As much as I like to be “au naturale”, I am not afraid to say that makeup is my friend. On any given day, you will find me wearing lipstick and concealer (to hide my age spots which my husband endearingly think are freckles). And now that I post live videos on social media, I find myself putting on more makeup to look presentable and counter the effects of bad lighting caused by the use of my cell phone.
I would go as far to say that makeup can be therapeutic. It can boost your confidence, lift your spirit, and add colour into your daily life. Knowing that it’s important to be mindful about the beauty products you use. Unfortunately, most people have no idea that many of your favourite products actually contain a harmful ingredient – Paraben.
Parabens have been associated with cancer and infertility. In 2012, the European Union (EU) banned the use of Parabens in products. Yet, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Canadian government have not imposed any restrictions on the use of parabens in cosmetics. This begs to question if the EU has banned it, how does it affect our health?
What Are Paraben?
Parabens consist of a group of synthetic man-made compounds that are commonly used as preservatives in a wide range of health, beauty, and personal care products. Typically, these products are used in combination with other preservatives to protect against a broad range of harmful bacteria and molds for an extended period of time. Some of the most common types of parabens found in these products include Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, and Ethylparaben. So, check your product labels and avoid these ingredients.
Parabens can be found at low concentration levels in certain types of produce such as barley, strawberries, currants, vanilla, carrots, and onions. When ingested, parabens are metabolized which can be less estrogenic and may not disrupt the endocrine/ hormone system. This is different from the Parabens found in products applied to the skin such as deodorants, body lotions, moisturizer, skin care and hair products, and even lipstick which can go straight into our bloodstream.
Researchers found that approximately 75-90% of cosmetics contain high concentration levels of parabens. It is estimated that daily use of cosmetic products can expose women to 50 mg of parabens a day. As for lipsticks, according to the European Scientific Commission on Consumer Safety, the average total of milligrams of paraben ingested is 3.7 pounds.
Paraben & Your Health
Since hitting the commercial markets in the 1950s, Parabens can be found everywhere. Despite its popularity, consumers have grown concerned about the number of health risks associated with the compound.
Paraben is known to disrupt normal hormonal function – an effect that is believed to increase the risk of cancer and reproductive toxicity. When paraben filled products, such as cosmetics, are applied and absorbed through the skin, the chemicals bypasses the digestive system and enters the bloodstream and organs. Once this occurs, parabens bind with the estrogen receptors found on cells, impersonates their functions, and increases the total amount of estrogen. To date, this build up has been linked to cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages, and diabetes.
Research has shown that the influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and growth of tumors. Some studies have found traces of paraben in human breast cancer tissues – suggesting a strong link between parabens in cosmetics and cancer.
Parabens can also impede your pathway to pregnancy. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed parabens as a Category 1 priority substance. This means that based on the evidence, the chemicals can interfere with female hormonal and male reproductive functions. Studies have discovered that the absorption of parabens in commercial products has caused low sperm count as well as decreased levels of testosterone in men.
You don’t need to boycott skincare and beauty products, especially, if it makes you feel and look good. Just do your best to find healthier paraben free products to cut down exposure to toxins. Thankfully, you don’t have to break the bank and will be surprised at the number of paraben-free products you can find at your local store.
To learn more about Paraben and the importance of using paraben-free cosmetic lines, check out my live facebook post.