It is not uncommon to see on some products, the mention “No Parabens”… But what is parabens? Are they really dangerous, banned? are cosmetic products without parabens better than those that carry them? Or more dangerous to our health? We go through this article to try to clarify this notion for consumers.
Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetics and medicines
Parabens are chemical substances generally used as preservatives because of their antibacterial and antimycotic properties. They are present in medicines, cosmetics and food products, as parabens protect against bacterial and fungal contamination (fungi). Parabens are also found in the natural state, in the human body, as well as in some fruits and vegetables, such as blackberries, strawberries or carrots, or other products such as honey. According to the French Health Products Safety Agency (AFSSAPS), the use of parabens in medicines would be justified, as they protect drugs from degradation which would result in a loss of efficacy. The AFSSAPS adds that only a risk of allergy to parabens in pharmaceutical products has been proven. Their use in drugs would therefore not be challenged. However, other security risks associated with the use of these preservatives have been demonstrated. They would indeed have carcinogenic potential. In 2004, English researchers discovered the presence of parabens in the biopsy of a breast cancer tumor. Since then, other studies carried out on animals accuse the parabens of causing in addition, problems of fertility in humans. In recent years, scientific studies have pointed to this substance suspected of being an endocrine disrupter (Source 5). Public health institutions, they have not confirmed the dangers of parabens on health but as a precautionary principle the amount of parabens is now regulated and limited in shampoos (Source 4).
Choosing organic Cosmetics without paraben limits the risk to your health
“Parabens” is the common name of a class of chemicals, which are however known under other denominations as P-hydroxybenzoïc acid esters. Remember that conservatives are important because they fight against yeasts, molds and bacteria. The study conducted in 2004 by British scientists suggests that there may be a relationship between the parabens of deodorants and breast cancer (the results are based mainly on the presence of parabens in cancerous mammary tissues) . Even if the result of these studies does not prove the carcinogenic effect of parabens, what is certain is that parabens are allergenic, irritating to the skin and eyes, and that they appear to have a estrogenic activity, hence a possible link with cancer. It is necessary to know that there are several kinds of parabens, often used in mixtures in cosmetics. However, not all of them have the same toxic potential. Although Methylparaben and Éthylparaben appear harmless, adverse effects have been observed with Propylparaben. The others (Butylparaben and Isobutylparaben in particular) showed estrogenic or reprotoxic effects in several studies. Products with or without parabens, you choose! What is certain is that products with parabens are not banned, their dosage is controlled by tests before any marketing on the market. But in view of the studies carried out, it is still better for your health to choose organic cosmetic products without paraben. For more information, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice.