Parabens are a range of different chemicals used in around 90% of cosmetics to prolong the products shelf life. 60% of all products we put onto our skin are absorbed, and the concern is that when parabens have been absorbed they can often cause allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis.
The more worrying findings are that parabens including alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives are slightly estrogenic, they have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body. Not good news for pregnant women as it acts like an alien hormone, affecting the development of the foetus.
There is the argument that if parabens were proven to damage the body, then they would be banned. Large cosmetic companies are going to use parabens for as long as possible because they are the cheapest method. However extracts from plants, vegetables, fruit and sea kelp all perform as a natural alternative to prolonging the shelf life of cosmetic products. The use of these natural alternatives is becoming increasingly popular and there are brands who make luxury products that are a pleasure to use and paraben free. So my question to you is this – if there is a paraben free alternative, why not use it?