Why are parabens bad for us?
Parabens were created in the 1950’s as a preservative for cosmetic products to keep bacteria and mould from forming. Finding a product that’s paraben free isn’t as easy as checking the label for the word “paraben.” Parabens commonly come in the name of methylparaben (E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216), butylparaben and heptylparaben (E209) and the less known ones are isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben and others that are super sneaky and don’t even have “paraben” in the name at all!
A British study in 2004 discovered that the breast tissue in 18 out of 20 women contained parabens. There was no evidence at the time to conclude that parabens actually caused cancer, however, this has been a huge topic of debate ever since and has been brought up many times as a serious concern by the public and the media. Parabens are believed to mimic oestrogen by disrupting hormone function. Breast cells divide and tumors can grow with too much oestrogen, hence why parabens have been linked to reproductive issues in women as well as breast cancer. Chemicals that disrupt hormones are also known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) which are also found in bisphenol A (BPA), triclosan and phthalates (all commonly used in beauty industry). The scary part is that since 64% of the products we use are absorbed by the bloodstream, once this ingredient is applied, the parabens can be distributed to other places throughout the body, potentially causing problems such as cancer in other areas. Scary isn’t it?
So why do companies use parabens knowing how bad they are and how do we avoid them?
It’s always about the bottom line. Parabens are cheap to mass market as compared to their natural counterparts and they extend the life of a product further than using natural preservatives. This means less financial loss for big business when stock sits in their warehouse for an extra year before being sold to yours truly.
One way to avoid parabens is to check for any name in a products ingredients list with “paraben” at the back of it, such as “isobutylparaben” or “benzylparaben”, however there are some names that won’t make it so easy for you to find. Another way to avoid them is to check for ingredient names that include the pseudonyms “butyl”, “propyl,” “methyl” and“ethyl”, as these from the paraben family even if the word “paraben” isn’t listed.
The best solution to avoid these chemicals is to consider switching to completely natural products. This way you can also avoid every other hormone disrupting, cancer causing ingredient on the market from parabens to phthalates. Just watch out for companies “greenwashing” by claiming they are “all natural”. The term “all natural” doesn’t mean anything. There is no legislation in Australia or essentially any other country stating what this term needs to entail. The best way to know, is to study and understand every ingredient out there; but, who has the time for that? Here at Natural Society I’ve already done the work for you. If you want to start the road to paraben free products, the first top 5 things to switch now, today, are your deodorant, moisturisers, anti-ageing creams, foundation and scented products. The sooner you start ridding your body and your families bodies of parabens and other toxins, the better.
Top sellers for deodorant, moisturisers, anti-ageing creams and foundation listed below. Black Chicken AND La Mav are both Australian owned and run 🙂
Author: Tonia Painter