Are There Parabens in Your Cosmetics?


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Following on from the our post on parabens, which you can find here, I wanted to post another update, specifically on how to find out if your favourite cosmetic products contain parabens and what you can do to avoid them.

Why are they added to your cosmetics?

Courtesy Hills Spinal
Courtesy Hills Spinal

As we discussed, parabens are frequently added to cosmetics to prevent the growth of bacteria. They have been in use since the 1950s and the vast majority of cosmetics use a combination of them, because they are cheap and effective. The ones to be aware of are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.

New York City dermatologist Fran E. Cook-Bolden is quoted as saying, “Parabens have a long history of safe use, and that’s why they’re commonplace. New preservatives have less of a proven track record.”

The previous post explains that the problem with parabens has been identified because they are xenoestrogens, i.e. they mimic oestrogen in the body. This has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues, including early onset of puberty and reduced sperm count. It appears that parabens can be stored in the body, resulting in a cumulative effect that can damage health over time. Research been found to link them to cancerous cells, but does not compare results with levels of parabens in noncancerous cells.

So while there is currently no scientific evidence to confirm that parabens directly cause cancer, it is right to be mindful. Many products are emerging that are paraben-free, so it is possible to avoid them if you are concerned.

What are the alternatives?

Courtesy How Stuff Works
Courtesy How Stuff Works

It is safe to say that almost all products that are not specifically labelled at paraben free are likely to contain parabens. You can use oil based organic products, which do not need a preservative like water based cosmetics. These are usually sold in dark, pump containers which keep them protected from air and light.

Brands that are proudly paraben free include the following:

Aubrey Organics



Burt’s Bees

California Baby

Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Hauschka

John Masters Organics

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  1. Thank you, thank you! boy you are on a roll! yesterday with the sweetner’s and today with cosmetics. I am proud to use several of these products. The more one knows, the better for one’s health!
    Although I was a bit disappointed that Burt’s Bees went corporate but I found another sage deodorant that is not corporate so I switched and now I buy them by the case for the whole house!

    1. Ha ha thanks Katherine! Yes on a roll 😉 Which company do you buy your sage deodorant from?
      There is so much information out there, I intend to dig my way through and share what I find!

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