Parabens, what are they?

Parabens - we here this word regularly in newspapers, magazine articles and adverts where product ranges are selling themselves as 'Paraben Free'.  

While many people are becoming more aware of the term, there are many of us that do not fully understand the importance of Paraben Free, what they actually are and how they can affect our short and long term health. 

Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in food, Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics such as deodorants, moisturisers and shampoos. 

Common Parabens include : Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben and Butylparaben. 

Parabens allow skincare products to survive for months, even years preventing bacterial and fungal growth from forming.

Parabens are fat soluble and so are easily absorbed directly into the bloodstream when applied onto the skin. The body can absorb as much as 5 pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year.

Parabens can cause allergic reactions and have been linked to an over production of the female hormone Oestrogen, which has been shown to produce reproductive abnormalities and speed the growth of Cancerous growths, especially in breast tissue.

One type of Paraben- Methylparaben has also been linked to the premature ageing of the skin. A study undertaken in Japan indicated that certain cosmetic products may cause skin to age excessively when exposed to ultra-violet rays, UVB. Ironically, this compound can be commonly found in products designed to fight the effects of ageing!


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