You may have seen the label "paraben-free" as you walk down the skincare aisle. As the name suggests, these are products containing no parabens.
This ingredient is causing a big buzz in the beauty community, particularly among skincare lovers. Many consumers, including experts, have classified parabens as a toxic ingredient. Others believe it is all just a bunch of scare tactics.
Parabens are preservatives commonly used in health and beauty products. They hinder the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold, to extend their shelf life.
However, many are avoiding parabens like the plague. They would rather opt for paraben-free products in their quest for a clean skincare routine.
Here are five proven dangers of parabens and why you should boycott this potent ingredient.
Five Dangers of Parabens
Parabens and cancer
The biggest controversy surrounding this ingredient lies in its chemical structure. Parabens can mimic estrogens in the body.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), high estrogen levels have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive problems. They can stimulate breast cell division and tumor growth.
Daily use of products containing parabens can result in direct and continuous exposure. This harmful ingredient is absorbed into your skin as you apply it topically. Imagine the potential health risks it can pose to your body over time!
Potent in low doses
A 2015 study concluded that parabens may be more dangerous than you think, even in low amounts. According to molecular biologist Dale Leitman, previous studies only looked at parabens in isolation. While parabens on its own might not cause harm, it can combine with other agents to speed up the growth of breast cancer cells.
So, take precautions and opt for paraben-free products instead. You may never know the adverse health effects that parabens carry.
Build-ups in your system
Parabens are reactive with ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Ultraviolet radiation can degrade the chemical structure, releasing free radicals into your skin! This breaks down collagen to speed up the ageing process.
As a result, you may notice wrinkles and skin discolouration.
Photo source: Napadov
Parabens are more likely to irritate those with skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. Furthermore, they can cause irritant contact dermatitis among those with sensitive skin. This happens when the product is damaging the skin’s layers. Subsequently, you may feel a burn, sting, or itch in areas where the product is applied.
Person with rosacea
Photo source: Refinery29
This toxic ingredient involves the immune system and can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, and even hives. Oftentimes, this allergic reaction appears on the face, neck, and ears.
How to ensure your products are paraben-free
Now that you are more aware of the dangers of parabens, check your skincare labels.
Look out for the six common types of parabens, including methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl- and isobutylparaben.
Check your skincare products before purchasing them
Above all, look out for methylisothiazolinone. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, this high-hazard allergen can suppress the immune system.
Besides that, you should do a patch test before trying on any product. Just because a product is marked as “organic” or “natural” does not mean it is safe for sensitive skin. Place a small amount of the product on the inside of your elbow and wait for two to three days. If you feel any swelling, itching, or burning, avoid the product.
Alternatively, you can opt for paraben-free products. There are plenty of safe products you can use instead.
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