Parabens (ethyl, methyl, propyl and butyl) are commonly used as preservatives in shampoos, moisturizers, deodorants, shaving gels, cleansing gels, cosmetics, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals, toothpaste and food additives. In other words, they are found in almost everything we use on a day to day basis. Parabens inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast and molds, thus creating a longer shelf-life for these aforementioned products.
In 2004, a study was published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology that made claim of detecting extremely low concentrations of parabens in breast tumors. Parabens were shown to have estrogen activity which is thought to be the reason they possibly contributed to the cancerous role. Researchers also believed that when pregnant women used products with parabens, it eventually reached the fetus thus putting it at risk for reproductive problems later in life.
Parabens have become a manufacturers pariah. After these clinical studies were made public, the consumers started demanding products be made without the added preservative.
Is there another side to the story?
The following information is the latest posted from the FDA:
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.
On November 14, 2003, the CIR began the process to reopen the safety assessments of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in order to offer interested parties an opportunity to submit new data for consideration. In September 2005, the CIR decided to re-open the safety assessment for parabens to request exposure estimates and a risk assessment for cosmetic uses. In December 2005, after considering the margins of safety for exposure to women and infants, the Panel determined that there was no need to change its original conclusion that parabens are safe as used in cosmetics. (The CIR is an industry-sponsored organization that reviews cosmetic ingredient safety and publishes its results in open, peer-reviewed literature. FDA participates in the CIR in a non-voting capacity.)
A study published in 2004 (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology) detected parabens in breast tumors. The study also discussed this information in the context of the weak estrogen-like properties of parabens and the influence of estrogen on breast cancer. However, the study left several questions unanswered. For example, the study did not show that parabens cause cancer, or that they are harmful in any way, and the study did not look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue.
FDA is aware that estrogenic activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer. Although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have much less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occurring estrogen. For example, a 1998 study (Routledge et al., in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology) found that the most potent paraben tested in the study, butylparaben, showed from 10,000- to 100,000-fold less activity than naturally occurring estradiol (a form of estrogen). Further, parabens are used at very low levels in cosmetics. In a review of the estrogenic activity of parabens, (Golden et al., in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 2005) the author concluded that based on maximum daily exposure estimates, it was implausible that parabens could increase the risk associated with exposure to estrogenic chemicals.
FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.
Here at FACE Skincare~Medical~Wellness, we understand the controversy surrounding parabens and only 2% of the lines we carry have parabens in them. We offer products that are natural and beneficial to our clients skin and overall health.
One such product line is Image Skin Care. A paraben free company since 2007, they have proven their respect for both their consumers and the environment. Their products are NEVER tested on animals, the do not contain petrochemicals or any chemical preservatives, and their fragrance is composed out of 100% essential oils.
Here is a review from one of our clients, when she tried the Image Vital C line:
I used the Vital C line for a couple of weeks. It is to rehydrate, repair and renew. A perfect line of products for sensitive, dehydrated and rosacea prone skin. This line contains anti-oxidants for the ultimate in skin protection and nutrition.
On a personal level, I loved it. Actually, I loved everything about these products. I used the Hydrating facial cleanser, the hydrating anti-aging serum and the hydrating moisturizer every morning. It sounds like a lot of work but, it really wasn’t. Two of the products you leave on so, it’s the same as washing your face and then applying your moisturizer. My skin felt soft and smooth all day long. I am used to applying moisturizer obsessively throughout the day and I didn’t feel the need to with this product. The texture of the products are super creamy and smooth, easy to apply. Also, the fragrance is citrusy and pleasant.
Evening, I used the facial cleanser, hydrating enzyme masque (2X’s per week but it says to use 3 times) and the hydrating repair cream.
My skin has never felt or looked better. I actually plan on purchasing this line again. And I’m not one to buy specialized facial products, Oil of Olay has been my go to for years. Not anymore.
Knowing that these products are only going to do good for my skin is very reassuring, considering it seems as though everything has the potential to cause cancer these days. Although no effective direct links between parabens and cancer have been established, I tend to favor more natural healthy products.
So why risk using products with a preservative that could cause sickness when there are products made by companies such as Image SkinCare out there for around the same price point? It’s just as important to BE healthy as it is to LOOK healthy.
In the end though, the decision is yours.
Holly CaSaroll is the founder and CEO of FACE Skincare~Medical~Wellness. After suffering from cystic acne herself as a teen, she has rebuilt her own skin, and dedicated the last 15 years to successfully providing innovative solutions to skin conditions not helped elsewhere. She has been featured on FOX, and her Celebrity treatments have been featured on E News, The Doctors, and Oprah, as well as her proprietary combinations have made her a force to be reckoned with in the field of beauty. Her company’s Wellness division, headed by Doug Cutler ND, allows clients to balance their health and beauty from within. She is a Paramedical Esthetician, Laser Technician, and is on the advisory board for Photomedex, a national dermatology solutions company. Holly is also the creator of 3D Face Therapies™, and The Skin Management Model™ which models her progressive, multi-modality approach toward healing skin. Holly has a loyal word-of mouth following, and a flourishing business located in Michigan.
Image: thank you google