Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.
Gone are the days of mindlessly applying lipstick, spritzing or spraying any ol’ hairspray, and ignoring ingredient lists. The toxic-free, all-natural, organic beauty movement has made some serious headway and it all started with a discussion about parabens.
Now, everywhere you turn, even mainstream (but not natural) products will boost advertisements with an ever flashy label that reads “Paraben-Free!”
So, what exactly are parabens and why is everyone staying away from them?
What are Parabens?
Post-war America saw its fair share of scientific, technological, and economic advances. One of the most noticeable differences were found in how we ate, bought, and stored food. Parabens were added to many household items to preserve their shelf life. It wasn’t long until the beauty industry needed something to help it’s products last longer, too.
In 1950, parabens were being added to skincare, haircare, and almost every cosmetic product as a preservative with little to no research supporting that it was safe. But that’s just how science was back then, more reactionary and less proactive.
Fast forward to 2004, when a group of researchers was studying the tissue of 20 women with breast cancer. In 19 of the 20 patients, parabens were found in the breast tissue.
It was later determined that parabens may not cause breast cancer but can cause cancer cells to multiply and can damage DNA.
It wasn’t long before other studies revealed a link to reproductive issues. Particularly butylparaben acts as a xenoestrogen, replicating the activity of estrogen and disrupting hormonal balance. This was more than enough reason for the European Union to ban the use of parabens entirely. However, the US did not subscribe to such notions and they remain widely accepted.
Due to the amount of money in the beauty industry, it is unlikely the US would support research that could bring the business to a screeching halt. Of course, that wouldn’t happen. In fact, many companies have already begun doing away the preservative all together and are still just as successful.
Moving the beauty industry toward more natural and sustainable ingredients would only happen slowly and would likely be the result of customers being more conscious of ingredients, not because the government bans them.
Even though there is a lot of con-traverse in regards to whether or not these parabens are harmful, I always come to the conclusion, I would rather avoid them completely than take a chance. As time goes on we will all have to face the hard evidence showing that these chemicals are no good.
Parabens are a Global Issue
Studies have shown that parabens were found in 44% of beauty products used worldwide. The dangers of parabens are not confined to your medicine cabinet or beauty bag.
When parabens are washed off the body they enter the water system. For places that are able to properly decontaminate water, the parabens will be removed, altered chemically or released into the environment through sludge and eventually becoming methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben.
None of these paraben derivatives are sustainable for life and add to the toxic waste that destroys our ozone layer and environment. Do your part in making yourself and the environment healthier by opting out of products that still use parabens. Skin and hair care products are a great place to start!
Paraben-Free Skincare, Hair Products, and Makeup
Parabens have long been skincare’s biggest bad guy. We’re only now able to discern for ourselves whether we want to be exposed to it. Unfortunately, he wears many masks and can go by many names. Because of its bad reputation, it’s rare that you’ll actually see the word “paraben” listed in the ingredients.
The parabens in skincare and haircare products are more likely to be absorbed than the parabens found in makeup. They are sprayed and lathered directly onto skin and scalp and are often on the body than makeup is.
In order to educate and empower natural beauties everywhere, I’ve created the ultimate guide to spotting parabens a mile away and where to look for your beauty products instead.
Paraben goes by many names that will be covered in your guide but the most common to watch out for include butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Notice they all end with the suffix paraben. These are slightly altered chemical states of paraben–all equally as toxic as the other.
Download the ebook now to rediscover what beauty is like without parabens.
How to Detox Your Beauty Routine
Now’s the time for action! Go through all of the products you use and determine whether they contain harmful chemicals. While tossing out those that contain parabens (and the many names it goes by) include phthalates, sulfates, and formaldehyde on the naughty list, too!
Once you’ve got this step out of the way, you will have a blank canvas to work with and you’ll be able to make more conscious choices in the future. While at it, you might also want to downsize and cut back on the number of products you use in general – do you really need five dry shampoos?
Now you’ll need to adopt the habit of choosing what you purchase based on its ingredients, not simply its packaging and promises. Thankfully, more and more brands are responding to the new needs of customers and today, it is not difficult at all to find completely organic, natural and vegan beauty and body care lines.
If your beauty routine could do with some improvement, the best time to start making changes is now. Chemicals might be ever so present in the products around us, but so are emerging brands that pride themselves in doing things differently.