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Dangers of Parabens In Shampoo

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You’ve probably been told to stay away from cosmetics & skincare products that contain parabens. Experts have been telling us to use hair conditioners and shampoo without parabens or sulfate for quite some time now.

What Are the Dangers of Parabens in Shampoo?

A paraben is a preservative added to personal care products to keep it from going bad or rancid, extending the shelf life of cosmetics and personal care products.

The official meaning is ‘any of a group of compounds used as preservatives in pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and in the food industry.’

Parabens listed as an ingredient on products any one or a combination of the following:

  • methylparaben,
  • propylparaben,
  • isopropylparaben,
  • isobutylparaben,
  • butylparaben,
  • sodium butylparaben

Are all parabens bad?

When I mentioned parabens in a previous article, I received some angry messages insisting that parabens in small doses is okay and that parabens are found in blueberries for goodness sakes!

Feeling like an alarmist, I set out to discover the truth about parabens.

Yes, there are naturally occurring parabens in insects, fruits, vegetables.  Parabens in nature help fight fungus and bacteria, this is totally different than what is added to our cosmetics and skincare.

Those are synthetically produced in a lab then added to beauty products.

Parabens in nature are totally different than parabens made in a lab.

Same idea but different in how they are produced.

Why We Should Avoid Products With Parabens

The scary truth is that parabens are still allowed in cosmetics. 

The excerpt below from the EWG website explains what parabens are and why we shouldn’t use products containing parabens.

‘Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as artificial preservatives in cosmetic and body care products since the 1920s.

Since cosmetics contain ingredients that can biodegrade, these chemicals are added to prevent and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, increasing the shelf life of the product.

The concern with these chemicals is that 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.

They can also cause skin irritation. Moreover, studies have detected parabens in nearly all urine samples taken from adults in the U.S., regardless of demographic (Ye 2006).’ –source


Exposure to Parabens Over Time Is a Concern

For me, the threat of danger from exposure to parabens is not a one-time use and an immediate diagnosis of breast cancer, the concern is a slow buildup from using various products containing any toxin on a daily basis that will add up over the years.
The EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep® database states parabens are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation.

According to Safe Cosmetics.org…

A 2004 UK study detected traces of 5 parabens in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of the 20 women studied. 

This small study does not prove a causal relationship between parabens and breast cancer, but it is important because it detected the presence of intact parabens – unaltered by the body’s metabolism – which is an indication of the chemicals’ ability to penetrate skin and remain in breast tissue.’

And reading about this study was enough to send me running for a new, natural deodorant.

I Choose Natural Products

There is enough information on this topic to keep us reading for days and days but let’s stop here.

As with everything else, it’s interesting to go down the Google search rabbit hole and find out the facts, and at the end of the day, we all have to make our own decisions about what we choose to put on our bodies.

Poke around enough and you will find opposing views that parabens don’t have anything to do with breast cancer and articles that promise using parabens in small amounts to give products longer shelf life is completely safe.

I tend to believe the facts from credible sources, my own experiences, and using common sense.

Even though the data I discussed earlier was from a small study, 19 out of 20 breast cancer tumors had traces of parabens… scary.

For me, synthetic preservatives will be avoided.

As for me, I rather not take that chance if I can help it. I can’t help but think there are cancer cells ready to sit up and strike if provoked (by parabens and other toxins).

I’ll continue to do my best to eat healthily, use natural products, and… skip the parabens.
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