The Harmful Effects of Preservatives in Personal Care Products

So you are looking at the label on your skin care or body care products and notice ingredients like methylparaben and propylparaben. What the heck are these ingredients? Are they friend or foe?

The paraben family includes methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben. Parabens are synthetic (aka chemical) preservatives commonly used to increase the shelf life in cosmetics and personal care products like shampoos and conditioners, conditioners, cosmetics, facial masks, body lotions, deodorants and even children’s products. So if they are so commonly used they must be safe right?

Parabens have been known to cause skin irritation, rash, contact dermatitis, eczema, or allergic skin reactions. In laboratory testing parabens have been found to mimic the hormone estrogen. It is a well known medical fact that estrogen stimulates breast cancer. Scientists in the UK analyzed 20 breast tumors and found high concentrations of parabens in 18 samples! Do we really want anything to use anything that messes with our hormones?

Parabens also have been found to disrupt your body’s endocrine system (i.e., hypothalamus, ovaries and thyroid). These chemical preservatives typically enter the body by being absorbed through the skin where they bind to the body’s estrogen receptors and encourage the growth of cancer cells. Anything that enters the body through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose. Absorbed through the skin? Now there’s a revelation: what you put ON my body ends up IN your body!

The National Organic Program actually prohibits chemical preservatives in products that are labeled “organic.” So what are they doing there? They are there simply for profit sake, so a product can be left to sit on a shelf for years and still be sale-able. But personal care products should not last for years. Why would we even want to purchase products that were not fresh? What we feed our skin should be comparable to what we feed our bodies. Would you want to feed your body food that was many years old?

There are currently 10,500 ingredients documented by the FDA as being used in personal care products. Only 11% (or 1,155) have been assessed for safety by the cosmetic industry.

There are better choices out there for skin and body care products. Why not choose certified organic products that are 100% free of any and all synthetic chemicals including preservatives? Your skin will thank you for it!

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