You’ve probably heard of parabens. And you’ve most likely seen many of your favourite products and brands labelled as ‘paraben free’. But do you really know what parabens actually are? And why your beauty products should be free from them? I’m going to explain all of this for you now. And you’ll understand what they are and why you should avoid them in your cosmetics.
Before we begin, I want to say that this post is not about trying to scare you or scare-mongering of any description. It’s about helping you with some of the terms that you’re probably hearing a lot. Whilst also helping you to understand what’s actually in your products a little better. So let’s get started.
What are parabens?
They’re synthetic preservatives used in a lot of skincare and makeup products. They’re sometimes found in foods too.
Their purpose is to basically keep moisture out of products and protect them from mould and harmful bacteria. You’ll often find them in products such as moisturisers, hair care products such as shampoos and conditioners, body lotion, sun protection creams, toothpaste, mascara, lipstick and many other products that have a liquid or cream consistency.
Why are they so bad?
Obviously, keeping mould and bacteria out of your products is a good thing. But when you take a closer look, parabens are potentially doing more harm than good.
The use of parabens in cosmetics has come into question a lot over the past decade. And there have been many studies done on their potentially harmful effects on our bodies.
Whilst there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence as yet that parabens cause cancer, several studies have found parabens in cancerous cells. One study showed that parabens were found in cells of 18 out of 20 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Research carried out at Cornell University concluded that parabens can be potential endocrine disruptors as they have the ability to mimic estrogen. And they’ve been linked to fertility issues.
They’re also not so great for the skin. Further studies have indicated that methylparaben can react with UVB rays when applied on the skin. This can lead to skin ageing. And parabens have also been linked to skin irritations such as rosacea and contact dermatitis.
Why should I avoid them?
As the results so far have been inconclusive, some people believe using products that contain parabens are safe to use.
Whilst I understand this logic, I personally prefer to use products that don’t contain parabens. In my opinion, if there’s a risk at all, why take the chance.
Especially when there are so many unbelievably amazing products on the market that don’t contain parabens. And I’ve had amazing results from using them. So I’m more than happy to omit them from my makeup bag and skincare routine.
However, this is something you will need to decide for yourself. And my hope with this blog post is that it will help you make that choice by explaining both sides of the argument when it comes to parabens.
As I’ve said, I personally don’t want them in my products because there are so many other amazing alternatives that don’t contain parabens and contain no risk. And these are products that are even better quality than my old mainstream beauty brand versions that did contain them.
How to recognise them
Look for anything ending in the word paraben on the ingredients label. There are many types of parabens. Some examples are methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben.
Beware of false claims!
Whilst a brand may say their products are free from parabens (which is obviously a good thing), this may be just a way to lull you into a false sense of security to believe their products contain only safe ingredients. They want you to believe their products are natural and organic because they don’t contain any parabens.
But the truth is that whilst they may have omitted 1 potentially harmful ingredient, the product may still be full of other ingredients that are not so good for you and your skin. Not to mention the environment! And the products may even have been tested on animals!
There are many times I’ve seen products advertised as paraben free. Yet they contain other nasty ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulphate, synthetic fragrance, formaldehyde. This is known as greenwashing.
Make sure to download this FREE natural and organic beauty starter guide. One of the things it contains is a list of 10 ingredients that I suggest you always avoid in your cosmetics.
So if you see a product that says it’s ‘paraben free’, you can also check the guide to see if any of the other 9 ingredients to avoid are in that product. And if so, you’ll know to avoid that product.
Bear in mind too that any true natural and organic product will never contain parabens. Or any of the ingredients I mentioned in this guide for that matter.
So who can you really trust?
One way to be sure is to check for certification. So make sure to take a look at this post where I talked all about the importance of natural and organic certifications. And how they’re a great way to be sure that your products really do contain only the best ingredients that are good for you. Especially when you’re starting out on your green beauty journey. As it gives you a little bit of extra security on who you can trust.
And if you’d like even more help with this subject, then make sure to get your copy of my FREE Healthy Beauty Starter guide, which you’ll find below this post.
I really hope this post was helpful for you and that you enjoyed it. xo