The drama initially began when a researcher found that paraben metabolites were found in cancerous breast tissue. Soon after the panic over parabens began, the researcher who conducted the study (P. Darbre) responded in Journal of Applied Toxicology to the media-drawn connection between parabens and cancer with a clear statement, “No claim was made that the presence of parabens had caused the breast cancers.” In fact, as the considerable global research has exhaustively demonstrated, parabens are broken down, metabolised and excreted harmlessly by the body. That statement refutes the crux of the scare tactics being used to convince you parabens are bad ingredients.
So what exactly are parabens?
Parabens are preservatives found in 80% of skin care and beauty products worldwide. You get many types of parabens on the market. Butyl and isopropyl parabens are not commonly used and these are the only 2 types of parabens that are restricted in some countries. Methyl and propyl parabens have been proven to be 100% safe and are actually naturally found in raspberries and blueberries.
Parabens have been rated as the top preservative to use to prevent both bacterial and fungal proliferation. With the attack on parabens, becoming almost an onslaught, many companies have now excluded parabens from their products and have replaced them with 'greener' preservatives that are not as effective or have decided to add no preservatives at all. Many people have actually been hospitalized from bacteria and fungal growth in the skin creams as a result of this.
Many natural skincare brands claim that ingredients like parabens are dangerous, when in fact parabens have exhaustive safety data AND are naturally produced by vegetables and fruits. Foods such as soy, beans, flax, cherries, blueberries, carrots, and cucumbers produce parabens and other chemicals that mimic oestrogen—to a much greater degree than the miniscule amounts of parabens used in skin care.
Despite this fact, when was the last time you read a media report or received a forwarded e-mail about the breast cancer risk from cucumbers, beans or berries? So the next time you read a story that vaguely indicates parabens are unsafe, think twice before you believe the hype and remember the facts--the tiny levels used in your personal care products are not harmful.