Cosmetic products are inseparable part of our lives. Milions of soaps, shower gels, creams, moisturizers and make-up are used daily. We might not even notice how often we reach for cosmetics every day but it’s a normal thing to do in this world where hygene and body care are really important. Most of us heard of parabens at least once in their lives, what more, some of us are afraid of parabens. But do they know what parabens are? I bet in most cases the answer would be “no.” I’m gonna change this state today and educate you a little.
Parabenens is the general name for the group of organic chemical compounds based on para-hydroxybenzoic acid. If we replace hydrogen H in -COOH group with an alkyl or organic ring R we obtain esther, para-hydroxybenzoate, thus paraben. Many different parabens are known as R can be a methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl… group. What is the main purpose of adding parabens into cosmetics? It fulfills a role of preservative and antimicrobal agent so that our creams, gels etc can stand on shop or bathroom shelves and stay in good condition for many months.
But why are people afraid of them? I believe it’s the fear of the unknown, they just don’t know what parabens really are. These substances not only appear in cosmetic products but they can be also found in cakes, juices, jams or even fresh blueberries. Many people think that parabens are toxic and that they need to be avoided. They’re not right. Studies show that parabens are rapidly absorbed, metabolized and then they leave our organisms, causing no harm. Nothing to be afraid of.
Although parabens seem to be neutral for our bodies there’s one thing that eventually can happen. Parabens can cause skin allergy reaction, rosacea or contact dermatitis. As always it all depends on the skin we have and personal predispositions. Some people have more delicate, allergy prone skin comparing with others. Part about might sound scary but applies only to a very small percentage of population.
Few years ago people started to panic when news around the world appeared stating that higher concentrations of parabens in our bodies can cause mutations in body cells and cause cancer. Many cosmetological, pharmaceutical and medical researches were conducted – all had the same conclusion – there’s no link between parabens and cancer. It was a false alarm but still many people live thinking of parabens as of something that will slowly kill them. They could use some education in this topic and finally learn that they’re fooling themselves which is not a solution of a problem.
Highest amounts of parabens are used in deodorants, still it’s less than 0,5% in the product. During the last few years eco cosmetics became very popular. They’re environment friendly, contain more natural essences and are paraben free (so they have to be used faster.) Once in a while new ecological cosmetic brand appears and existing ones add new products to their offers. If you’re still afraid of parabens give those cosmetics a try, if you’re not afraid of these chemical substances you can always try some eco cosmetics and see if your skin can notice any differences between regular and eco product. I’d love to hear about it if it will!