Parabens are a group of chemicals which are widely used as preservatives by both cosmetics and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Parabens are found in just about everything from deodorants to toothpastes, shampoos to hair conditioners, cosmetics to body lotions to body baths and cleansers.
Parabens are used as a preservative to extend the shelf life of products. Parabens are also known as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben and Butylparaben. Parabens are in products because they are cheap and effective and they possess antifungal and antibacterial properties.
There are times that you may find even 3 parabens listed on a single product. The reason parabens are often used in combination with other types of preservatives is to better protect against a broad range of microorganisms.
What are the side effects of the continuous usage of these parabens? You will find many conflicting views and bear in mind that this is a multi-trillion dollar industry. There are many conflicting views, studies and opinions given. However there are no studies to date which have been done to study the effect of parabens from using multiple products over a period of time.
There is an interesting study by Dr. Dale Leitman, gynecologist and a molecular biologist at the University of California Berkeley which was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives which found that parabens could effect and promote cancer cell growth. (Read Here : https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/14-09200/ )
There are other studies which hold parabens responsible for early onset of puberty, low sperm count and various allergy reactions. Skin is the largest organ in our body. Products used can easily penetrate and enter one’s blood stream. Hence we should all be more vigilant when using products which come in contact with our skin. The accumulation and exposure to various products simultaneously used and over time affects each one of us differently.
Consumers have more power than they are aware of. By demanding and not using products which contain parabens, manufacturers are seriously looking into minimizing the paraben levels used to removing it all together from their ingredients list. There is a change from their previous stance of insisting that parabens had no effect whatsoever to minimizing and eliminating the use of parabens.
So whenever possible it would be prudent to opt for paraben free products or the very least minimize the usage of products containing paraben.