PARABEN HEALTH ISSUES
How often do you look at the ingredients in your products? Parabens have been used since the 1920s, but in the recent 10-15 years studies have shown they are not as friendly as initially thought. When used in high quantities, and in a multitude of different products, the long-term Paraben health issues are substantial. Our cosmetics these days have more ingredients in them than ever before, and in today’s world of information, people are learning more about what belongs in our products and what is considered toxic.
WHAT ARE PARABENS?
“Parabens are a group of chemicals used to artificially preserve cosmetics and body care products such as shampoo, skincare, moisturizers, and more,” as defined by the FDA. Since cosmetic ingredients can expire and biodegrade, parabens create a longer shelf life for cosmetics. They reduce the growth of harmful bacteria, mold, and product separation. Paraben Health Issues
COMMON NAMES FOR PARABENS…
WHY DO PARABENS CAUSE HEALTH ISSUES?
People say anything in small doses is okay, when you overdo it you should be worried. This applies to sugar, fast food, and yes, Parabens. The FDA and EU approved 0.01% to 0.4% of Parabens per product, but when all your products contain Parabens, it adds up. Using Parabens daily overtime can cause all kinds health issues, like the ones listed below.
RECENT STUDIES SHOW PARABENS…
- Harm fertility and reproductive organs.
- Affect birth outcomes.
- Increase the risk of cancer.
- Disrupt hormones.
- Age your skin, making it dry, brittle, cracked, painful, swollen, develop rashes, and several other problems.
- Can cause hives.
- May cause the skin to age faster.
- Increase estrogen production, leading to estrogen-positive breast cancer and male infertility issues.
- Neurological problems.
You may not feel side effects right away, because of the low dose Parabens come in. But after years of using products with Parabens and the body’s inability to dispose of it, the build-up could lead to any one of these health issues.
PARABENS AND CANCER
Since 2012, there have been a number of articles and studies done on Parabens and the category of preservatives. The “CIR concluded they were safe for use in cosmetics at levels up to 25 percent,” writes The Chemical Safety Factory. However, the safety of Parabens came into question during a British study in 2004 showing that Parabens mimic estrogen and showed up in breast cancer tissue. Research has shown that the perceived influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors. “Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity,” reports the non-profit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC).
It’s not just the Parabens in the body that’s bad, it’s that the Parabens molecular formulas were intact when found. This means they were unaltered by the body’s metabolism and cannot be disposed of by the body. So, over years of using Parabens, they will accumulate in the body and store themselves in tissues, such as the breast tissues of the women from the study. Some researchers even say Parabens are worse than carcinogens!
PARABENS AND HORMONES
Parabens are known endocrine disruptors. This means they can trick the body into believing they’re a hormone, causing an imbalance over time. In a 2010 study on rats, they were given products with the Parabens propyl-, isopropyl- and isobutyl parabens. The study showed that these specific Parabens mimic estrogen. The rats had disrupted reproductive systems and even harmed the female rat’s reproductive development. Of course, these are rats and not humans, but it does raise concern; especially when considering the above study by the CSC as well.
PARABENS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Parabens aren’t just bad for humans, they impact the environment too. For the first time, Parabens have been found in the bodies of marine mammals. Researchers believe this happens because of the water we use and that water ends up in the sewage system, then the ocean. Researchers also believe rivers carry Parabens as well, affecting fish. “A 2015 study also reported that parabens have shown up in the tissues of marine mammals like sea otters, dolphins, and polar bears. How toxic this isn’t yet known, but they aren’t supposed to be in the natural environment in the first place,” shows a study by ACS Publications.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the marine mammals that are in danger. “Parabens have been linked to ecological harm, especially under the sea. Low levels of butylparaben in sunscreens can bleach coral (which can ultimately kill it), reports the Environmental Health Perspectives in 2008. Parabens are an extremely common ingredient in sunscreen. When people go swimming in the ocean or shower, the sunscreen washes off into the ocean. “Back in 2015, a majority of the coral found on several reefs in Hawaii died as a result of bleaching (from sunscreen). More than half of all the coral reefs experienced bleaching and more than a quarter died as a result,” says Kai Kanani in an article from 2020.
WHY ARE PARABENS STILL ALLOWED?
The FDA doesn’t have special rules that apply only to preservatives in cosmetics. It’s also more lenient than the EMA in Europe. FDA rules are typically for food and many cosmetic ingredients are overlooked. The law treats preservatives in cosmetics the same as other cosmetic ingredients. Under the US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the shelves. Health advocates are pressuring the FDA to ban parabens in products sold in the U.S.—as the European Union did in 2012—but concerned consumers must take matters into their own hands for now by reading product labels and avoiding products with parabens. Many companies made the move in 2012 to create Paraben-Free products, but the ingredient is still out there.
WHAT COSMETICS CONTAIN PARABENS?
It’s shocking how many products these days contain preservatives, chemicals, and Parabens. Parabens are especially common in products that are frequently exposed to water, due to the potential bacteria that arises when water comes in contact with the products ingredients, such as shampoos and body washes. Parabens are common in hair dye to preserve them while they’re on the shelf, waiting to be sold. This way stores don’t have to throw away as many extra products. But that’s not all, Parabens may just be more common than you think.
THE MOST COMMON PRODUCTS WITH PARABENS ARE…
- Liquid and powder foundation.
- BB and CC creams.
- Tinted moisturizer.
- Cream and powder blush.
- Moisturizing face cream.
- Shampoo and conditioner.
- Body wash.
- Shaving cream.
- Lip balm and lipstick.
- Petroleum jelly.
Parabens are quite common, as you can see. They are the easiest and cheapest preservative for large corporations to use in their products. Parabens are in everyday household products and Godefroy thought they should do something about that!
“Many natural and organic cosmetics manufacturers have found effective alternatives to parabens to prevent microbial growth in personal care products,” reports CSC. Some companies have created preservative-free products. Due to the documented studies of Paraben’s harm to the reproductive system, many people believe Paraben should be completely banned, instead of just limited. Godefroy believes Paraben should not be used in personal care or cosmetic products, especially because it is 100% possible to create products that don’t have any of these chemicals. To avoid Parabens in skincare products, many companies use organic sources of preservation such as salicylic acid, benzoic acid, and sorbic acid. Look for airtight packaging with minimal exposure to open-air as it’ll help limit bacteria growth. Godefroy product formulas are gentle and safe. Godefroy sells products for eyebrows, hair care for men and women, and eyelash products. Click here to learn more!
If something like Parabens worries you, always check labels before purchasing products, even if you’re unsure, it’s best to be safe. Most companies that sell Paraben-Free products will advertise this on the front of the product, so it’s easier to ensure your products are chemical-free. With haircare, we recommend looking out for alternative preservatives, including sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate. Check out Godefroy’s hair dye products including beard enhancing cream, touch-up dye, and application kits! Every product is always, Paraben-Free.
Breast Cancer Action https://bcaction.org/
Campaign For Safe Cosmetics https://www.safecosmetics.org/ Environmental Health Perspectives
https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/ehp. 10966 ACS Publications