What are they? Any of a group of compounds used as preservatives in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products and in the food industry.
Where are they found? Skincare products such as lotions, scrubs, sprays, body and face wash, and even foods.
Pros & Cons? Parabens are tricky, because there actually is a PRO to this chemical. Parabens allow items like face wash, lotion, body wash, etc, to stay on your bathroom shelf for years, without growing bacteria. Most of us wouldn’t like the idea of rubbing bacteria-ridden lotion all over our bodies. So if you have a skincare product you’ve been holding onto for years, rest assured that if parabens are an ingredient, it is still fresh and ready to use. However; as with most chemicals that extend shelf life, there are a handful of CONS.
In 2004, a British study found traces of five parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of 20 women studied. The study didn’t prove that parabens can cause cancer but identified that the parabens were able to penetrate the skin and remain within tissue. The fact that this chemical can stay under your skin for who knows how long doesn’t settle well with me!
Parabens are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen. Too much estrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumors, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
So with parabens, I would err on the side of caution. There are so many safer substitutes and a handful of skincare brands who have promised not to use parabens in their products. If there are products available that are safer, why not use them instead of risking it?! Using products with parabens isn’t terrible in small quantities, but my advice would be to start slowly switching over your products that contain parabens, to paraben-free products for happier skin!
Safer Substitutes – Norwex offers a slew of skincare products, from soaps and lotion, to deodorant and eye creams!