(Source - outofstress.com, temptalia.com, dermtv.com)
What are Parabens?Basically, parabens are a cheap preservative that can be found in its various forms in cosmetics, deodorants, hair care, pharmaceuticals and food additives. Chemically speaking they are an ester, which is an alcohol molecule and an acid molecule bonded together by displacing a water molecule. Parabens have been used as a preservative for over half a century and are regulated by the FDA for everything but cosmetics. They do occur naturally in low quantities in many fruits and vegetables; however, the parabens used in cosmetics are synthetically formulated to provide a consistent product.
Purpose of Parabens in CosmeticsParabens represent less than 1 % of the total ingredients in most cosmetics despite remaining unregulated by the FDA. The presence of parabens and other preservatives in cosmetics prevent the growth of mold and other bacteria that can pose very serious health risks, such as blindness. Parabens are the preservative of choice for cosmetic industries, because they are cheap and easy to use.
Are Paraben Free Cosmetics Safer?The lack of through, long-term research has many people heading for products that advertise being paraben free, however there is risk with those as well. The majority of paraben free cosmetics are using newer preservatives that do not have the long track record of parabens. They could be harmless, but they also could hold potential health risks. We don’t know, because they haven’t been around long enough to find out.
Cosmetics made with more natural preservatives, such as grape seed extract, create products that don’t last as long. Most people are very forgetful about being careful about throwing out expired cosmetics, which with a weaker preservative could mean they are using a product riddled with bacteria and fungus.
Concerns About Parabens in CosmeticsConcerns were raised about the affects of parabens in cosmetics in the mid to late 1990s. There was a study that showed that parabens were easily identifiable in cancerous cells. The study didn’t link paraben use to cancer development, but it also didn’t not link them. Due to major flaws in the scientific process of the study, no control group, many have dismissed the findings are useless.
Since then, there have been a few other studies examining how many parabens are absorbed into the body and what affects these may have. The results do show that parabens absorb rather quickly into the bloodstream. With parabens estrogenic behaviors some propose that it will disrupt the endocrine system, which could lead to things like increased risk of breast cancer for both men and women and decreased sperm count for men.
Supports of parabens often refer to the hundreds of scientific experiments that demonstrate that small amount of parabens in the cosmetics do not ill affect the body. Advocates of paraben free cosmetics argue that those studies only examine one cosmetic at a time and therefore are useless for the majority women who use anywhere from nine to twelve products at a time.
What Choice Do You Make?With no clear answer on what is really the safest cosmetic option, it is important for each person to research thoroughly and make their own decisions. You might choose to continue believing that parabens are harmless or you might decide that they are the DDT of beauty products. No matter what you choose, remember that everything in excess can be harmful and that moderation is almost always the safest option.
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