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The Relationship Between Parabens, Cosmetics, and Cancer

You’ve heard of the dangers of parabens in makeup, or perhaps noticed some items in your makeup aisle now boasting the label, “Paraben-Free,” but do you really understand the risks that come with this common cosmetics ingredient? It isn’t just a scare tactic or consumers “overreacting.” There are real studies showing a frightening connection between parabens – a preservative widely used in cosmetics – and cancer. Get the facts so you can shop for paraben-free makeup like a pro.

What are Parabens?

The word “parabens” refers to a group of preservatives that many manufacturers use in cosmetics, body lotions, shampoos, deodorant soaps, sunscreens, and other personal care products. Parabens are chemical preservatives that contain esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. What does this mean? In layman’s terms, parabens prevent the growth of mold and bacteria by mimicking estrogens. The most common parabens in cosmetics are propylparaben, methylparaben, ethyparaben, and butylparaben.

The Dangers of Parabens in Cosmetics

The main risk that parabens pose to humans is the potential to interact and interfere with the body’s growth factors – increasing the odds of developing breast cancer and reproductive problems. Studies have shown that parabens mimic the growth processes of estrogen on breast cancer cells. Despite professional opinions differing on the matter, many consumers choose to play it safe by avoiding products with parabens altogether. A great place to start is with paraben-free cosmetics.

The skin acts like a sponge in many ways. It can and does absorb elements from the environment. This includes ingredients in makeup applied to the face and body. The skin may absorb parabens and other preservatives, potentially increasing the risk of breast cancer and other health problems tied to parabens. Applying foundation, blush, lipstick, and eyeliner that contains parabens could therefore trigger estrogen receptors and stimulate breast cancer cell growth. Makeup without parabens, on the other hand, eliminates this potential hazard.

Paraben-free makeup is devoid of this dangerous preservative. Ingredient lists of these cosmetics are completely paraben-free, using alternative procedures and packaging choices to make stable products without relying on chemical preservatives. Using paraben-free makeup may be a choice you want to make if you want to eliminate the chance of breast cancer cell growth through the absorption of parabens – especially since one study by the Silent Spring Institute found an increased risk of breast cancer in even tiny amounts of parabens.

Stay on the Safe Side with Paraben-Free Makeup

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have rules that apply to parabens in cosmetics. This is why it’s important to make the distinction between typical cosmetics and makeup without parabens on your own. The FDA does not regulate the usage or amounts of parabens in cosmetics.Once you decide to shop only for paraben-free makeup, learn how to make sure the items you buy truly don’t have parabens. They are easy to spot in ingredients lists because their names will contain the word “paraben.”

Check all ingredients lists carefully before buying, and contact the company if you’re unsure. If the company is not willing to disclose what’s in its cosmetics, consider shopping elsewhere. Thanks to the increased demand for paraben-free cosmetics, more brands are slapping on labels like “Organic” or “Natural” to try to fool consumers into thinking this means paraben-free. Lax FDA regulation lets them get away with this deceitful marketing. It’s up to you to do the research and make sure there are zero parabens present in the cosmetics you buy.

For most concerned consumers, the current research on the dangers of parabens in makeup is enough to make them opt for paraben-free alternatives. If there is even the slightest chance of the cosmetics you wear everyday increasing your risk of developing breast cancer, don’t you want to switch to paraben-free? If the answer is yes, find a company that promises never to use parabens in its products. This is the best way to find high-quality cosmetics that don’t contain potentially hazardous preservatives. Take your health into your own hands – shop paraben-free makeup.



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