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What Are Parabens And Why Are They Used In Cosmetics?

What Are Parabens And Why Are They Used In Cosmetics?

What Are Parabens And Why Are They Used In Cosmetics?

Parabens are a group of chemicals commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, personal care products, foods, and pharmaceuticals. They are derived from para-hydroxybenzoic acid, naturally present in blueberries.

A Comprehensive Definition of Parabens

The most common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. These chemicals help to extend the shelf life of products, reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, and prevent the product from spoiling. For example, if a mascara develops a funky smell after one year, it is a sign that it needs to be replaced. When parabens are present, a fungus may form around the container’s rim, indicating a spoiled product.

Parabens may cause skin irritation, harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase cancer risk. Moreover, parabens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals known as hormone-mimicking chemicals that act like hormones in the body.

How Do Parabens Affect The Body?

Parabens may cause skin irritation, harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase cancer risk. Moreover, parabens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals known as hormone-mimicking chemicals that act like hormones in the body.

Parabens are absorbed through the skin, blood, and digestive system and have been found in breast cancer cells, which indicates that parabens may act like estrogen. Unfortunately, products that contain toxic chemicals and are applied to the skin have the potential to be washed away within our sewage system and released into the environment, thus posing a threat to aquatic and marine species. Parabens can be found in processed foods, deodorants and antiperspirants, oils, fats, shoe polishes, textiles, and glues. Many brands have removed parabens as ingredients, but some may still use them.

How Do Parabens Act As Preservatives?

Parabens are simply a group of preservatives. These preservatives effectively prevent the growth of fungi, bacteria, and yeast that can cause products to spoil. Parabens have been safely used as preservatives in food, drug, and personal care products since the early 1900s, and several of these preservatives have been designated as “Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)” by the FDA since the early 1970s.

Parabens are effective preservatives in many formulas and are found in shaving gels, shampoos, personal lubricants, commercial moisturizers, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, toothpaste, and makeup. Parabens are also used as food additives, mainly for their antifungal and antibacterial properties, and are found in confectioneries, cereal-based snacks, dried meats, and much more.

Despite some concerns raised during the past century, parabens are considered a low-risk preservative compared to other commonly used topical antimicrobials and preservatives. They have even been declared the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS) non‐allergen of the year in 2019.

The Advantages Of Using Parabens

Parabens have been used as preservatives in cosmetics and hair products since the 1950s and are still widely used. They are popular because they are gentle, non-sensitising, and more effective than other preservatives. Parabens are used in products that must stay on the skin, such as makeup, moisturizers, and hair care and shaving products.

Facial cleansers, moisturizers, deodorants, shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste, sunscreens, shaving gels and creams, foundations, concealers, and eye makeup are just the tip of the iceberg of products containing parabens. Pretty much any type of cosmetic product can contain parabens.

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While parabens can be advantageous for cosmetic and hair products, they have been linked to severe health issues. Thus, many brands have removed parabens as ingredients in their products, some brands may still use parabens.

To avoid the risks associated with parabens, some consumers are opting for natural and paraben-free products.

Conclusion

Parabens are a group of chemicals commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, personal care products, foods, and pharmaceuticals. These chemicals help to extend the shelf life of products, reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, and prevent the product from spoiling. Parabens can be found in processed foods, deodorants and antiperspirants, oils, fats, shoe polishes, textiles, and glues.

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