You’ve probably heard about them – Parabens. They’re notorious in the beauty world as a dangerous addition to many products. But are they really that bad?
The short answer is: Most likely.
The dangers posed by parabens are highly debated. Some researchers believe that the findings are so minimal that the dangers are also minimal and impossible to link. Others believe that the limited evidence is enough to determine that there is indeed enough of a risk that it must be taken seriously.
With so much debate, it is important that you understand both sides of the equation and make your own determination about whether you believe parabens are dangerous for your health or not.
What Are Parabens?
Parabens are naturally occurring chemicals. Simply put, they are inexpensive preservatives, which is why many beauty products opt to save some money and include them in their products.
“Parabens” is the short name for a variety of strings of chemicals and preservatives. Some of the names you’ll likely see on popular skincare products include:
They’re used in makeup, face wash, body wash, and other types of skincare products. That’s because the dangers of parabens were only recently exposed.
Why Parabens Are Dangerous
Do a quick search online and you’ll find that many websites refute the idea that parabens are dangerous. The FDA has ruled that they are safe to use up to 25% in beauty products. In spite of this ruling, the FDA continues testing the chemical for dangers showing that the risk is not completely refuted and still very much a danger.
The following are some of the biggest reasons women worry about using parabens in their beauty products.
1. Parabens increase the risk of breast cancer.
A study was released in 2004 that shook the beauty industry. In the study, the researchers linked parabens to breast cancer after finding metabolites in breast cancer tissue samples. In full disclosure, the researcher who conducted the study responded to the negative reaction by saying that the presence of parabens caused breast cancer. However, many women still feel it is smart to steer clear of this chemical to reduce their risk of developing or worsening breast cancer.
2. Parabens increase estrogen.
Studies have found that parabens mimic estrogen. They are phytoestrogens, which means they have an estrogenic effect.
Parabens are absorbed through the skin. Because of this, when used on your body, such as in makeup or skincare products, parabens may impact your health on a number of levels. One study showed that when injected into male animals, parabens had an effect on the reproductive systems, including damage to sperm cells.
Estrogen-antagonistic activity has been linked to an increased risk of growing cancerous cells in the body. More specifically, estrogen-antagonistic activity leads to an increase in MCF-7, which is linked to breast cancer. Although many chemicals and foods have been linked to the same increase, including soy, flax and other herbal combinations, parabens still pose a threat.
3. Parabens are dangerous to children.
You baby-proof your home, but how about your beauty regimen? Parabens are not only harmful to female adults. They are also harmful to children.
Some toiletries for babies contain parabens that can get absorbed into your baby’s developing body. Other times, parents use products on their own skin that can transfer parabens to their child. This is especially true when the child is in the womb and a mother rubs a cleanser or lotion on her belly that contains parabens.
A publication by the American Chemical Society in December 2013 showed that researchers are becoming increasingly concerned with the exposure of parabens in kids. Toddlers and babies are more likely to be hurt by parabens than adult women. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly suspects that 90% of babies are exposed to parabens in urine, breast milk and blood.
There is no definitive answer for just how dangerous parabens are on a person. However, with so many questions still in the air and so much research still to be done, many people believe that it is best to take a proactive approach and avoid parabens all together – especially in children.
All THAT Skin Care products are paraben-free.