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What are Parabens, anyway?

We’ve all heard of them, but what really are they? Well, long story short, they are preservatives. Their job is to prevent bacteria, mold, yeast and fungus from growing in products, therefore increasing the shelf life. So, what’s the big deal? The concern with these chemicals is that scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer--Yikes! 

Parabens are absorbed through your skin and enter your bloodstream. Once in the body, reports have shown that they mimic estrogen and disrupt the hormone system. Estrogen is a female hormone that is known to cause breast cells to grow and divide, both normal and cancerous. Too much estrogen can trigger breast cell division and growth of tumours, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

On top of serious issues, they can also be irritating to skin and cause allergic reactions. 

Why aren't they banned? 

The FDA treats Parabens the same as other ingredients in cosmetic and skincare products. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA approval before going to market--The only regulation is that they are safe when used according to the directions and are labeled properly. 

As far as Parabens, despite what research suggests, the FDA states that they do not have information showing that they present a harm to human health in the way they are currently used. 

Trying to avoid them?

If you are looking to stay on the safe side and avoid Parabens, make sure you are reading ingredient labels--including everything from your hair care products and shaving gels to your high-end skincare. You can look for the following ingredients that are all in the Paraben family: 

  • Benzylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben

Now that you are a bit more knowledgeable, the choice is yours, but rest assured, you won’t need to worry about any Parabens in our products!


References for this information:

Chen J, Ahn KC, Gee NA, Gee SJ, Hammock BD, Lasley BL. Antiandrogenic properties of parabens and other phenolic containing small molecules in personal care productsToxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007;221(3):278-284. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2007.03.015

Mufudza, C., Sorofa, W., & Chiyaka, E. T. (2012). Assessing the effects of estrogen on the dynamics of breast cancer. Computational and mathematical methods in medicine, 2012, 473572. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/473572

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Parabens in cosmetics. Updated August 24, 2020.

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