With the rise of new products in the natural hair community, competition has caused many up and coming companies as well as major companies to re-strategize what they put in to their products. With the new focus in ingredients we’ve seen many phrases on bottles that we may not fully understand but just associated with being a good thing! IE: “No Parabens”! This phrase is on several natural hair products along side the other popular catch phrase “no sulfates” So what exactly are parabens and why are we so against having them in our hair products?
What Are Parabens?
Parabens are a series of parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid. Most of the time these Parabens are used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. It is estimated that we ingest 571 forms of chemicals yearly and parabens are at the top of the list. So since they are used to preserve so many different cosmetics and pharmaceuticals that we use consistently on a daily basis why are they so frowned upon or dangerous?
Why Are Parabens Considered Dangerous?
In recent studies samples were taken for 40+ women diagnosed with breast cancer and each test came back with the chemical present. Since 1998 there have been some concerns have been raised with the presciene of parabens being a possible cause of breast cancer. However no formal connections have been created to confirm this theory. Parabens also act as an estrogen in the body. This can also lead to forms of cancer and cause reproductive issues.
And while we have done a pretty decent job in getting away from parabens in our hair products with a bit of research it seems that 85 percent of our daily activity possesses parebens within it. Whether it be processed meats, moisturizers, shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste, make up and other daily toiletries we run into parabens at least 5 times a day without ever even thinking about it. Parabens can also be named as the following on your product bottles and containers: butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.
Why Do We Use Them?
So with the possibility of causing cancer, why is that we still use products with parabens? Or why are products still being made with parabens? Well… parabens prevent the growth of bacteria because they are a preservative thus explaining why many cosmetic products use them. It creates a longer shelf life versus the natural products that have to be replaced more often due to their quick expiration. Parabens are also inexpensive therefore keeping the cost of the product low for the consumer.
With all of the back and forth it is difficult to come to a final conclusion as to whether or not parabens are truly a cause or source of cancer. As always it is better to be on the cautious side, especially when dealing with your own health. As with the craze that comes with buying things organic, I believe there are certain things that should be paraben free or low in parabens (the last 2-3 ingredients on the list). If you are worried about the parabens in your products or are looking for alternatives for things like lotion, makeup, deodorant…etc there are brands that specialize in organic/natural ingredients without parabens that are widely available. As always make sure to read the ingredients and if you are confused about what an ingredient may be, Google is always one click away!
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