In my last post, when I was relaying what to look for when you are looking for exfoliating products, I mentioned finding something with NO Parabens (I believe it was actually the first thing I asked to even look out for). That post received such positive response, and a I got some people who wondered what this wicked thing called a paraben was, that they had to watch out for it!
What Are Parabens?
Simply put, Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries (wikipedia).
If that be the case, the next question would be; What are chemical preservatives such as methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens doing in personal care products that are supposed to be conscious?
Even though it’s a barely spoken about thing, the only way that manufacturers can make a profit, is if their products are able to stay on the shelf a little longer. If they had a short shelf-life, you wouldn’t have assurance that should your supply run out, you could head on over to your beauty supply store, and replenish.
Surely synthetic parabens exist due to lack of natural alternatives?
The silly thing about that statement is; If you do even a little research, you will find out that a self-preserved 100% organic moisturizing body oil made from organic cocoa butter, organic coconut oil, etc. can have a shelf-life of up to 18 months, so when you are shopping around for skin-care products, you are not necessarily doomed, just because you can’t seem to find anything that is paraben free. As a matter of fact, the more people pay attention to what is written on the label (in plain English, that they can understand), and force pharmaceutical companies to make those changes, the lesser we’ll all have to work to get conscious products, even at the drug-store.
What exactly is the impact of parabens?
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that the chemical preservatives called parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl (alkyl-p-hydroxy-benzoates)—displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. This means that those chemicals mimic your body´s own hormones and can have endocrine-disrupting action when they are rubbed into your body or washed down the drain into your drinking water.
These disruptors interfere with your body´s endocrine system: the glands that secrete hormones or other products directly into the blood—virtually every system in your body. The EPA also stated that “continual introduction of these benzoates (parabens) into sewage treatment systems, and directly to recreational waters from the skin leads to the question of risk to aquatic organisms.”
Scientists in Europe found other endocrine-disrupting body care chemicals in the bodies of fish that humans are eating, and in human breast milk.
Once parabens are in nature, it’s really difficult to tackle the issue
Dr. Elizabeth Smith has written that “It is a known medical fact that estrogen stimulates breast cancer” and that “anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.” She also reported that, in one study, a paraben was injected under the skin and was found to have an “estrogenic response on uterine tissues.”
Scientists observing these harmful effects on the uterus remarked that “it is suggested that the safety in use of these chemicals should be reassessed.”
Endocrine disruptors are transported into the body, daily, via absorption through the skin and hair follicles when using personal care products.
If you find yourself dealing with acne (the way I was), are doing everything that the dermatologist is telling you to do, and still have an itchy flaky, or develop a rash, then you may actually be quiet sensitive to parabens.
Skin irritation and contact dermatitis in individuals with paraben allergies is highly likely.
What is it? Contact Dermatitis is just the named used for an allergic reaction caused by exposure to foreign items, i.e poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, etc.
How to prevent allergic reactions
As I mentioned in my post about Beauty Basics, having a cleansing routine will save you from a lot of trouble, but doing due diligence, making sure that what you are using agrees with your skin, and really checking the ingredients in those cleansers can change your skin, for the better.
Remember, Rule #1, and the most important rule of Beauty Basics; Know Thy Skin.
Hypothetically speaking; If you are ready to give the paraben free life a go, or if you’ve run out of an exfoliator, and are on the market for something new, try Bella Terra Cosmetics’ Exfoliating Gel.
Some of my favourite facts about this product;
- No animals were harmed in making the product.
- It is free of most common allergens (nuts, synthetic preservatives *like parabens,etc.)
- Contains no animal by-products, so it’s also safe for my fellow vegetarians out there.
If you feel that you have understood all that you can, and you’re happy with your skin the way that it is, then you are well on your way to getting the perfect skin that you can get!
I congratulate you, stay tuned, and I’ll talk to you all soon.
Good luck on your quest, and remember; The B word is for Beauty!
- Parabens – the lowdown (cmbaustralia.wordpress.com)
- Beauty Basics for Healthy Skin pt. 2 (thatbword.wordpress.com)
- Some Possible Side Effects of One’s Make-up (leccoworkshop.com)
- Vegan-certified and Cruelty Free Skin Care (chemicalfreeskincare.org)
- 18 Toxic Chemicals You May Be Putting On Your Body Every Day… (yogafreaknoelle.wordpress.com)
- Human Hormones Are Being Eclipsed By Synthetic Chemicals (prn.fm)