When it comes to combating dark circles and breakouts, beauty products are more advanced than ever. While ground-breaking products created by accomplished cosmetic scientists may sound like something we all need more of, there has been some backlash regarding the increasing number of synthetic ingredients used in the cosmetics that we slather on our bodies.
These days, products have a long shelf-life, especially considering the journey each pot, bottle, or tube will take from the manufacturer to the point of sale to your bathroom shelf. So, it stands to reason that chemists need to add some preservatives to keep things as fresh as possible- this is where parabens come in. Parabens are currently facing a lot of criticism. But, while we have all noticed an increase in paraben-free labels in the beauty aisles, do you know what these parabens are? Or why do they appear to be so divisive?
What are parabens?
Parabensare the most commonly used chemical in makeup and skincare products and can be found in most makeup, haircare, moisturizers, and shaving products, among others. The most common parabens found in cosmetics are methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, Isobutylparaben and ethylparaben. Parabens are commonly used in cosmetic products as preservatives to prevent harmful mold growth and bacteria.
Is paraben-free label: the future of cosmetics?
With consumers demanding transparency in beauty labels and formulations, as well as an emphasis on safety and sustainability, consumers are turning away from chemically-infused products containing ingredients such as parabens. This was in contrast to the previous trend when people choose convenience and low-cost alternatives in the aftermath of globalization and cheaper alternatives flooding the market decades ago. People are finally waking up to the long-term dangers of chemicals and paraben-laden products.
Scientific evidence suggests that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body, harm fertility, and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase cancer risk. They can also irritate the skin. Given the potential for endocrine disruption, documented female and male reproductive harm, and the risk of repeated lifelong exposure, long-chain parabens (butyl-, isobutyl-, isopropyl-, and propylparaben) should not be used in personal care or cosmetic products. Furthermore, products can be manufactured without the use of these chemicals.
Is the use of preservatives in cosmetics regulated by the FDA?
The FDA does not have specific rules that apply only to cosmetic preservatives. The law treats preservatives in cosmetics in the same way as other cosmetic ingredients. Cosmetic products and ingredients, besides color additives, do not require FDA approval before being sold in the United States under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).
However, it is illegal to market an adulterated or misbranded cosmetic in interstate commerce. This means that cosmetics, for example, must be safe for consumers when used according to the directions on the label or in a conventional manner and must be properly labeled.
What are the dangers oflong-term exposure to these parabens in cosmetics?
Too much of anything is bad for you, as the adage goes, and parabens are no exception! Because most parabens are found in conventional beauty products, daily use of these products over time can cause paraben build-up and cause more harm than good. This happens when these products and their irritating parabens are absorbed through the skin and into the body. So let us now delve into a closer look at the various side effects of these parabens used in cosmetics:
- Permeates the skin
The main issue with parabens is that they can penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream. Parabens were discovered to be xenoestrogens (compounds that act like estrogen hormones in your body) in the 1990s. This means that the body misidentifies parabens as estrogen. This 'estrogen disruption' state is now linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
- Skin irritation and allergy
Parabens have been linked to allergic reactions on the skin. Parabens are used in skin care products to make our skin look beautiful; however, some studies claim that a specific type of Paraben known as the methyl type increases the skin's sensitivity to UV rays.
This causes skin cells to be destroyed more quickly. This causes premature skin aging. Be cautious when purchasing skin care products containing methylparaben. Paraben-containing products can cause dermatitis. It denotes skin inflammation followed by Rashes and itchy skin.
Please read the ingredients carefully when purchasing products for personal use if you have sensitive skin. Continuous use of paraben-based products can cause rosacea in some people. It is a skin condition that causes facial redness, tiny red pimples, and fine red lines on the skin. A high concentration of methylparaben in skin care products accelerates the aging process.
- Unhealthy for the scalp and hair
Shampoos for your hair are one of the most common products that contain parabens. Using paraben-containing shampoo and conditioner can harm your scalp and hair. Parabens can cause scalp irritation as well as hair loss.
- They are Endocrine Disruptors (EDs)
Parabens have a chemical structure that is similar to the hormone estrogen. According to research, this estrogen-mimicking has labeled them as endocrine disruptors, and parabens have even been linked to cases of early puberty in girls. Endocrine disruption can cause various issues, including adult acne, male breast growth, developmental and neurological disorders, and various cancers. Other research has found that parabens can alter thyroid hormone levels, potentially causing negative health effects.
• Breast Cancer Connections
While some studies have shown that parabens can mimic the activity of the estrogen hormone in the body's cells, this estrogenic activity has been linked to certain types of breast cancer. Oestrogen is a female hormone that has been shown to stimulate the growth and division of both normal and cancerous breast cells. Parabens were also discovered in breast tumors.
It isn't easy to constantly test a plethora of home remedies for your beauty routine. While the concoctions you use are pure, they may not be in the correct proportions, reducing their benefits. As a result, it is acceptable to use expertly crafted products for your beauty needs on occasion. However, you must be cautious about the ingredients contained in these expert products.
In our pursuit of beautiful skin and hair, we frequently overlook the impact of various ingredients found in beauty products. Many of these ingredients, when mentioned in monosyllabic words, can be harmful to your skin and hair and your health. Parabens are one such harmful ingredient to keep an eye out for. When purchasing skin care products, make sure they are paraben-free.