What Are Parabens?

What are parabens?!

I see everywhere the words “paraben free”…or “I can’t use this product because it contains parabens”. I think many of us see these things and think…hmm…well then I must not want products with parabens in it either. Even though most of us don’t even know what parabens are!

Not so good news: Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors. So you may want to lessen your use of paraben products while pregnant when you already are experiencing hormonal fluctuations. It also (like a lot of other ingredients in skin care, can make your skin more susceptible to uv rays.  As summer is approaching you may want to take note of this especially if you already have skin that is sensitive to sun exposure.

The good news: Keep in mind that when using them in small amounts like skin care products, they are not really harmful. Some studies show that they were actually fully metabolized before they ever entered the blood stream. Tests also show that they are 10,000 times weaker than natural occurring parabens that we consume every day in food and medicines.

Despite what many “natural/organic” brands lead consumers to believe, parabens actually have a very “natural” origin. They are formed from an acid (p-hydroxy-benzoic acid) found in raspberries and blackberries. What’s ironic is that “natural” brands often have to resort to using more synthetic preservatives to avoid using parabens—a direct contradiction to their own marketing!

Parabens are preservatives that keep bacteria out of your favorite creams, lotions, concealers, etc. While it is considered a “chemical” which people are wary of, but most ingredients are “chemicals”… In fact a lot of parabens in skin care are simply made of an acid naturally found in berries! You can find parabens in product ingredient lists by looking for the word in more complicated ingredient names, like methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben

Conclusion: I will not be worrying so much about paraben use. But what you do is up to you now that you know a little more about it! A quote from Oprah Magazine’s beauty editor on parabens “If you’re the kind of person who triple-locks and checks her doors, you’ll use paraben free products”. I am not one of those people.









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