Are Parabens Safe?

I am totally confused as to whether Parabens are a safety issue or not. According to the internet on many pages it says it is connected to cancer and in particular breast cancer, however, on further investigation it seems that no one yet has come up with any proper scientific evidence that parabens in cosmetics are not safe. Do you have such evidence?

Our Reply:

I understand, it can be very confusing to sort through a lot of information online. Ultimately, we need to consult both the research evidence and also our own experience and our intuition about what are the right choices for us.

The other thing that is confusing is that each of our bodies react differently to toxins in products. Some people have reactions, others do not. For example, some people smoke and eat many unhealthy foods and live well into their 90's or later, regardless of what scientific research may say.

A while back I looked into some of the research on the effect of parabens, and some of that is referenced here on the cosmetics database. This is by no means a perfect resource but is a useful starting point.

Some of the research specifically related to cancer is noted here

The PubMed database referenced there is also a useful starting place.

There are many competing interests that are at work in the cosmetics industry, and so all research needs to be examined within it's larger context, for example who has funded that research, what methods were used to answer the questions, and what kind of biases the researchers carried with them into the project.

I am not a professional researcher, just a person with sensitive skin, and so I have not pursued the scientific end of things in detail. Because of my own reactivity to so many irritants, and my own experience of seeing improvements in using safer products, I have chosen to use products which contain ingredients that are not associated with some of these potential concerns or risks that seem to be present with parabens.

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May 06, 2010
The Truth About Parabens
by: She All Natural Skin Care

Due to the continued debate many large cosmetics manufacturers are removing parabens from their ingredient list. The downside to this however is that they are replacing paraben preservatives with other questionable ones, such as DMDM Hydantoin.

As the educated consumer continues to seek safer and more natural alternatives the race is on to find that perfect preservative. The reasons are countless and calls for another blog.

May 06, 2010
by: Bronwen Thompson

Seeing as our skin is the largest organ in the body and anything we put on our skin is absorbed and gets into our blood stream; I feel that whether we have sensitive skin or not, we should exercise extreme caution about putting toxic chemicals on our skin. I started looking more carefully at the ingredients in cosmetics after I had an accident and sustained a brain injury. I found a lot of information on Parabens, especially Parabens in shampoos and how they can effect the brain. Parabens also effect our hormonal system and one of the theories why we are seeing so many cases of breast cancer in healthy women these days is being put down to the parabens and aluminum that are used in the production of deodorants. Avoiding Parabens is relatively easy with the wide range of natural cosmetics on the market - here in the UK most manufacturers of natural cosmetics usually state that their products are Paraben free.

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