Anyone who knows anything about cosmetics or skin care will slightly cringe at the mention of Parabens. Lately there has been so much chatter about it from both sides, one that claims it to be safe and the others that claim it to be terribly dangerous. Many boutique brands claim themselves to be paraben- free, almost bragging about it along with buzz words like Organic & Ayurvedic, affirming themselves as healthy and clean. But is that true? What is one to believe?
For the longest time I was completely ignorant about Parabens until one day, Ms.Super Consumer questioned my choices of online shampoo purchase! I did some research and here is what I found out.
What are Parabens?
Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products. Without preservatives these everyday items e.g. Shampoo, Creams, Mascara etc would become overgrown with bacteria, mold and other microbes; making them harmful for everyday use. On the ingredient list you can find various types listed eg: propylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben! Phew mouthful !
That’s good! So what is the problem?
More than a decade ago, a published study claimed links between parabens and breast cancer, due to its estrogen mimicking properties. This got everyone scared…. very scared! Due to this in many countries there is a regulation on the paraben limit in products. India is not one of them!
Then shouldn’t we boycott Parabens?
There were further studies conducted that contradicted the initial study!
(Obviously, otherwise the popular FMCG brands would loose money! Sorry, that’s just the conspiracy theory enthusiast in me talking!)
There have also been studies claiming naturally occurring substances & commonly consumed medicines also have similar estrogenic effect. So why single out the poor Parabens! (said nobody ever)
Not everything “natural” is good and not everything “chemical” is dangerous! There is a definite cause of concern here, but it’s not the time to panic (yet!).
To overcome this dilemma, I prefer using paraben free body lotions as they cover a large part of our skin. I have also come to understand that using oil based instead of water based products can be helpful as water needs preservation.
Do tell me what are your thoughts about Parabens and how you overcome this issue in the comments section.