Parabens 101

Posted on May 01, 2014 by Shani Schumacher | 0 Comments


What are Parabens?

Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and are commonly used as a preservative to fight bacteria and fungus. Nearly all parabens used are man-made and not naturally occurring. Parabens can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, deodorants, shaving gels, tanning lotions, sunscreen, cleansing gels, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals and toothpaste, while they are also used as food additives in salad dressings, mayonnaise and processed meats such as sausage.


Why are they so harmful?
In 2004 British researcher Dr Philippa Darbre and colleagues at the University of Reading carried out tests on samples of 20 different human breast tumors and found traces of parabens in 18 samples. This research has fueled a popular belief that the parabens in underarm deodorants and other cosmetics can migrate into breast tissue and contribute to the development of tumors. It is also said that they may have hormone-disrupting qualities which mimic estrogen and interfere with the body’s endocrine system.

Methylparaben: is one of the most common parabens used in cosmetics. It has been linked with low sperm count, ocular/eye damage, skin damage and breast cancer.
Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Parebens: found in up to 90% of cosmetic products have many potentially harmful side effects, including cancer.


As well as checking that the products which you use are paraben free there are also other ingredients to watch out for which may also be harmful. These include:

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS):
is an additive that allows cleansing products to foam that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption.
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES): is a widely used detergent present in many shampoos and personal care items. This compound produces 1,4 dioxane contamination causing headache, vertigo and irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
Triethanolamine (TEA): is another detergent, surfactant and foam-boosting chemical producing carcinogenic chemical byproducts called nitrosamines. Determined dangerous by the FDA as early as 1977, nitrosamines penetrate skin and cause damage to skin cells.
Phthalates (DEP, DBP): used in nail polishes, perfumes, hair products and deodorants. They are suspected to cause reproductive issues in both men and women. Phthalates may also damage the kidneys, lungs and liver.


For Baby: Always choose bath and skin products that are free of these ingredients. Because of baby’s weight and size; they are more susceptible to the dangerous effects of parabens. This is why Puremade Baby strives to supply parents and babies with the finest and safest products available. We carry a wide variety of bath, skincare, healing ointments, diapering creams and outdoor products tailor made for your little one's safety in mind.

For Prenatal and Lactating Women: Our skin is the body's largest organ, and approximately 60% of substances applied to our skin are absorbed in to it. It takes just five seconds for these chemicals to be absorbed through the skin, and into our bloodstream, completely bypassing the liver and causing numerous harmful effects on our bodies. Anything absorbed through the skin, may be as much as ten times the concentration of an equivalent oral dose. Use an all natural stretch mark oil and paraben free products for bath and skin during pregnancy and breast feeding. Parabens will also transfers through your breast milk.

Infographic via Pangea Organics, produced by Elizabeth Nolen Brown.


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