Over the last week or so, a few of my friends and I have been doing quite a lot of thinking and discussing the issue of Parabens. Where to begin? I guess it should be first things first, what are parabens?!
Well, I am not a scientist, but I did a little research in order to try and explain. By no means am I an expert on this stuff – I will just tell y’all what I know. The basics: parabens are a chemical that have been used in cosmetics and other commercial products as preservatives. They are extremely popular in just about all beauty products (body lotions, body washes, moisturizers, deodorants, soap, lipstick, etc.) because they are rather ‘inexpensive’ and they do a good job preserving the products so that they can stay on the store shelves and in your homes for a long period of time.
What’s the problem, you ask? (that is what my friends and I were wondering, too) Well, here’s the thing – it is not 100% definite that there is a problem. But in recent years, there have been studies showing that some breast cancer tumors have had high amounts of paraben in them. In one study in the UK 18 out of 20 breast cancer tumors had high amounts of parabens within the masses. The parabens could be tracked back to what are most likely to be skin products. One characteristic of parabens is that it can mimic estrogen in the body, which can possibly lead to breast cancer. A lot of people think there is a direct link to breast cancer and estrogen, but that is also still up for debate. There was at least one study done that suggested that paraben levels could possibly build up in skin tissue over time, which could lead to higher levels (and this could be a stretch) that could possibly be associated with cases of breast cancer.
What to look for if you are wondering if your products have parabens in them. Here are the six most commonly used forms of paraben are Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, p-Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, n-Butylparaben and Benzylparaben. I looked at my products that I use on a daily basis, and I was really sad to see that some of my favorite products had parabens in them.
Here are some of my favorite products that use parabens – you might use them, too:
Nivea (I love their body moisturizer!)
Eucerin (I use their body moisturizer during the day especially on my arms because it has SPF 15.)
Bumble and Bumble shampoos and conditioners (this one truly broke my heart because I heart this stuff more than anything!)
One of my friends has been really enthusiastic about replacing all of her products with paraben free things. Another friend that is a doctor told me the most concerning products that one could replace are body and face moisturizers because those products stay on your skin all day, and get absorbed in to your skin tissue. I have to say, hearing that was slightly concerning to me since all of my moisturizers had parabens in them. I use these products a lot – usually twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening – I have really dry skin).
Another topic of discussion was the fact that a lot of deodorants contain parabens. There are scientists out there that think it is possible that the parabens that are in deoderants could possibly migrate from the underarm area to the breast quite easily. Yikes.
My Saturday project for the day was to go out and take a look around. What products could I actually find to replace my paraben products?? Could I find things that weren’t too expensive? What are the options out there?
After waking up at 7:30 this morning (what!? It is Saturday!) and going for a six mile bike ride with my friend Tim, I did an hour of yard work in the front and back yards with my mom. I showered and then started my errands. After a quick trip to Dunkin’ Donuts (iced coffee with milk, no sugar – it was the best!) and the bank, I went to Target.
I really was not sure what I would find at Target, and if I would have any luck finding things that are paraben free. (here’s another fact – if you see something that is ‘organic’ – it does not necessarily mean it is paraben free, making this shopping trip even more challenging!) I quickly found my iPhone super helpful. For a few products that I was not 100% sure of, I quickly googled if they were paraben free. I was really happily surprised to see that Target had a good amount of options on the shelves! Here are a few things that I picked up today:
Mrs. Meyers hand soap in lavendar and basil scents (they smell so beautiful!)
Say Yes to Carrots SPF 15 facial lotion
St. Ives body lotion and body wash
Burts Bees night time facial moisturizer
Another thing I really wanted to think of replacing is my lipstick. I picked up a moisturizing lip color from both Burts and Say Yes to Carrots.
Here are some other products that are paraben free:
EO (right now I have a lavender conditioner from this company – they can be expensive, but I found a big bottle of it at TJ Max last weekend!)
Whole Foods shampoos and conditioners (I have a shampoo from WF right now and I really like it)
Tom’s of Maine deodorants are paraben and aluminum free, I have always loved Tom’s of Maine and I still use their deodorants.
I really do not know what to say about parabens, but since the issue has been on my mind lately, I figured I would write a little about it. When I was in high school and college, I was all about all natural beauty products, and some time after college I sort of forgot how important this used to be to me. I think there are so many issues with products that we use, and I am sure at some point there will be another ‘hot topic’ and we will re-examine the products we use once again.
But as I pointed out to one of my friends during one of our many conversations about this topic: if we are paying so much attention to the types of food we are eating, I guess we should be paying attention to the types of products we are washing and moisturizing our bodies with – because in a lot of cases this stuff is getting absorbed into our bodies as well.
In the coming days I will keep my eyes out for more products, and if there is something I really love I will let y’all know.
For further reading, feel free to check out the following articles: