Paraben Free Cosmetics: What You Need to Know
You may have seen products displaying “Paraben free” advertising as parabens have been an ongoing theme in beauty and health media. But what are parabens and are they really that bad? Is there a benefit to buying more natural cosmetic products or paraben free lotion versus the products you’ve been buying that may contain parabens? Here we discuss what parabens are, what they’re used for, both sides of the debate, and where you can find paraben free cosmetics.
What Are Parabens?
Parabens are a chemical compound that are used as preservatives in cosmetics and soaps to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and to elongate the shelf life of products. Synthetic parabens have been in use since the 1950’s to protect the customer and the product. The FDA does not regulate preservatives in cosmetics.
Are They Bad?
Well, the debate continues today whether or not parabens are bad and whether or not they’re necessary in our cosmetics. On the pro side, they do preserve products and prevent the growth of bacteria. In addition, the FDA has not seen any scientific reasons to take action against parabens for consumer safety reasons. On the con side, studies have linked parabens with breast cancer, reproductive issues, early onset puberty, and reduced sperm count. This is because parabens, or p-hydroxybenzoic acid, have “inherent oestrogenic and other hormone related activity” according to a 2004 article published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology by Harvey and Everett. Despite this alarming news, parabens have not been shown to cause health effects, only found to be linked to them.
It’s Your Choice
While parabens may seem unsafe, studies continue to be done as science and technology get better and more thorough. Until now, parabens have not been removed from the market. However, if you prefer not to take a chance with your cosmetics, you can find paraben free makeup and many choices for natural cosmetic products, like paraben free lotion, which are made without parabens. More and more brands are removing parabens from their ingredients in an effort to create more natural cosmetic products. Some of the brands that produce these natural products include: Avalon Organics, Aveda, Tom’s of Maine, Burts Bees, Dr. Hauschka, JASON, and Kiss My Face. Many of these brands can be found in your nearest pharmacy or grocery store.