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Ingredients to Avoid: Parabens

Avatar • Feb 9, 2009


so, i recently purchased a daily moisturizing lotion online (still waiting on it so i can give a product review), and one thing the manufacturer emphasized is that the product is ‘paraben free’. not realizing that parabens were a bad thing, i did some research, and was kinda disturbed.

i think paraben is definitely another one for the natural girl’s black list. the article i below is from a website called www.short-hair-style.com.

Parabens are preservatives commonly found in shampoo, makeup, skin lotions, creams, foaming cleansers, lipsticks, lip glosses, deodorants and shaving gels ***editor’s note: parabens are also found in hair products*** to protect them from bacterial and fungal contamination. And there’s nothing natural or organic about them.

More and more women are becoming concerned that their so-called natural, nontoxic hair care products and cosmetics could indeed be toxic. For several years now, the scientific community has been raising red flags about parabens and their health effects, especially on women. 

As far back as 1998, researchers reported: “Given (parabens’) use in a wide range of commercially available topical preparations, it is suggested that the safety in use of these chemicals should be reassessed.…” But so far, it hasn’t been and parabens are still in wide use.

The Problem With Parabens

Opponents say parabens, particularly butylparaben, disrupt normal hormone functioning by mimicking estrogen. Scientific evidence suggests exposure to estrogen and substances that behave like estrogen may increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Even more troubling, parabens are being used in products like lotions, deodorants, and make-up that stay on the skin for long periods of time, being absorbed directly into the body. Some scientists are concerned that parabens could migrate through the skin and into the bloodstream, bypassing the gastrointestinal system, which normally breaks down and eliminates toxins from the body. 

So why would all these companies who are trying to convince us that their beauty products are natural and healthy continue to use an ingredient that has come under such scientific scrutiny? 

The companies that use parabens defend them, saying they’ve been in use 70 years and are approved by such bodies as the World Health Organization and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel in the US. 

While it’s true there have been no studies that prove beyond a doubt that parabens increase the risk of cancer, the debate continues over whether the preservative should be in use at all until we know for sure that it’s safe.

to me, this stresses the importance of sticking closer to natural products, and whipping mixtures up as needed instead of relying on shady chemicals like paraben to keep store-bought products fresh over time. what do you think? i mean, i kno store-bought can’t always be avoided… but i’m starting to feel like homemade mixtures, or products from indie companies like oyin and qhemet are the safer/healthier way to go.

also, i kinda want to get a paraben black list going… if you kno any products that are paraben-loaded (and, by default, ones that are paraben free), call them out!

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D?s?? ?
D?s?? ?
11 years ago

Ohhhh so that’s what paraben does. I’ve been wondering because I keep hearing it’s bad. I think I’m going to double check my hair products.

A*E*
A*E*
11 years ago

I’m totally freaked out now! Most of my hair products are pretty natural (ie, no sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, petroleum) but my face wash (noxema) and lotion (jergans) do contain parabens. eek!

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

oh no. okay, i don’t want to freak anybody out. everyone remain calm.

things will be better once we get that paraben free list going…

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

Stop the press! Parabens are organic molecules (from a chemistry perspective — carbon backbone means organic). Second while they are synthesized for the cosmetic industry, they do occur naturally in blueberries! Next, there are so many flaws with the study that linked parabens to cancer. First sample number was small (20 women). Second and biggest issue was there were no controls (meaning no normal breast tissue was examined to see if it contained parabens). There are studies to show that parabens do pass through skin which suggest that parabens may not be linked to cancer at all and are just… Read more »

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ jc, i hear you…

i think, tho, that at the very least it can be said that there is some doubt surrounding parabens. and i think it’s fair to say that the studies are inconclusive either way.

it says a lot, too, that brands like oyin and qhemet, which we’ve all come to respect, have made a deliberate effort to be paraben free.

@ a*e*
i checked my lotion today and found parabens in it. BUT, they were like, the hundreth ingredient down, lol. so i’m guessing it’s not enough to freak about. i’m still suspicious tho…

Da Jadedpoet
Da Jadedpoet
11 years ago

Yeah I have went through my product panic a few months back LOL. I’ve purged all sulfates containing shampoos from my list but ‘cones i’m ok with and parabens i’m learning to live with but the only thing I am slightly concerned about is just my moisturizer. I got it from the same place I received my natural black soap and raw shea butter so its pretty natural but the parabens , the last two on the ingredient, make me only hesitate a little. Not sure what’ll i’ll moisturize with now but I’ll slowly incorporate something. If you wait for… Read more »

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

Parabens are effective at low concentrations anywhere from 0.01 to 0.3%. They are never needed in huge quantities.

D?s?? ?
D?s?? ?
11 years ago

Ohhhh so that’s what paraben does. I’ve been wondering because I keep hearing it’s bad. I think I’m going to double check my hair products.

D?s?? ?
D?s?? ?
11 years ago

Ohhhh so that’s what paraben does. I’ve been wondering because I keep hearing it’s bad. I think I’m going to double check my hair products.

D?s?? ?
D?s?? ?
11 years ago

Ohhhh so that’s what paraben does. I’ve been wondering because I keep hearing it’s bad. I think I’m going to double check my hair products.

D?s?? ?
D?s?? ?
11 years ago

Ohhhh so that’s what paraben does. I’ve been wondering because I keep hearing it’s bad. I think I’m going to double check my hair products.

D?s?? ?
D?s?? ?
11 years ago

Ohhhh so that’s what paraben does. I’ve been wondering because I keep hearing it’s bad. I think I’m going to double check my hair products.

D?s?? ?
D?s?? ?
11 years ago

Ohhhh so that’s what paraben does. I’ve been wondering because I keep hearing it’s bad. I think I’m going to double check my hair products.

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