Lately, however, there has been a controversy surrounding them because of the various health hazards they can cause. So, if you use such products frequently and are thinking, whether they are safe or should one switch to the paraben-free ones, then below is some information that you will find very useful.
Harmful Effects of Parabens
Researches have shown that whatever we apply on our skin, a majority of it, almost sixty percent, enters the blood stream. And this includes the parabens, synthetic preservatives used in the personal care products. Chemically, this material is an ester of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. In cosmetics, the ones that are used most widely are propylparaben, butylparaben, and methylparaben.
In a report titled "Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change", prepared by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it was mentioned that when tests were conducted on parabens, they displayed certain estrogenic activity. In other words, they imitate the body's hormones and can be endocrine-disrupting when rubbed in the skin. They can interfere with certain systems of the body such as thyroid, ovaries, and hypothalamus. Some other researches have shown that it can lead to problems such as premature aging of skin, weight gain, and even breast cancer. Looking at these potential dangers, it's better to shift to paraben-free products, to avoid paying later with one's health.
To search for these products can be quite a task since it is listed in a number of forms on the cosmetic products. So, those who want to avoid them, should check for terms such as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Butyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Parahydroxybenzoate, Propyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Parahydroxybenzoic acid, Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Ethylparaben, Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, and Butylparaben. Any cosmetic which has these as ingredients, should not be used.
If certain cosmetic companies proclaim their products to be natural or organic, it does not mean that they are selling paraben-free products. If one looks at the ingredients of such products minutely, there might be a few parabens listed. A good way is to buy them from the Internet. There are a whole lot of chemical-free and safe options available on the Internet to choose from.
Looking at the serious health problems that these chemicals can create, it is very important to switch to chemical-free products to avoid any kind of health complications in the future. Certain companies, who are concerned about the health and welfare of their customers, are doing their bit too, to offer such commodities to them. Many companies are now replacing parabens with vitamin E and grapefruit seed, in their products. Even essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, cinnamon, and eucalyptus are now being treated and made into natural preservatives which are being used in place of parabens. So, till all the cosmetic companies take the responsibility of offering us chemical-free products, the onus lies on the customers to be careful about their choices.