What Are Parabens And Why Should You Avoid Them?

  1. Home
  2. Dermatology

What Are Parabens And Why Should You Avoid Them?

Dr. Nivedita Dadu, one of the top Delhi-based dermatologists, will explain everything about Paraben in this article.

What Are Parabens And Why Should You Avoid Them?

Image Source: Dinodia

How many of you look for Paraben-free products while shopping for cosmetics? Those who do so, do you know what Paraben actually is and what it does, or are you just catching up with the trend? If you don’t, then we have got you covered. 

What is it, why you should use Paraben-free products, and what are its alternatives?

What is Paraben?

Paraben is a chemical that is often used as a preservative in cosmetics to increase their shelf life. It is added to many of your cosmetic products including moisturisers to reduce microbial activity. In short, if paraben is added to any product, bacteria or fungus can’t grow in it easily. The most commonly used parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. In most cosmetic products, more than one paraben is used.

Why to use paraben-free products?

Though using parabens in small amounts does not pose a significant health risk to us, it may prove disastrous if used at more than a certain level. Several studies conducted on Parabens have suggested the same.

  1. According to a few studies, products that contain Parabens cause certain negative impacts on our bodies. This includes affecting our endocrine system, lowering the sperm count in males, and causing breast cancer in females.
  2. A few others say that if only a small percentage of paraben is present in a product, then there are no chances of it causing cancer.
  3. Some studies say that Parabens don’t get used in our body once they are metabolised as they are excreted. So, when they never accumulate in our bodies, how can they be harmful to us?
  4. Studies have also proved that there are many food products that have parabens in them like strawberries, blueberries, olives, and grapes.

Through all these studies, it’s quite evident that if the concentration of paraben in our cosmetic products is higher, it can badly affect our health.

Alternatives to Paraben

Parabens have an important role to play in cosmetics i.e. to increase their shelf life. So, if parabens are not to be used in these products, what are the alternatives that are not just free from paraben's side effects but also increase the longevity of the product? A few of them are:

  1. Rosemary oil
  2. Neem oil
  3. Vitamin E oil
  4. Basil extract
  5. Grapefruit

Today many companies claim that they use the above ingredients in their cosmetic products. They are natural, ayurvedic, and herbal and play a little role as paraben without having any side effects.

Cons of Paraben-Free Products

Though the companies might be using these natural and herbal ingredients, they too have limitations. Dr. Nivedita Dadu names a few.

  1. These products do not have a good shelf life as compared to those containing parabens.
  2. These products can also cause allergies. Though they use natural ingredients, it doesn’t mean you can’t be allergic to them. They may be paraben-free but not good for your skin and cause sensitivity, allergy, and rashes.
  3. Greenwashing is another issue. It is a process of conveying false impressions or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound. Nowadays, many companies claim that their products are paraben-free to attract consumers, but they don’t disclose information about the ingredients used in place of parabens. It’s quite possible that they may be using other ingredients which are paraben-free but are equally harmful to your skin e.g. Formaldehyde.
  4. Many times, paraben-free products are not even available in good quality.

Next time, when you choose paraben-free cosmetics or other products, do check the ingredients. Make sure that in the name of paraben-free products, you don’t buy something which is more detrimental to your health.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.