In this article we answer the question, “Why are parabens bad for you?”
You may have seen references to parabens in the media popping up with increasing frequency recently. And more and more beauty and health products such as deodorant, make up and sunscreen are being described by their manufacturers as “paraben free”.
But you may not know what parabens are, or why you wouldn’t want a product to contain them. You may have tried reading up on them but found the terminology used intimidating and difficult to understand.
So let’s discuss what they are in as simple a way as possible and then take a look at why they’re not good for you.
What Are Parabens?
Put simply, a paraben is a chemical that’s added to a wide range of health and beauty products to make them last longer.
They’re able to make the products last longer because of their preservative qualities. These qualities include the ability to kill mold, fungus and bacteria. If the mold, fungus and bacteria weren’t killed, they’d quickly spread and spoil the products, reducing their lifespan. And they could also make your beauty products harmful to your eyes and skin.
Why Are Parabens Bad For You?
So now we know what they are, the next question is why are parabens bad for you?
Well, there’s no definitive proof but in some studies and reports they have been linked to certain forms of cancer, including breast cancer. And so many people prefer to err on the safe side and opt for paraben-free products.
Another reason some people avoid products with parabens in them is because they have an allergy to them. That said, the actual number of people with paraben allergies is quite low, less than 2% of people according to studies. And allergic reactions usually only occur when the parabens have been applied to already diseased or damaged skin. For example, when suffering from an eczema outbreak.
Symptoms of a paraben allergy include skin rashes, irritation, itching and redness.
The problem with finding natural alternatives is that the replacement has to effectively kill the fungus, mold and bacteria that would otherwise grow. That said, there are indeed several natural alternatives that work well, including rosemary extract, fermented radish root and thyme, oregano and tea tree essential oils.
And more and more paraben free products are being developed all the time, which is good news for those who wish to avoid these chemicals.