Have you ever asked yourself what are Parabens? I know I did a few times until I decided to do some digging and research what these things are myself. Here is a blog for you to check out that covers this subject matter. Parabens come in various different names such as: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben, to name a few. You will personally find parabens listed on thousands of body care products such as lotions, shampoos, body washes, deodorants, face powders, foundations, mascaras, and you may even find them in some foods. Do not be surprised if you discover these ingredients in many of the personal care items you use on daily basis, however, be aware of the following findings below.
In the 1990s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens―agents that mimic estrogen in the body. “Estrogen disruption” has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. And in 2004 British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., found parabens present in malignant breast tumors. As a result, experts in many countries are recommending limits on paraben levels in cosmetic products. What’s more, watchdog organizations worry that if parabens can be stored in the body, over time they could have a cumulative effect and pose a health risk (Gage).
Parabens are known as Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals (EDCs). Once inside the body, EDCs can affect the endocrine system through a multitude of specific mechanisms that can target different levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad, thyroid, and adrenal axes, ranging from effects on hormone receptors to effects on hormone synthesis, secretion, or metabolism; therefore, they can have far-reaching health implications throughout the life course (Meeker, 2012).
One recent Danish study, however, raised concerns. It showed that parabens could be detected in the blood and urine of healthy young male volunteers a few hours after paraben-containing lotions were applied to their skin. The authors concluded that since the chemicals could be absorbed, metabolized and excreted, they ‘could potentially contribute to adverse health effects’. As preservatives, use oregano, thyme, rosemary, goldenseal root, grapefruit seed extract or lavender oil in various combinations (Best Health Mag, 2008).
You may ask yourself, well why do so many companies use parabens in their products, the answer is simple they are cheap ingredients that do not cost very much to produce, and they preserve products. We at Olga’s Organics of course DO NOT use parabens in our formulations, and are completely Paraben Free. Instead as listed above in the article by Best Health Mag, we at Olga’s Organics utilize only natural (costlier) remedies for preserving our products such as; lavender oil, Vitamin E, grapefruit extract, etc.
Scientists continue to study the effects of these endocrine disruptors and have investigated possible links to miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects, deficient sperm, obesity, metabolic disease, bone density and breast cancer. But how much exposure might lead to these health risks simply isn’t known, and scientists cannot ethically conduct tests to directly show such effects (Adams, 2014). European Union (EU) has taken a precautionary approach when it comes to parabens, and completely banned 5 of them from personal care and cosmetics. Unfortunately, United States (US) is not as far advanced as EU when it comes to these chemicals. We sure hope with time, US will have stricter regulations when it comes to parabens that resemble more closely to the EU guidelines.
So how do you avoid parabens from your routine? If a product’s label says paraben-free, that provides clarity, otherwise, it could be found in said product under vague names like ‘fragrances’ (Adams, 2014). Additionally, there has been evidence found from various studies that showed the more toiletries you use, the higher the likelihood of finding parabens in your body. A good rule would be to reduce your items you use in your body care routine, and only use USDA Organic products that are plant based and completely natural for you and your skin. In conclusion, our advice is to gradually remove parabens from your body and skin care routine, with a goal of complete elimination. Our prerogative is “Better safe than sorry”.
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and learning something new regarding some of these common ingredients in the conventional makeup and body care industry. If you liked this blog, please share it along with your friends. The more awareness there is about this topic, the better! Please comment below for topics you would like us to cover in the future.
Adams, J. U. (2014, September 1). Are makeup and lotions harmful? If you're worried, avoid fragrant products. Retrieved June 06, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/are-parabens-and-phthalates-harmful-in-makeup-and-lotions/2014/08/29/aa7f9d34-2c6f-11e4-994d-202962a9150c_story.html
Parabens: What are they, and are they really that bad? (2008). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-looks/beauty/parabens-what-are-they-and-are-they-really-that-bad/
Gage, E. N. (n.d.). What Are Parabens; and Do I Need to Worry About Them? Retrieved June 5, 2016, from http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/skincare/worry-about-parabens
Meeker, J. D. (2012, June 12). Exposure to Environmental Endocrine Disruptors and Child Development. Retrieved June 06, 2016, from http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1171946#ENDOCRINEDISRUPTINGCHEMICALS