Going by the chemical definition, parabens are the esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid. They are widely used as effective preservatives in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. The wide usage is large because parabens are cheap and help in stopping the growth fungus and microbes in deodorants, face washes, toothpaste, creams, and lotions.
Paraben-free skin products have seen a super surge in the latest times, simply because of the side effects of parabens over the health of an individual using it in the cosmetics and beauty products. As a word of caveat, these are dangerous chemicals that pose a great challenge on so many things around us which we shall discuss here in many details.
Common Types of Parabens
Pharmacists use these parabens alone or in combinations to safeguard their products. So, if you see a cosmetic or beauty product you go out to buy, keep a wary eye on these chemical names and do not choose the products bearing these chemical names. On increasing the shelf life of your beauty products without dangerous chemicals, you can create some space in your fridge and place them. Keeping them at low temperatures is the smallest effort you have to do to safeguard yourself from the harmful side effects of parabens.
Harmful Side Effects of Parabens
While brands can make you sure about the limited use of parabens in their product, trouble mounts in the body and mental health with toxins overloading happening from various other chemicals and not just from any product containing paraben within the advocated range by U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
What are the harmful side effects of this chemical that have raised the eyebrows of public health specialists in the recent past?
Let us discuss some of the known and vital side effects that you need to know before choosing a product with paraben next time.
Out of the seven types of parabens mentioned above, Methylparaben is known for its extensive damage to your skin. It enhances your skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s rays. Simply putting, when you apply lotion, cream having methylparaben as a preservative, you allow your skin cells to die faster and early.
Parabens have been found to disturb the endocrine functions in the human body, especially in females. The artificial parabens resemble natural estrogen and increase estrogen activity. It is a well-researched fact that increased estrogen levels lead to increased risk of breast cancer.
A study done at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom found that 18 samples out of 20 had parabens on tumors of the breast. With over 55% of breast cancers found to be on the outer ends of breasts, the lotions and deodorants with parabens are raising the new alarm for the scientists.
Although there is not much data available on parabens causing skin irritation, if you have sensitive skin, you are definitely at the risk of contact dermatitis, inflammation, rashes, dry and flaky skin, burning sensation, and blisters on using products containing paraben. So, it is advisable to use these products at a small part of your body to know if you are sensitive to paraben or not?
Endocrine Function Impairment
Perhaps the most significant damage parabens do is to harm the normal functioning of the human endocrine system. The human endocrine system is responsible for growth and development, metabolism, and various functions.
The parabens impair this functioning, hormone production, and glandular activity. This leads to the weakening of the reproductive system of both genders. in males, it has shown to decrease the levels of secondary sex hormone called testosterone. At the same time, in females, it increases the levels of estrogens as discussed prior.
Teratogenic Effects on New Born
Parabens can act as teratogens. Teratogens are those chemicals, drugs that cause abnormal fetal development. The use of products containing these dangerous chemicals during the pregnancy can put the fetus at the risk of developing abnormality in the womb.
The parabens get absorbed in the bloodstream during pregnancy and hinder the growth of the fetus. As discussed above, parabens do endocrine system impairment. They can cross the placenta barrier, putting the fetus at development delay and low birth weight.
Just like most of the synthetic compounds, there has been a connection between parabens and immune system with parabens known to suppress the immunity and cognitive problems in children.
Next time, when you decide to gift your loved ones some beauty products, do consider all these harms that parabens pose to the health, environment, and human life. So, better give them something that adds health in their beauty and which is not merely an addition in the bathroom shelf. The world has seen the harms of chemicals around us, yet the entire truth seldom comes out, and when it comes out, perhaps, it is too late by then.
The companies, brands, manufacturers can sell what they want in the garb of claiming with no direct evidence. But you can become an informed customer.
Think of yourself?
Would you like to choose a product having harmful parabens in your beauty and cosmetic products?
If you are still using products with parabens even after knowing their harmful side effects. Then, this is the time for you to think again about your health and choose for chemicals-free skin and beauty products having the essence of soil and nature in them.
In this world which is going doubtful and artificial every day, it is imperative for you to choose natural and healthy over anything. The growing concern of masses over the use of products with parabens has made people choosing healthy and paraben-free face wash and skin beauty products which can be seen as a paradigm shift.
Alternatives to Parabens
As discussed above, look for the products devoid of parabens, you can choose the ones having essential oils as preservatives. However, that makes the products super expensive.
Choose effort over expensive and preserve your favourite harmless natural products while keeping them at low temperatures than risking your health which can be a costly affair.