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The Perils of Parabens

In recent years, more and more consumers and retailers are turning to natural beauty products that are paraben free. Parabens, which are the most widely used preservatives in beauty and personal care products, have become a concern due to their possible link to cancer and other health issues.

What are parabens

Parabens are esters that are commonly used in cosmetic and personal care products as preservatives. The most common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, proplyparaben and butylparaben. Parabens are used in products to extend their shelf life and prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria in the products.

What risks are associated with parabens

Parabens are absorbed through the skin and may adversely affect the function of the endocrine system. While the research on parabens remains inconclusive, parabens have been linked to breast cancer, early puberty and infertility because they mimic estrogen and therefore can interfere with the body’s normal hormones. Nonetheless, the FDA has officially stated that it “believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.”

Parabens should not be applied to cracked or inflamed skin because they can increase irritation, especially in those suffering from various skin conditions.

How to avoid parabens

While there may be no conclusive evidence that parabens can cause long-term health problems, it is best to avoid them whenever possible. Always check labels and ingredient lists before buying new products and look for brands that are specifically paraben free. 

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