What are ParabensParabens are commonly used preservatives in cosmetics and medicines because of their ability to prevent growth of bacteria and fungi. Parabens can be found in shampoos, moisturizers, medicines, toothpastes, and are also used as food additives.
Types of parabens
What's so bad about parabens?
- Cancer scare: Parabens have been shown to have weakly estrogenic properties (translation - they behave similar to estrogen, but very watered down) on tests conducted on animals. Reason that would seem worrying is a lot of breast cancers are very sensitive to the hormone estrogen. This means in people with a breast tumor, presence of estrogen can (can, not will) make the tumor grow faster. It does not mean that in a healthy person, presence of estrogen causes cancer. However, this is still under a lot of research, plus the amount of parabens used in cosmetics is supposedly a much much much lower dose than the doses mentioned in research papers.
- Studies have shown that methylparaben applied on the skin may react with UV rays from the sun causing skin aging.
- Some people have skin sensitivities to parabens, paraben allergies, and in such people it can cause skin allergies and rashes. However, this is not a very common occurrence, and generally most people don't have skin reactions to parabens.
- Methylparaben is found naturally occurring in several fruits, mainly blueberries, along with other parabens. Not that I am saying if it's natural, it's safe - but blueberries do seem safe.
- At concentrations generally used in skincare and cosmetics, there is no evidence that methylparaben or propylparaben can be harmful. Methyl and propylparabens are considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for food and cosmetic antibacterial preservation.
- Methylparaben is easily broken down by common soil bacteria - is completely biodegradable.
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