This week we are decoding a common preservative that is found in many beauty and personal care products – PARABENS. We all know they are bad, but what should we look for on the label if it does not say “paraben-free”?
WHAT ARE PARABENS?
Parabens are a class of chemical preservatives used in cosmetic and personal care products, used to prevent bacteria, microbes, yeast and mold from growing. They can be found in everything! Shampoos, deodorants, skincare, and even oral care products.
FACT: The American Chemical Society estimates that parabens are in about 85% of personal care products in the U.S and Canada.
Parabens have a similar chemical structure to estrogen, and can mimic the effects of this hormone in the body, disrupting proper hormone function. When the body perceives that there is an increase of estrogen in the body, it can cause breast cell division and the growth of tumors. New research has reported that they have detected the presence of paraben esters in 99% of breast cancer tissues sampled.
FOLLOW THE EUROPEAN UNION
My advice is watch what is banned in the EU it is a great guideline for ingredients If they have banned or restricted them you know that there is scientific evidence to consider this ingredient an “ingredient of concern” (listed below for parabens).
I believe that the EU is one of the most respected regulatory guidelines in the world…the U.S. is not as comprehensive and is slow to respond to changes. Canada follows the EU more closely and usually bans the ingredient or restricts shortly after the EU.
THE PARABEN Hit-List:
Methyl Paraben – Banned in EU
Ethyl Paraben – Restricted use in EU
Propyl Paraben – Restricted use in EU
Butyl Paraben – Restricted use in EU
Isobutyl Paraben – Banned in EU
Pentyl Paraben – Banned in EU
Benzy Paraben – Banned in EU