I have a confession to make. I’ve seen the ‘No Parabens’ proclamations on beauty product labels for years now, but aside from knowing I should avoid them, I didn’t really know what they were or why they were bad until recently. It’s kind of like when someone asks you if you’ve ever heard of X, Y, Z band, and you casually nod your head in agreement as if to say, “Have you not seen the Amoeba Records sticker on my laptop?” when in reality your music tastes have scarcely evolved beyond Mariah Carey’s glorious 1999 album “Rainbow.”
5 Things To Know About Parabens For People With Skin
So what does the dreaded P-word mean? Why does your hairstylist post passive-aggressive Instagram Stories posing questions like “If you spend $300 on your hair, why would you spend $13 on your shampoo and conditioner?” The answer is almost always, “Because I spent $300 on my hair.” However, I’ve finally done my research, and there is a rhyme to skin and hair care professionals constantly harping on you about parabens. Let’s get to it.
What are parabens?
Parabens are chemically derived artificial preservatives used in cosmetics, hair care, food, and bevies. They are used to prevent fungi, yeast, and bacteria from developing in face washes, moisturizers, sunscreen, toners, shampoo, makeup, deodorant, and the list goes on.
Why do some companies use parabens?
By including parabens in their formulas, companies can ensure a longer shelf life for their products. Parabens are also one of the cheapest preservatives used that enable companies to make mass-market formulas that don’t cost them a lot of money and increase their profit at the end of the day.
Why are parabens bad for me?
Parabens have been shown to disrupt your endocrine system by mimicking oestrogen. This is problematic because it can increase your risk to develop breast cancer, cause hormonal balances that lead to reproductive issues, and can even harm the development of a growing baby.
The negative effects of parabens are not restricted to womxn. If you have skin, and you’re putting products with parabens in them on your skin every day you are putting yourself at risk for the aforementioned effects. Yes, men can (and do) get breast cancer. Additionally, parabens have been tied to reducing sperm count.
To make matters worse, if you have sensitive skin, parabens have the potential to irritate your already upset skin. Specifically, if you have eczema, rosacea, dermatitis, or psoriasis.
How can I figure out if there are parabens in my beauty products?
Let me start by saying that all products on http://www.troupebeauty.com carry the Troupe Safe seal of approval. We take your safety and wellbeing seriously and promise to never sell products that have parabens, PEGs, sulfates (SLS/SLES), GMOs, mineral oils, petrolatum, or synthetic colors. Don’t worry, I’ll tackle the other no-go ingredients soon.
Unfortunately, beauty companies aren’t required to have a disclaimer on their products when parabens are present in the formula. To identify if the p-word is present in your beauty cabinet you need to read the ingredient list which I admit can be an arduous task depending on the product.
Here’s a list of the big ones, but look out for and avoid any ingredient with the suffix -paraben:
Sometimes companies are sneaky and hide parabens in their ingredient lists with abbreviations. If you see ‘ethyl’, ‘butyl’, ‘methyl’, and ‘propyl’ on an ingredient list, it’s safe to say that it’s safe to avoid it.
What else do I need to know about parabens?
In one study parabens were tied to a reduction in your skin’s production of keratinocytes which is a cell that produces keratin. I’m by no means an anti-aging person, but I am an advocate of preserving and investing in the skin you’re in. Inhibiting your skin’s ability to produce keratinocytes can increase your propensity to age prematurely. That’s gonna be a hard no for me, dawg.
Additionally, they’ve found parabens in marine life which is a big fat bummer. Parabens get washed down our drains, into sewage systems and eventually make their way into the ocean. The research on the effects of parabens on our underwater friends has been minimal, but what we do know is that parabens have been linked to causing harm to coral reefs. Not cool.
Hopefully, you feel a little more confident talking about parabens and looking for them when shopping for new beauty products. That being said, just because something says “paraben-free” doesn’t mean it isn’t free of chemicals that can potentially harm your body or irritate your skin. Doing your research on the products you use is crucial. Your skin is your largest organ, and it’s in your best interest to remain skeptical!
Interested in doing your own research on parabens? Here’s a list of resources I’ve found useful: