This week we were supposed to write about a hell-no-we-won’t-go ingredient -- parabens. But really digging in to the research revealed more questions than answers.
For years now, we’ve been told to avoid parabens in the products we use, but I wasn’t sure we all knew exactly why. Well, we took this element, stripped it down, and created a fun LMNTL graphic for you.
We start getting exposed to parabens in earnest in our teenage years -- the same years when we’re learning how to groom ourselves. Common personal care products like makeup, cleansers, sunscreen and toothpastes all contain parabens. When they’re applied to your skin, a small amount of parabens are absorbed, and may even reach your bloodstream. It can even be detected in your urine. So is this a good thing or a bad thing?
There have been claims that exposure to parabens can lead to reduced hormone production, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer, but there isn’t enough evidence to support that thinking. Studies that claim this did so because they found small traces in tumors, but no one has shown a true cause and effect. They have shown that an allergic reaction can result from paraben containing products being applied to damaged or broken skin (basically a shortcut to your bloodstream).
Parabens, in turns out, may be less sensitizing (cause an allergic reaction) than other common preservatives used in cosmetic products such as quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea.
Paraben-free products cost more money. But they’re not just paraben-free; often they’ll also exclude other harmful ingredients, and so the cost could be justified. Organic and all-natural skincare brands, including probiotic skincare brands, typically leave out parabens from their forumlations. So if you’re unsettled by the lack of conclusive research on either end of this debate, going organic might make sense for you.