What are Parabens in Skincare?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard from one place or another whether it be the radio, television, newspaper or even from your local esthetician the topic of parabens. In regards to skincare, O'm here to help inform you and let you decide for yourself where you stand on the subject. This has been a very popular and largely discussed subject throughout the past few decades. There have been many myths and misconceptions about parabens that leave many unsure how they really feel about the ingredients that are included in their favorite products. These products that include parabens are found everywhere and have many people who support them and others rallying against them. What Exactly Are Parabens? Why Are They Used? Parabens are found EVERYWHERE! You will find them in a vast majority of your cosmetic, beauty and hygienic products. Whether it’s hair care products, moisturizers, cosmetics or deodorants to name a few, you have been exposed to parabens at one point or another. The parabens in products are easily identifiable with names such as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben and Benzylparaben which are some of the most popular…all including ‘paraben’ in the labels. Parabens are synthetic compounds which are commonly used preservatives in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. These preservatives are highly effective in protecting products against bacteria, microbial growth and other harming microbes. These parabens extend the shelf life of the merchandise as well as the reliability of the product. This form of preservative helps the items you purchase from expiring too quickly as well as avoids mold and other harmful bacteria from growing in your products and mistakenly be transmitted to you. In short, parabens are preservatives.

Parabens and The FDA

Surprisingly, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) is not required to approve of ingredients that are added to the cosmetics that are being sold. The FD&C Act (Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act) allows manufacturers to add any ingredients that they may like to a product except a handful, which due to regulations are prohibited.Of course though, even with a lenient set of regulations for the manufactures to follow, any contaminated ingredients which are those containing any poisonous or harmful substances that could possibly cause injury or harm are prohibited in products. Throughout the years there have been many reviews on the safety of parabens and these studies have concluded that we as consumers have nothing to worry about. The parabens are usually used at very low levels between 0.01% to 0.3% and can be used as high as 25% safely as studied by the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (CIR) in 1984. In 2004 a study had been published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology which found traces of parabens in breast tumors. But there were never levels of parabens to compare in normal tissue. That being said, the study didn’t show that parabens were a cause of cancer and in fact whether they are even harmful to the consumer at all. Throughout the years many panels had reopened these reviews trying to find out if there are any safety concerns with the use of parabens but at each review they found it is safe to use and established there is still no reason to change the current regulations.

The Bottom Line When It Comes To Parabens…

We are a society that is scared and worried about many things from the effects of vaccines to eating non-organic foods and just like many other popular topics that may have you on the fence, ultimately it is a personal decision and what is right for you. With the FDA believing that there is nothing to cause concern and the amount of continuing research and evaluating data that will continue on, I personally feel safe using products containing parabens for myself and my family. The amount that is included in our products are so very low and are ‘fully metabolized before they enter the bloodstream’. Knowing this, it helps reassure me on my decision. There are so many different products, foods, ingredients and even activities that we still are determining what effects there will be in the long run but ultimately the FDA is created to keep us, the consumers, safe and out of harm’s way. I choose to trust not only the FDA but my good instinct in determining what is right for my family. There are several products and foods that are deemed ‘safe’ by the FDA that I would never consume or even allow my children to sample and I based those decisions on my gut instinct and my logic. These parabens are found in so many different products and there are some companies that have chosen to jump on the bandwagon and advertise paraben free products for those whom what to live a paraben-free lifestyle. I have purchased both items with parabens and also paraben-free products and they both work just as well. The biggest difference you will see between the two is the expiration date since paraben-free products will expire much quicker. Regardless if you decide to go paraben free or continue using the low amount of paraben in products, the bottom line is it’s a personal choice and it’s up to you and your good judgement to decide what’s best for you and your family.  
askderm's guest esthetician
Blog Written by askderm's Guest Esthetician 

Stephanie Ivonne is a New Jersey licensed Esthetician.  Her fun-loving, outgoing personality will shine through her product selections & reviews to help you discover the hottest skincare and beauty products.

When Stephanie is not scouring the internet for the next hot skincare product, she is a mother to two wonderful biological children, a dedicated foster mom and is devoted to her husband of 13 years.

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