Parabens: What They Are And Why You Should Avoid Them

Many times, consumers aren’t always aware of exactly what goes into the products that they buy. Usually, manufacturing regulations and controls protect us from harmful chemicals making their way into the items we use daily, but that’s not always the case. It’s an important part of being a responsible consumer to educate yourself on what goes into making the products you use. The trick is to do your research in piecemeal, so you’re not overwhelmed by too much information. To that end, we’d like to go over one of the possibly harmful chemicals commonly found in makeup products: parabens.

What Are They?

Parabens are a class of chemicals that have been used since the 1950s as preservatives for both cosmetic and pharmaceutical items. Common products in which they can be found include shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals, makeup, toothpaste, food additives, moisturizers, and more. Their function is to block the cultivation of microorganisms. Historically, the efficacy of parabens have been unmatched by any natural preservatives like grapefruit seed extract, which combined with their low cost, has made them a staple of many household products.

Unfortunately, the mechanism of action of parabens’ antibacterial qualities are not well understood within the scientific community. Theories range from the chemicals interrupting the membrane transport process to inhibition¬† of DNA/RNA synthesis. Our lack of understanding of just how these chemicals work is also why you should be careful about using too many products that use them as ingredients.

Why You Should Avoid

Ever since the 1990s, parabens have been classified as xenoestrogens, chemicals that mimic estrogen inside the human body. Estrogen disruption, an effect of these chemicals in the body, has long been correlated with breast cancer and reproductive issues. Added to this, in 2004, Philippa Darbre, a British doctor researching cancer, found evidence of parabens in malignant breast cancers.

It is important to note that none of this is evidence of causation, but rather correlation. That means that there’s no definitive proof that parabens cause cancer one way or the other. However, remember that the burden of proof in the scientific community is incredibly high, and for good reason. Seeing as how dangerous chemicals don’t wait for scientific consensus to damage your body, many people have found it prudent to discontinue use of products with parabens in them.

On the other side of the argument, if you have been using products that use parabens, there is no reason to freak out. Critics of the study have pointed out flaws in methodology, such as its failure to test for parabens in healthy breast tissue. Other studies have also shown parabens to have a much weaker estrogen disruption effect.

The truth is that nobody can prove definitely whether parabens are carcinogenic. However, many have taken it upon themselves to remove any possible risk of ingesting cancer causing chemicals by using products that are parabens free. Here at Voodoo Makeup, we offer organic makeup products devoid of any chemicals that have been linked to serious harm, including parabens, coal tar dyes, petrolatum, etc. If you’d like to know more about our organic makeup products, please don’t hesitate to give one of our friendly representatives a call today.