I had a request from a blog reader to talk about some toxic ingredients. So here is the first post! I hope this comes in handy for those who are transitioning to green beauty products.
What they are:
Parabens are a preservative that is widely used in cosmetic products due to its low cost as well as anti-bacterial and anti-fungus properties. You’ll often find parabens in shampoo, moisturizers, self-tanners, shaving gels and even toothpaste. The most common parabens found in cosmetic use are: methylparaben, benzylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, and ethylparaben.
Why you should avoid them:
- Parabens can easily penetrate the skin and interfere with hormone function (also called endocrine distruptors). Endocrine distruptors can lead to: cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
- Parabens can mimic estrogen which suggests a possible association between cosmetics and cancer
- Use of methylparabens applied to the skin can react with UVB and lead to skin aging and DNA damage
- There aren’t any regulations against the use of parabens in cosmetics in Canada. But the European Union restricts the concentration of parabens in cosmetics.
While parabens don’t sound that hazardous to some, I would argue that there are some other factors to consider. Monona Rossol makes a good case about toxic burden in her book which I reviewed. Basically if all the products you use contain parabens and other possibly toxic ingredients, over time these chemicals accumulate in your body. Your organs can only detoxify so much foreign material from your body. In my mind it would be common sense to try and help your body out by keeping your exposure to toxic ingredients to the absolute minimum.
This would be even more important to individuals who have a history of cancer in their families. Using products with toxic ingredients means you might have an increased risk of getting cancer if you don’t take care of your body. This risk can be managed by the normal pillars of health: good nutrition, activity, and an awareness of what you put on your body. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Whatever you put on your skin for 60 seconds get absorbed into the whole glorious system that is the human body. Just some food for thought.