Is Paraben Free Skincare better?

by Nicole Mandallaz

Are Paraben Free Products Better?

Ever since the launch of the Environmental Working Group, and the "clean" beauty movement, consumers have developed growing concerns about preservatives and "chemicals" in health and personal care products, with parabens being one of those at the top of the list.  You will see "paraben free" on nearly every consumer good you can put on yourself. Are they really that bad?  Should we really be worried about them?

To understand further, lets take a deeper look, starting with what parabens even are.

What Are Parabens?

Parabens are simply a group of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic and personal care products in order to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. 

They were first commercialized in the 1950s. The most commonly used ones are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben.

Why are we concerned about them?

There was a study in 2004 published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology stating that there were parabens found in the tissue of breast tumors of the patients with cancer in the study.              This set off all the alarm bells, and ALL the fear marketing groups like Environmental Working Group sounded off numerous campaigns about how parabens in skincare = cancer.

So do parabens in skincare cause cancer?

Most likely NOT. 

What they failed to mention in this study, is that there were parabens also found in all the healthy tissue samples of the participants WITHOUT cancer in the same study!  That means that everyone has parabens showing up in their tissue but not everyone has cancer.  

No following studies were able to prove any correlation, and in fact in 2012, the same researcher who originally published the study publicly retracted it. 

There have been even further studies that actually prove parabens to be one of the most stable and least allergenic of all cosmetic preservatives, making it the best option for sensitive skin!

Even beyond that, all the people saying that the dangers of parabens are that they bind to estrogen in our bodies, then leading to breast cancer.  This has also been debunked, as parabens have been found to be 10,000 times weaker than most phytoestrogens.  So its estrogen binding activity is SUPER weak.

Then what's the deal with everyone having parabens in their tissue?

Parabens are also found in nature!!!  Yes, you heard me right.  They are a common compound found in plants!!!  You will find them in many fruits and veggies like cucumbers, olives, cherries, carrots, blueberries and onions.
Our bodies even make their own parabens when breaking down certain amino acids!  

Why is everything "paraben free" everywhere then?

Because we still want you to buy our products!  LOL

The fear groups and fear marketing had won with this one, and companies with parabens in their products were losing lots of money, so quickly switched out to other less stable potentially more irritating preservatives.  Hey, but at least they're "paraben free".  

For example a really common group of preservatives i see now in "natural"products, I find to be extremely irritating and even inflammatory to the skin.  These are in the group of the "thiazolinones" preservatives.  The most common ones being methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinones.  I really see a lot of allergies, rashes, and dermatitis from these and recommend my clients avoid them if at all possible.  Oh how i detest them and miss the parabens. hahahaha

Are Parabens banned in other countries like the EU?

Nope!!! That is another myth!!! Parabens are still allowed in personal care products in the EU, Canada and beyond.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, paraben free skincare is NOT better.  Meta Skincare does not contain parabens in our products for one simple reason, I don't want uninformed buyers to be afraid to use our products.  But that doesn't mean i don't miss them.  Now go get some parabens by eating your blueberries.blueberries parabens

 

 

 

Nicole Mandallaz
Esthetician, acne and aging expert, ingredients nerd, information junkie.
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