In my continuing series of toxic ingredients and/or chemicals found in our food and skincare products, this time around I wanted to talk about parabens and methylparabens. Methylparaben is from the paraben family of chemicals, and is pretty commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food. It is readily and completely absorbed directly through the skin and the gastrointestinal tract, meaning it has absolutely no problem getting into your system via any means. For this reason, among others, it is actually banned in the U.K. for use in all fragrances – but not here in the U.S.. Various studies have shown methylparabens to disrupt our endocrine system, and the Environmental Working Group gives it a score of 8 for a High Hazard ingredient. According to them, methylparabens are linked to cancer, immunotoxicity, and organ system toxicity. Not very safe stuff!
So what products are methylparabens found in? The list is gigantic, and some of the biggest names in the cosmetics industry are included:
- Est’e Lauder
- St. Ives
Like I said, the list goes on and on, so you might be hard pressed to find products and safe cosmetics that DON’T have methylparabens in them. However, if you can do it, it is best to avoid these parabens altogether – the risk isn’t worth it to me when there are safer alternatives available. Keep your eyes open to those ingredient lists and watch for methyparabens!