Recently you may have noticed products, like ours, proudly proclaiming they are paraben free. But what are parabens? Are they really that bad? And should we be avoiding them?
| So come on, what are they? |
Parabens are preservatives used in a large percentage of beauty products. They prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus. If you look on your product labels you will probably notice names like Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Isoparaben and many more. These ingredients have been in regular use since the 1950s.
| If they are so widely used, what's the problem? |
Scientists have been looking at a link between parabens and the rise in cases of breast cancer. During the 90s it was revealed that parabens are Xenoestrogens. These are agents that can mimic estrogen in the body.
In 2004 a British researcher found parabens in malignant breast tumours. It is also being questioned whether declining sperm counts and an increase in testicular cancer are in anyway connected to he fact that these parabens can be absorbed into the skin and potentially disrupt the body's systems that produce hormones.
| So should I be throwing all my paraben containing products away? |
Some critics dispute the negative claims made about parabens. Whilst they agree that parabens were found in some malignant tumours, they feel that non-cancerous tissue should have been tested as well. And because of this, the presence of parabens doesn't prove they caused the cancer.
Other research has found that while parabens can mimic estrogen, the effects are very very weak.
The World Health Organisation consider the chemicals safe at low levels.
| So we are actually no clearer? |
It would be fair to say, like with most synthetic chemicals, you should be wary and mindful about what you are putting in / on your body. And while there is so much uncertainty around the effects of parabens, many consumers are taking the 'play it safe' approach and choosing paraben free products.
Cosmetic industry associations are sensitive to consumers concerns and state there is close regulation of ingredients, and monitoring by health organisations.
| So.....? |
While it is probably advisable to limit your use of parabens, it is of course a matter of consumer choice. Look at your products and know what goes into them. Because we feel we don't know enough, Natural Essentoils made the decision to go 'Paraben free', to take away any concerns our customers may have.