What are Parabens and what dos it do?
Parabens are man-made chemicals often used in small amounts as preservatives in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages. Numerous studies has shown that parabens are linked to cancer. It also interfers with your hormone levels and can mimic estrogen, which can result in negative outcomes. Common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.
How People Are Exposed to Parabens?
People can be exposed to parabens through touching, swallowing, or eating products that contain parabens. Many products, such as makeup, moisturizers, hair-care products, and shaving creams, contain parabens. Parabens in these products are absorbed through the skin. Parabens also can enter the body when pharmaceuticals, foods, and drinks containing parabens are swallowed or eaten. Parabens that enter the body are quickly excreted. Parabens are the most widely used preservative in cosmetics. An estimated 75 to 90 per cent of cosmetics contain parabens (typically at very low levels).
If you wouldn’t eat your moisturizer, you shouldn’t put it on you skin either – the chemicals will get absorbed into your system!
Health and Environmental Hazards of Parabens
Parabens easily penetrate the skin and are suspected of interfering with hormone function (endocrine disruption). Parabens can mimic estrogen (the primary female sex hormone). In one study, parabens were detected in human breast cancer tissues, raising questions about a possible association between parabens in cosmetics and cancer. Parabens may also interfere with male reproductive functions. In addition, studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage!
Parabens occur naturally at low levels in certain foods, such as barley, strawberries, currents, vanilla, carrots and onions, although a synthetic preparation derived from petrochemicals is used in cosmetics.
Parabens in foods are metabolized when eaten, making them less strongly estrogenic. In contrast, when applied to the skin and absorbed into the body, parabens in cosmetics bypass the metabolic process and enter the blood stream and body organs intact.
It has been estimated that women are exposed to 50 mg per day of parabens from cosmetics. More research is needed concerning the resulting levels of parabens in people. Studies conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did find four different parabens in human urine samples, indicating exposure despite the very low levels in products.
Methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben are some of the most common parabens in cosmetics. Other chemicals in this class generally have “paraben” in their names (e.g., isobutylparaben, ethylparaben, etc).