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What are Parabens? Are They as Bad as We Think?

In April we celebrate World Health Day! Each year on April 7th, World Health Day draws attention to a specific health topic. People across the globe are celebrating global health awareness today. 

Fun Fact: April 7th marks the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948.

What better way to raise awareness than to start the conversation about what we put in our bodies? We all know that eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, and hitting the gym are good for us. But have you thought about what you're putting in your body when you slather on shampoo, makeup, and skincare? 

If you've ever researched clean or natural beauty products, you'll know parabens take a lot of heat in the cosmetic industry. While we've all seen paraben-free labels at cosmetic stores. Do you really know what parabens are? Why are they so controversial? And why are we boycotting them?


What Are Parabens?

 

What are Parabens? Are They as Bad as We Think?

You can find parabens in everything from serums, creams, foundations to shampoos and body care.

Parabens are a type of preservative that was first introduced to the beauty world in the 1920s. They help give cosmetics a longer shelf life. Parabens keep active ingredients in products fresher for longer to prevent mold and bacteria growth. 

The most commonly used parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben) have been used in cosmetics for decades, but their safety is called into question. 


Why Are Parabens Harmful?

 

Why Are Parabens Harmful?

 

The major concern with using parabens is that some studies suggest they can interfere with our body's natural hormone production and increase cancer risk. 

Some believe parabens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, meaning they can interfere with the body's endocrine (hormonal) systems. Parabens can act like estrogen in the body, which suggests they can mimic that hormone's effects in the body. Some researchers suggest when parabens penetrate the skin and act like estrogen in the body, it can lead to reproductive complications (for both men and women) and heightened breast cancer risks. 

Adding fuel to the concern, parabens have been found in breast tissue and breast cancer tumors. There isn't enough evidence to prove a direct link between paraben use and increased cancer risk, but is it worth the risk?

The more often you're in contact with parabens, the more likely they can harm your health. It's even more important that we're proactive about what goes in our bodies. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market.


How to See if a Beauty Product Has Parabens

How to See if a Beauty Product Has Parabens

 

To check if a beauty product contains parabens, you can check out the ingredient list on the package. If you see methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropylparaben, or isobutylparaben then parabens are present. 

Tip* Parabens can also be listed as alkyl parahydroxybenzoates.

Paraben-Free Cosmetics 

Paraben-Free Cosmetics

The great thing about 2021 is that if you're concerned about the impact of parabens in your cosmetics, you can easily avoid them. LiLash is proudly paraben-free. LiLash and LiBrow are both formulated without parabens.

While there's no black and white answer as to whether or not parabens are really the 'bad guys' of the cosmetic world, we think that ingredient that stirs up this much controversy is probably best left out of our cosmetics.