WHAT ARE PARABENS? | THEIR EFFECTS ON YOUR BODY
When we put on makeup, we never actually look at the ingredients. All we know is that this shade of lipstick will make my lips POP. Or, this shade of foundation will cover up my blemishes. We don’t think we are doing anything harmful to ourselves. At least, we aren’t trying to think this way. All we want is to enhance the beauty we already have.
Unfortunately, all makeup is not created equal. Some makeup will do more harm to you in the long run than others.
One of the worst ingredients makeup products can have is PARABENS.
What are parabens?
There are two types of parabens- those that occur naturally, and those that are synthetic. The naturally occurring parabens are found in some foods. This isn’t a problem because the body can assimilate and digest food and all of its natural chemical makeup.
The parabens used in the cosmetic industry are a group of related synthetic chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products, personal hygiene products, and pharmaceuticals. They are meant to mimic the naturally occurring parabens found in some foods.
The problem is that the body cannot or finds it extremely hard to assimilate and digest synthetic parabens. “But I don’t eat cosmetics,” you might say. No, you don’t physically eat it, but your skin does. The skin is the largest organ you have. It absorbs everything you put on it. Once it’s absorbed it will eventually reach your blood stream.
Your blood stream is your life force. So, anything that doesn’t belong inside it will cause your body to work harder to get rid of it. Sometimes, this is not possible and causes the synthetics to accumulate in the body. When this happens, toxins build up and can cause problems for you.
Why put parabens in cosmetics?
Parabens act as a preservative to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold in cosmetics. This extends the shelf-life of the product and protect its integrity. For example, many women apply face cream with their fingers. Constantly putting your hands in the jar increases the chances of you contaminating your face cream. Parabens help to prevent this from happening.
Typically, products use more than one paraben in addition to other preservatives. The main parabens used in cosmetics are:
Do parabens cause any harm?
If parabens help protect you from bacteria and mold, how can it be harmful to you? Depending on which report you read, some will say they don’t and some will say they do. According to the FDA, they aren’t really sure because they don’t have any reports telling them they are harmful. However, they will continue to review any evidence that come to light.1
As we dig deeper, we find one study that tells us cumulative parabens were found in human breast tumors. This means that it isn’t leaving the body. Instead, it’s building up in weak parts of the body.2
Can it cause cancer? Maybe, maybe not. However, it can be a helper. At least that’s what webmd.com says. “A new study has found that chemicals called parabens can spur the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. And they appear to be able to do this even in tiny amounts.”3
If a tiny amount can cause a problem, what can happen when it’s building up in the body? Maybe it’s more harmful than we think.
Parabens are not only found in breast tissue. They’re found in urine, serum, and seminal plasma.4
To make it plain, “scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer.”5
What can we do about parabens?
I view makeup like I view food. I’m a vegetarian because my body doesn’t process protein well. Yet, I don’t believe everyone should become vegetarian. It depends on their health and how certain foods affect their bodies. For example, I tell meat lovers that if you eat meat, choose meat without extra hormones added or better yet, meat from free-range animals. You don’t have to give up meat. Just change the source.
Makeup is the same way. You don’t have to give up makeup. Just change the source. Look for products free of parabens. There are a lot of choices out there like Lauren Mari Cosmetics’ lipsticks and lip glosses.
Choose wisely for your long-term health. Want to learn more? Read why talc may not be your friend either.
We can be beautiful and healthy at the same time.
1 “Parabens in Cosmetics.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration
2 “Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours.” National Library of Medicine
3 “FAQ: Parabens and Breast Cancer.” WebMD
4 “Parabens in urine, serum and seminal plasma from healthy Danish men determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).” National Library of Medicine
5 “What Are Parabens, And Why Don’t They Belong in Cosmetics?” Environmental Working Group (EWG)