PARABENS- Why you should not be too concerned!

I am sure most of us have heard scary stories about the effects of using makeup that contains parabens. When I first came to know about it I was so bummed. It is so difficult to avoid it since almost every beauty or healthcare product I used contains it. For the next few days I became too cautious of what I was buying and started looking at ingredient labels and ended up avoiding a lot of stuff but then I realized that almost all everyday products I use contain parabens, so I decided to do a quick research on it. I am sharing some basic information I found on the topic and I am hoping it will help some of you.

What are Parabens?

In simple terms Parabens are preservatives. They are widely used in variety of everyday products like shampoos, shaving gels, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and even in some food products. They are most commonly mentioned as methylparaben, propylparaben or butylparaben in the ingredient list of a product. They are used to preserve the products and to prevent bacterial growth.

Are they Carcinogenic?

Contrary to the popular belief, Parabens are not yet proven to be carcinogens. There has been no proof establishing any direct link between parabens and cancer but various studies are still going on in this area. In some reports parabens were found in breast tumors but there were no proofs to show that parabens caused the tumor in the first place.

Statement by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.¹

Statement by American Cancer Society

Most people are exposed to parabens. In fact, studies have found some form of parabens in the urine in up to 99% of people in the US. But so far, studies have not shown any direct link between parabens and any health problems, including breast cancer. There are also many other compounds in the environment that mimic naturally produced estrogen.²

Should you be worried?

So it has not been proven yet but isn’t there still a chance that they are actually dangerous? Of course there is, I am not saying that they are good for you, they can be harmful but so can be your car fresheners, incense sticks, scented candles and many other everyday household products. No chemicals are good for you and there is always negative effects involved with using chemical products but unfortunately there is no way out. I know people who lavishly spray mosquito repellents every evening in their houses and those are the chemicals you should be more worried about.

Models and actresses wear makeup all the time and I do not think most of them have died or will die of cancer. All I am trying to say is that we tend to get a little paranoid when we hear the word cancer but please do not believe everything you hear or read on internet. Always do a quick research before getting worried and spreading the rumors. Also, rely only on official or government websites for such information.

Verdict

Innocent until proven guilty but I would like to keep an eye.

My suggestions would be to use good quality makeup. By good quality I mean well known brands. Buy one good lipstick instead of buying 5 low quality ones and never ever sleep with makeup on. If you are still worried you can always avoid or reduce the use of paraben containing products. There are many cosmetic brands making paraben free makeup these days and you can always resort to 100 % natural shampoos, toothpaste and other stuff. By all means you must keep your children away from makeup and chemical products. Not only because of parabens but because any kind of chemicals can be harmful for your children’s sensitive skin..

Some resourceful and reliable websites

Hope it helps to calm some of the over worried minds like mine. I will be happy to be corrected about anything I have said above. Let me know your views.

Stay healthy and happy

Shilpi


Resources

¹ http://www.fda.gov/

² http://www.cancer.org/

 

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