Are Parabens Really The Villains in Cosmetics?
“Paraben-free,” a term heard, searched, and bought very often nowadays is simply a trend, or is there a reason behind it? The question is if parabens are the negative characters in the cosmetic industry then why is it used so much? Let’s break down the details.
Parabens – Who Are They?
Parabens (short for p-hydroxybenzoic acid esters) are nothing but preservatives that are added to cosmetic products in order to prevent them from getting spoiled. Yes, just like food products, cosmetics too, are prone to get spoiled and hence for various reasons such as to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria, to increase the shelf-life of products, and to keep them as fresh as possible and maintain the germ-free state of a product, parabens are added.
Some of the most commonly used parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben and you will find them in everything from shampoo and shower gel to face cream, lotions, serums, and personal and skincare products. They are present either alone or in combination with other types of preservatives to better protect against a broad range of microorganisms. So, in short, it is parabens that maintain the aroma and appearance of your sweet-smelling cream or shampoo as it is, from the moment you unseal it till it stays on your bathroom shelf.
Then, Why Do They Have A Bad Rep?
Parabens are nowadays presented in such a shady character as if you will get skin burns or rashes upon using the products containing them the very moment. Not at all, it is such a huge myth. Parabens won’t cause immediate damage to your skin, they have been around for decades, but their safety began to be questioned when they were found to mimic estrogen (one of the hormones in our body), and one study of about 20 patients found traces of parabens in breast cancer tissue. Although no solid evidence was gathered to prove that parabens are responsible for causing cancer, parabens are indeed harmful in the long run.
Upon topical application of any paraben-containing product, the parabens in it can easily enter the body through skin absorption and remain in the skin’s tissue for a longer period which is believed to distort natural hormonal operation. The real issue arises when our body sees and treats parabens as a hormone often estrogen due to their hormone-mimicking properties because having an abundance of estrogen is believed to cause an increase in breast cell division, which may lead to the growth of a tumor, which is why parabens got the bad rep since then.
What Are The Negative Effects of Parabens?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) haven’t yet prohibited the use of parabens entirely because cosmetics usually contain between 0.01% and 0.3% parabens which is a very small concentration and hence are safe to use. However, excessive and regular application of paraben-containing products can cause harm in the long run some of which are as follows:
Parabens cause changes in hormone function, which further may result in to changes in brain function, changes in cholesterol, high blood sugar, variations in thyroid hormones, poor immune function, sensitivities, allergies, rashes, fertility issues, obesity risk, and risk of cancer.
Not only this, parabens are all around us so everyone may have some exposure. Parabens have also been found in the sediment, sewage, water treatment plants, rivers, soil, and house dust and hence it can be said that they are not just bad for humans but can also impact the environment. They can pose a serious threat to the marine life where they’ve been found inside sea creatures and are also believed to damage and kill coral.
So, Should You Throw Out Everything Containing Parabens?
Well, no need to throw everything right away but yes, you can stop buying any paraben-containing products further as a good start. Always check out the ingredients before making the purchase and opt for paraben-free products which are safe to use.
What Are The Safe Alternatives Then?
No, parabens don’t mean the end of the cosmetics. They can be preserved and maintained well and good with natural ingredients. In fact, there are some nature-based cosmetic products that have natural preservatives which keep them germ-free and fresh for years without causing any harm to the skin. For example, castor oil products. Castor oil has made its way into cosmetic products for a long time now due to its ability to treat various skin issues and enhance its quality of it.
Hydrogenated castor oil in cosmetics is a hit among all castor oil derivatives because it acts as a natural solubilizer, emulsifier, surfactant, and emollient which is all a cosmetic lover needs. Cosmetics today has a range of castor oil-based products that are not only safe to use but also give results just like any heavy chemical-based product.
So, What Is The Verdict? Are They Really The Villains or Not?
A clear answer is difficult here as parabens are used in safe amounts by the cosmetic industry so it’s a personal call, after all, to decide whether you want to continue with parabens or go paraben-free completely. Just keep in mind that if you plan to go all-natural or organic, don’t forget to keep a check on the expiry date of the products as they will not only have a lesser shelf life but will also be not suitable to use post-expiration date at all.
With people becoming more and more aware of the ill effects of heavy chemicals on the body and the environment, and making the switch to natural products, today, cosmetic industries have transformed their products such a way that meets the need of the customers, which is why the demand for trusted castor oil manufacturers in India is rising up like never before. That’s where we, Ambuja Solvex, come into the picture who are the manufacturers and distributors of 100% natural and pure organic castor oil that is hard to find anywhere else.