Why should parabens concern us?
Parabens have shown, through different studies, their ability to affect the reproductive and endocrinal body systems. Some of the results altered the sperm count in male rats and altered the number of pups born as well as affecting their body weight at birth.
Studies have not only been confined to laboratory animals. Research by Dr. Philippa Darbre and her colleagues at the University of Reading carried out tests on 20 samples of human breast tissue taken from patients undergoing surgery. Their results showed that methylparaben represented 62% of all the parabens extracted from the breast tumours.
The thing about parabens is that they are added to many products, in fact according to a report by Elder RL. Final report on the safety assessment of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. 1984; 3:147-209. parabens could be found in 13,200 products in the following categories.
Personal care products,skin moisturisers etc.
Food products (E210 219)
They also affect the thyroid gland and are one of the causes of the signs of premature aging.
Why are parabens added to skincare products?
Parabens act as anti-bacterial agents that prevent mold, viruses and germs contaminating the product. You often see them mixed with other chemicals e.g isothiazolinones to improve their antibacterial properties as they are not effective against fungi.
Basically they act as a preservative and give the product a long shelf life. These chemicals were first added to most skincare products in the early 1920s. They are colorless, and odourless and are incredibly cheap to produce.
Always read the label
If you want paraben-free skincare then read the label if you see any of the following names then leave well alone:
Parabens have the ability to absorb into the blood stream and build up over time providing fertile ground for problems later on in life. Because they are also left on the skin for prolonged periods of time they also can cause allergies, therefore they are no good as a hypoallergenic skincare product.
What are the options?
Fortunately there are other options than using skincare products that contain parabens. There are now natural skincare preservatives available that enhance the quality and effectiveness as well as preserving the product without causing any damaging effects.
Karen is a Complementary Health Practitioner & nutrition researcher. The most valuable & effective products she finds and advises her clients to use are rarely the most expensive or the most-advertised, Check out her website http://www.clean-skin-site.com. To discover her recommendations.