A question often raised by our customers is exactly what are parabens?

So in order to live up to our philosophy, transparency in beauty.

We have decided to address this subject, and look at how safe they are to use on the skin.

What are Parabens

Parabens are effective chemical agents, that have been widely used as preservatives since the early 1930s.

Not so long ago manufacturers of cosmetics were using parabens regularly, their popularity was due to their low cost and effectiveness at poisoning bacteria.

This they do by indirectly releasing chemicals that poison micro organisms, such as Bacteria, Fungi and Yeast.

They help to reduce the chance of contamination and extend the shelf life of your skin care products.

Types of Parabens

The most commonly used parabens are:

  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Methylparaben E number E218
  • Ethylparaben E214 and Butylparaben E216

Each Paraben has its own chemical and toxicology properties, which has a different effect, when it comes to controlling the growth of Yeasts and Mould.

Although they are a primary Fungicidal, they also offer some protection against Bacteria,

This is why, you may have noticed your skin care product containing more than one type of Paraben.

So why the controversy surrounding parabens?

 In 2004 Dr Philippa Darbre, a scientist at Reading university, published an article in the journal of Applied Toxicology,

This article was in relation to a random test, that was carried out on breast cancer patients.

Dr Darbre discovered, that Parabens were in all the 20 breast tissue of tumours that were tested, which is where the direct link between Parabens and breast cancer came from, an alarming fact, which created a media frenzy!

So should I avoid products with parabens?

Since this time their have been a number of studies carried out on the toxicology of Parabens.

No research has ever been able to make a connection with Parabens found in personal care products, and breast cancer.

So NO EVIDENCE shows that they STAY in the BODY, or cause irritation.

Clinical studies have shown, that whilst Parabens are absorbed into the skins tissues, they are fully metabolised before they enter the blood stream, and are then quickly eliminated by the body.

One such study carried out on the oestrogen activity of Parabens, released a report that stated; “It is impossible for Parabens to increase any risk associated with exposure to Oestrogen chemicals.”

So it seems, the very idea that Parabens found in your personal care products can cause breast cancer, is largely unsubstantiated….

The Naked Truth

There is no doubt that there has been a lot of controversy around the use of Parabens. 

Because of this, there is a growing trend towards products that contain natural Parabens.

If you are using personal care products or even creating your own without the use of Parabens,  you do need to ask, how safe is the formula you are using on your skin.

The microbes that grow in this environment include Mould, Yeast and Fungi, which can be far more deadly and more toxic than Parabens!

If anything, the use of natural materials in cosmetics actually increases the need for more Parabens.

This is because, natural materials have more of a chance of breaking down and becoming easily contaminated with micro organisms.

It’s certainly an interesting subject, one that obviously does come down to personal choice, but one that I feel does require sensible consideration, before you decide to go preservative free.

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