So often in beauty we come across terms we are a little unsure of and parabens is one such term. Used more and more in the beauty world as we become more aware of what they actually are and the effect they can have on us.
For years the beauty industry have used parabens as preservatives in beauty products due to their ability to effectively kill bacteria and fungus. They are very cheap and can be found in numerous products from shampoo to shaving gel and make up to toothpaste. A lot of natural alternatives are much more expensive and their effectiveness is limited.
There is also a huge controversy surrounding parabens as they have been found present in breast cancer tumours, although no direct link between the two has been found, it is none the less a worry.
Pat Hume, founder of natural health and beauty website www.pravera.co.uk, explains why we should be wary of parabens:
“ Parabens are preservatives that can be found in many personal care products such as shampoos, shower gels and even make-up products. These chemical preservatives will make sure your product stays fungus and bacteria free, especially in a humid bathroom environment. The reason why it’s such a popular preservative in beauty products is because it’s cheap and effective, which makes it really attractive for brands to use. After all, using cheap ingredients means that brands get a bigger profit margin. It is important to realise that not all brands are looking out for your health and wellbeing so it’s up to you – the consumer – to be aware of what goes into your favourite beauty products so that you can make a decision if it’s the right choice for you and your family.
There is a lot of controversy about the use of parabens in personal care products, mainly because research has suggested there is a possible link between cancer and being exposed to parabens. So how does that work exactly? Parabens are said to disrupt hormone levels – especially estrogen levels – in the body and this then can lead to the development of cancerous cells. However, research hasn’t been conclusive and for that reason parabens are still not banned. With so much doubt about the safety of these ingredients, you have to ask yourself the question if it is worth taking the risk to keep buying products that contain parabens. In my opinion, the answer is no. There are now so many affordable paraben-free brands on the market such as Lavera and Benecos that there is plenty of choice to find a safer alternative.”