A Parable of Parabens
A toxic family that could be
poisoning your skin!
If you are becoming a bit of a 'toxic-chemical-spotter' then 'parabens' will no doubt be on your hit-list of 'key-chemicals-to-avoid'.
It is simply astounding that so many common products - bought off-the-shelf by unsuspecting customers still contain these chemicals that now clearly have such a bad reputation.
The paraben family - Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Butylparaben and Propylparaben - are often found 'hanging-around' together - in the heart of the chemical cocktails that adulterate many of our skincare, bodycare and hair care products.
Because personal care products - such as shave gels, body lotions, hand cremes, even toothpaste as well as many others - often contain oils and other potential 'perishable' ingredients, parabens are a commonplace preservative used to extend a products shelf-life.
The problem is though that these synthetic chemicals - which, for the 'chemistry scholars' amongst us are actually esters of hydroxybenzoic acid - are actually rather nasty!
The paraben family have all been known to cause allergic reactions in certain sensitive individuals. Indeed - where laboratories have undertaken 'animal testing' (which, naturally we do not condone) parabens have been shown to be clearly 'toxic' if ingested.
As far as humans go - the ongoing 'chemistry experiment' that we all partake in whenever we use chemical-based personal care products - has led to the conclusion that parabens can act as 'endocrine disrupters'.
That is to say that any of the paraben quartet may interrupt the working of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a system of glands that occur throughout the body, which release important hormones to regulate and control certain important functions. These functions include growth, sexual development, and the production of sperm in males, and ova in females.
The endocrine glands include: hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal gland, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenal, ovary, and testis. Disruption of the crucial functions of these glands can lead to many, varied health problems. It is for instance recognized that fertility in the general population of Western countries - like the UK and US has fallen dramatically in recent years. Just how much this problem has been contributed to by the pervasive use of parabens is impossible to calculate...but it is simple to say...we should ALL avoid using products that contain this unpleasant family of chemicals!
As if further evidence was needed that parabens are the sort of family you don't want in the neighborhood of your bathroom. They have also been shown to trigger contact dermatitis - that unpleasant, uncomfortable and visually distressing condition of the skin that can be so difficult to 'settle' and which can flare-up so easily when provoked by such as these chemical nasties!
Parabens, through the evidence of finding them in tumour biopsies, have also been implicated in possibly increasing the risk of breast cancer...
All-in-all...the message is...if you see one or more of the family of parabens hanging around in your usual personal care products..."bin them"... and change to 100% natural, and preferably certified products...which are SURE to be chemical free!