What are Parabens?

What are Parabens?

When you see a product labeled as being paraben-free, you might wonder what are parabens and why it might be important to know about them.

What are they?

Parabens are used to make products last longer; their chemical properties make them effective preservatives that keep ingredients fresher for longer. Preventing the growth of potentially harmful microbes such as bacteria or fungus, thereby increasing shelf-life. Products such as soaps, moisturisers, shampoos, conditioners and deodorants frequently contain these chemicals. They usually show up on product ingredients lists as:

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

Parabens can easily be absorbed through the skin. Many health and science studies have found that they can sometimes mimic the hormone oestrogen. Too much oestrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumours. While there are differing views on this subject from a range of medical researchers, there is little question that these chemicals are found in some cancerous tumour tissue. The links between parabens and cancer (specifically breast cancer) is of particular concern to many people.

Should we stop using Parabens?

It is important to note that the percentage of preservatives in a formulation is generally very low. Therefore, it is difficult to say for certain if they are bad for us. However, there are many other preservatives now available so it’s no longer necessary to use them.

Alternative Paraben-free products may contain ingredients, such as organic acids, that help to preserve formulas without harmful side effects. Examples of organic acids used in the place of Parabens include diazolidinyl urea, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate.

Whether you choose to buy skin care products containing parabens is ultimately your choice to make. In recent years there has been a growing demand for cosmetics and skincare that don’t contain parabens. By knowing why they may be bad for you, you will be able to make an informed decision about what to buy (and what to avoid). While staying away from parabens requires a little research and planning, it can be done, and many people feel happier knowing that these preservatives have been taken out of the equation.

Whilst there will always be differences of opinion, we choose not to supply our customers with products containing parabens.

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