The most ubiquitous ingredient in all the moisturizers, lotions, cleansers, toners, serums, masks, anti aging facial products, shampoos, deodorants, shaving creams and even foundations, mascaras and lipsticks dotting your bathroom shelf has to be parabens. These synthetic chemicals are being added to all packaged skin care products since decades to enhance their shelf life.
Check any personal care product and you will come across convoluted words like methylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben in the ingredient list which are parabens. They work as effective preservatives and antimicrobials by keeping bacteria, mold and fungus growth at bay. This is what makes the products safe to use.
However, when you use these products, the parabens enter your body through the skin. In fact, according to Mercola.com (a reliable source of health articles, and medical news from natural health expert, Dr. Joseph Mercola), the body can absorb as much as 5 pounds of chemicals from cosmetics every year!
The new bad buzz about parabens
Of late, research has started linking these chemicals with the growing incidence of breast cancer, endometriosis, fertility problems and birth defects in women. These disturbing findings gather weight as parabens have been detected in various breast cancer tissue samples. Men are not safe either as male breast cancer, testicular cancer and decreased sperm levels are also attributed to these harmful parabens. Certain other deadly diseases are also ascribed to parabens in beauty products.
The reason behind this claim is that parabens can mimic hormones like estrogen and play havoc with the endocrine system. This kind of simulated estrogenic activity poses a significant health risk in the long run.
And to think that we are rubbing these products into our body night and day. Definitely sounds scary!
The alternative is…
Bowing to the escalating fears and rising consumer demand, sentient cosmetic manufacturers are working to eliminate these harmful chemicals and have started formulating paraben-free skin care products. Instead, they add organic acids and other ingredients to keep the products safe and effective without any harmful side effects.
It takes some homework and planning to opt for progressive and specialized products that are created by nature, defined through science. But these will deliver a truly natural and paraben-free experience in your everyday health regimen.
Well, the jury is still out and while the cosmetic world waits for more conclusive evidence on the harmful effects of parabens, supporters continue to argue that parabens are actually metabolized and excreted by the body. We are not even sure about how much exposure will be bad for the body?
So, the question is – Are you willing to brave the unknown and expose yourself to the possibly harmful effects of these chemicals? Or will you choose to go natural and paraben-free when it comes to choosing your moisturizers, serums and anti aging facial products? Younger, smoother, healthier looking skin or the risk of the deadly disease called cancer – The choice is yours!