What are Parabens?
Parabens are chemical compounds derived from an acid called para-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA). The acid is characterized as a white crystalline solid. PHBA can occur naturally in fruits and vegetables like, blueberries, carrots, cherries, cucumbers, and onions.
According to ChemicalSafetyFacts.org, PHBA can also occur naturally in the human body by the breakdown of some amino acids.
Parabens used in cosmetics are identical to those found in nature, and the human body quickly changes them into natural PHBA and eliminates them.Parabens – ChemicalSafetyFacts.org
Why are they used in Cosmetics?
Parabens are used in cosmetics as a preservative. They have antimicrobial properties that prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, which enhances the shelf life of products.
Parabens can found in makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, among other products.
Methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben are the 4 most common types of parabens found in cosmetics. If you are looking for how to identify parabens in cosmetics it would most likely be one of the aforementioned names.
The Potential risk from Parabens
Parabens are potentially linked to disrupting hormone function by mimicking the production of estrogen. An overproduction in estrogen can trigger tumor growth in the breast tissue, commonly linked to breast cancer.
While the potential endocrine disrupting characteristic of parabens are in question, the ingredient has not sustained enough evidence to deem it dangerous.
“FDA scientists continue to review published studies on the safety of parabens. At this time, we do not have information showing that parabens as they are used in cosmetics have an effect on human health.”Parabens in Cosmetics – FDA
Japan, the EU and the Southeast Asian nations are implementing regulation on the use of parabens with certain forms of it being completely banned.
In the US the FDA is continuing to conduct research on its potential effects. In the meantime parabens are still allowed in the production of cosmetics. If you are concerned about the potential risk from parabens and you want to avoid them, check the labels of your the cosmetics. As a reminder, parabens in cosmetics will typically be labeled as one of the following but not limited to: Methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben
How do you feel about the usage of Parabens in Cosmetics? Leave a comment down below!