Are Parabens Really Bad For You? Yes! November 03 2013, 0 Comments

"Paraben" is one of those words that we now hear about every day, but knew nothing or very little about 10 years ago. After years of praising chemicals, we are finally living in a much more health-conscious time and people are spending more time focusing on how any number of small, daily decisions can have a lasting impact on your health and the environment. 

Most of us have come to realize that there is some relationship between our environment and our bodies. It is impossible to ignore the increase in the toxic elements around us and the rapid increases in illnesses and cancers. Toxic elements are of course not limited to our environment, but are also lurking in the beauty products we buy and slather all over our bodies each day. Parabens are one of the most common and disruptive chemicals that have crept into numerous products over the past few decades. 



What Exactly are Parabens?

Parabens are an entire class of chemicals commonly used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. The chemicals are designed to limit and reduce the growth of microbes especially in water based products 
that can become a breeding ground for nasty bacteria (not the helpful probiotic kind). There are four very popular parabens that you will immediately recognize and are sure to find in most commercial brands: butyparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben and ethylparaben. They are different chemicals, but they all have the same molecular structure. Just think about it, what product starting with propyl, methyl or butyl have you ever found to be good for you or healthy and nurturing. The quick answer is none. Take a close look at the labels on facial scrubs and cleansers, bath gels, shampoos, lotions and conditioners.

What’s So Dangerous About Parabens?

Remember that your skin is the largest organ of your body. It covers you from head to toe and while it does act as a barrier against many toxins; it can only do so much to keep the bad stuff out while still getting the good stuff in. The pores in your skin not only serve to eliminate waste but also allow substances and elements including toxins into your bodies. In fact, a great deal of the toxins that enter our bodies, do so through our pores. The parabens present in skin care products very easily enter through your pores and into your skin, and then it’s into your bloodstream and of course your digestive system. The proof is in your urine and in the samples taken from breast cancer patients’ biopsies.


In most of the urine samples taken from adults in the U.S., parabens were found in concentrations that mimicked the concentrations found in the various skin care products. There are pre-prescribed industry standards that limit the usage of the individual parabens but those standards don't make allowances for, or take into consideration the use of several different parabens in one product or the fact that an individual will use more than one product containing parabens on any given day.


How Parabens Disrupt Your Hormones

The information from the Environmental Working Group’s skin deep website shows that these deadly toxins have been linked to endocrine disruption and our endocrine glands control our hormones. In much the same way these chemicals destroy bacteria in water-soluble ingredients; they also eat away at living cells inside our bodies.This causes our own bodies to work against us by spreading toxicity and thereby disrupting hormone function.
The chemicals act as estrogen in the endocrine system and bind themselves to estrogen receptors leaving actual estrogen unable to attach to the receptors. In cellular studies the parabens multiply the effect of genes that are normally controlled by a type of estrogen known as estradiol and cause human breast tumor cells to increase and rapidly multiply. This factor among others has been linked to cancer. Studies done have revealed the presence of at least five parabens in the tissue samples of tumors taken from breast cancer patients. The studies done are not large or wide scale enough to categorically prove that parabens cause breast cancer, but it is extremely noteworthy that the studies show and confirm the presence of intact parabens in the body seemingly unaffected by any of the body’s attempts to process or break them down during metabolism.Sydelle Cosmetics

Healthy Alternatives

Other problems associated with parabens include difficulties caused by increased reproductive toxicity and complications during pregnancy, various skin problems and disorders and immunotoxicity and neurotoxicity.  There are healthy alternatives to beauty products filled with parabens. Preservative free products with a shorter shelf life offer a viable healthy alternative and they can last anywhere between three to six weeks depending on water content. For products with high water content there are several milder preservative alternatives including  lincoserve and various acidic plant extracts. For 100% natural skin care products that are free from parabens and preservatives check out the products available at Sydelle Cosmetics.