Parabens In Beauty Products: What Are They and Are They Harmful?

The beauty market is a multi million pound/dollar industry with many of us spending hundreds and even thousands of pounds a year on creams, potions and concoctions all which promise to improve our looks.

Until recently many of us had no idea what was in these products, what we were putting on our bodies and whether there are any risks associated with them. However, in the last few years consumers have begun to wise up to cosmetic ingredients and damning news reports have put a group of ingredients called ‘parabens’ right in the spotlight.


So what are they?

Parabens are primarily chemicals which are used to preserve and stabilise many beauty products so they have a decent shelf life, without them many well known beauty creams, shampoos and makeup items would spoil within a few days and be useless. They also prevent bacteria and nasty fungi from forming and are extremely cheap for cosmetic companies to use in their formulations. That all sounds great doesn’t it? Well that’s what many scientists thought until various tests and substantial research was carried out on the effects on parabens on the body.

What harm are they doing to us?

It was discovered that parabens can mimic the female hormone estrogen, thus creating an excess amount in the body. It is now believed that this, in some cases, can cause cancerous tumours to grow in breast tissue and speed up progression of the disease. This can occur in both men and women. It has been stated that currently there is no conclusive evidence that parabens can cause breast cancer but there is strong evidence pointing this way and so more tests are being carried out.

It has also been suggested that parabens can also contribute towards early onset of puberty, especially in girls with some as young as six displaying classic symptoms. This has also been put down to their oestrogenic properties. Again this research is far from conclusive and this needs to be remembered before we run to our bathroom cabinets and throw all our beloved products in the bin.

Paraben free products?

However, if you do want to take preventive steps just to be on the safe side there are a huge amount of products out there now which have been developed to be paraben free. This should not be confused with organic or ‘natural’ as most still have chemicals in unless otherwise stated but they don’t have those pesky parabens included in their formulations. Originally found only in health shops, they have become more and more mainstream and can be found in many high street beauty stores, supermarkets and chemists.

If you want to know more about the chemicals we are talking about check out the list below for the most common parabens and start label checking when you buy.

Types of parabens:  Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Benzylparaben, and Sobutylparaben.

If you are interested in beauty visit Feel Unique who sell loads of great quality products along with women’s perfumes.


A blogger who loves anything to do with healthy living, meditation, spirituality, horoscopes and happy living! I blog with The Mirror

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