What are parabens and their consequences - Know them and avoid them!

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Parebens or parabens are substances that are found in many cosmetic and personal hygiene products. Until a very few years ago we knew little or nothing about parabens. We did not even know that we were using products that contained them and that they could produce not so positive effects on the body and health. Luckily we already know more about them and, therefore, more and more ecological and natural products are sought, since they do not contain them, and they can be found in a variety of businesses dedicated to ecological cosmetic and personal hygiene products, as well as in large fairs in which new products of this type are presented and presentations are given on pollution and health issues, among others, such as this case of parabens. The BioCultura Fair in Spain it is one of these interesting places where they help us to better know what products we consume.

But, what are parabens exactly? And what are the consequences of parabens? If you are one of those who wonder, in this Green Ecologist article we explain it to you.

What are parabens

We can say that parabens or parabens constitute the preservatives in cosmetic products and personal hygiene. Therefore, they would be similar to preservative substances, artificial or natural, that are used in food to preserve food against the action of microorganisms and that prevent them from spoiling more quickly and last longer.

Thus, parabens prevent the cosmetic product from becoming degrade by action of microorganisms or lose its effectiveness. Parabens are the most used type of preservative in cosmetics and beauty products, although they can also be combined with other preservatives.

However, not all parabens are synthetic substances, but some are organic substances that can be found, for example, in blueberries, and are metabolized once they are ingested. Although it is true that up to 90% of the parabens most used today for this function have been artificially synthesized.

How to identify parabens in products

Read the product labels that we consume is an act that we must introduce into our routine every time we step into a store. Learning to read labels and recognize the acronyms by which different products are marked, such as parabens or palm oil, will make us responsible consumers.

In this sense, you should know that parabens are identified within the European Union with the use of following codes:

  • E214
  • E215
  • E216
  • E217
  • E218
  • E219

Although it is also possible to identify them with the following names:

  • Metylparaben.
  • Mropylparaben.
  • Benzylparaben.
  • Ethylparaben.
  • Butylparaben.
  • Sodium benzoate.
  • Sodium.
  • Ammonium.
  • Laureate sulphate.

These substances are mainly found in makeup products, hair ranges, shaving products or moisturizers. The Cosmetic Ingredent Review (CIR) established in 1984 that the use of parabens in cosmetic products does not represent any risk to health, as long as it does not exceed amounts of 25%. However, this study was reopened in 2003 to investigate the safety of parabens in women and children, but it was concluded that it was not necessary to change this report.

What dangers and effects can they have on health

Despite conclusions in previous studies, in 2004 the alarm went off when a scientific study was published by oncologists at the University of Reading (Edinburgh). This study identified traces of parabens in 90% of the samples of patients analyzed with breast cancer and their results were published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology. However, it was not possible to conclude that there was a relationship between parabens and cancer formation.

The usual concentrations of parabens in many cosmetic and beauty products are usually vary between 0.01% and 0.3% and at those concentrations they would not be a cause for concern, at least in the short or medium term. Although there are no scientific studies that confirm the relationship of parabens with cancer or other pathologies, it is proposed that could have consequences in:

  • Endocrine system: It is believed that the methyl, propyl and butyl forms can act as endocrine disruptors, since they can interfere with glandular activity and hormonal production.
  • Premature agingAlthough many are used in cosmetic and beauty products, research has found that they can accelerate the aging process of the skin. Researchers at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan found that methyl parabens can greatly increase the sensitivity of the skin to exposure to ultraviolet light.
  • Pseudoestrogenic effect: In 2004, researchers found that parabens could act like estrogens, which can increase the risk of developing estrogen-positive breast cancer.
  • Male reproductive systemParabens have also been associated with interference with the normal functioning of the male reproductive system. It was identified that the absorption of parabens from commercial products was associated with lower levels of sperm and testosterone.

Products with parabens

As we have already explained, parabens are found mainly in the beauty products and cosmetics:

  • Bath gels.
  • Shampoos
  • Make-up.
  • Face creams
  • Hydrating creams.
  • Anti-stretch mark creams.
  • Anti-cellulite creams.
  • Sunscreens.
  • Confectionery products.
  • Nuts.
  • Medicines for topical use.
  • Shaving foam.
  • Hair waxes.
  • Gummies

If you want to read more articles similar to What are parabens and their consequences, we recommend that you enter our category of Foods harmful to health.

You will help the development of the site, sharing the page with your friends
This page in other languages: