Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben --- I'm sure you have already seen this a hundred times on different skin care and cosmetic products. You may also find in some other products, especially organic cosmetics and skin care products the label, "Paraben-free". The question is, what are Parabens and are they really bad for you health?
Before I researched about Parabens, I thought that these chemicals might harm our skin but when I decided to read articles about it, I found out that Parabens are very controversial because they may (or may not) be cause of breast cancer.
Parabens are used widely as preservatives in most skin care and cosmetic products. They stop bacteria and fungi from growing in personal care products, especially in creams and lotions which are more prone to bacteria build-up. Parabens can be found mostly in makeups, moisturizers, lotions, face wash, and even on shampoos, toothpaste, and spray tanning solutions. Based on www.wikipedia.org, they can even be used as food additives.
The use of Parabens is very common because they are cheap and effective. However, there has been a debate going on for years on whether these class of chemicals is safe or dangerous for our health. Research said that Parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors and that they have the ability to mimic estrogen which is a hormone that plays a big role in the development of breast cancer. Nevertheless, there are still no strong evidences that Paraben is a big cause in developing breast cancer.
We don't know yet if using products with Parabens is dangerous but they said larger studies should be conducted to find out if they are really a big health risk. According to Philippa Darbre, a senior lecturer in oncology at the University of Reading in England, research has found that 55 percent of of all breast cancer tumors occur in the upper outside portion of the breast, the area closest to the underarm. Because of this, she believes that lotions and deodorants with Parabens might be the cause of it. In spite of this research, there is still no decisive evidence to conclude that Parabens in these products are linked to breast cancer, but still, more research is needed, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
In a recent Danish study, it shows that Parabens are detected in a urine sample of a healthy young male volunteer hours after he applied a paraben-containing lotion on his skin. They raised a concern that paraben might also be a cause for testicular cancer and male breast cancer. On the other hand, according to Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), a U.S.-based industry-sponsored panel of experts that evaluates the safety of cosmetic ingredients, parabens at low levels are not a big concern. CIR have conducted a test on 1984 and on 2005 and it has been reported that based on both tests, parabens are safe at low levels. Products with low doses of Parabens have low probability that these chemical will penetrate into the tissue.
The debate about Parabens being safe or not is still ongoing up to now. If you Google parabens, you'll find more articles about it and I'll let you be your own captain to decide whether you're going to continue paraben-containing skin care and cosmetic products. As for me, I don't want to be a hypocrite or something but I'm not going to throw all of my makeup that may contain Parabens because I strongly believe in the research that Parabens at low levels are safe and also, I don't use paraben-containing products every single day. However, I might avoid deodorants with Parabens in it. I'm just going to stick with my organic deodorant even though it's more expensive than the commercial antiperspirants.
I hope this short article somehow helped you all. Be safe, everyone and God bless us all.
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