What Are They:
Parabens have been widely used in products to prevent bacteria growth
since the 1950s. “About 85 percent of cosmetics have
them,” says Arthur Rich, Ph.D., a cosmetic
chemist in Chestnut Ridge, New York. “They’re inexpensive and
effective.” New York
City dermatologist Fran E. Cook-Bolden
explains, “Parabens have a long history of safe use, and that’s why
New preservatives have less of a proven track
record.” In fact, typically, more than one form of the ingredient is
a product. The most common are butylparaben,
methylparaben, and propylparaben. Over the last few years, however, in
to customer concerns, many brands have
started to manufacture (and label) paraben-free products, including
shampoos, scrubs, and more.
How They Work:
In the 1990s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens―agents that mimic
estrogen in the body. “Estrogen disruption” has been linked
to breast cancer and reproductive issues. And
in 2004 British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., found
in malignant breast tumors. As a result,
experts in many countries are recommending limits on paraben levels in
What’s more, watchdog organizations worry
that if parabens can be stored in the body, over time they could have a
effect and pose a health risk.
The Bottom Line:
There’s reason to be mindful, but no reason to have an all-consuming
concern about these chemicals. If it helps you rest easy,
use a paraben-free body lotion (which coats a
large area of skin). Labels that list the
preservatives as one of the last four ingredients also indicate that the
are present in very small amounts, says
Andrea Kane, editor of Theorganicbeautyexpert.com.
Information courtesy of www.realsimple.com.
*Here at The Spa at the Mount Auburn Club we offer a large variety of products that are paraben free. For more info please stop by the desk or ask your Skin Therapist during your next treatment.