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If you want to know about what parabens are, why you need to avoid them and learn tips on what you need to know before shopping natural skin care products, just read on. I am sure after you read this article it will be easier for you to make an informed choice on what products to purchase.
First of all, what are parabens?
Parabens are chemicals that are commonly added to cosmetic products because of their anti fungal and antimicrobial properties, which means they act as preservatives. They can be found in shampoos, skin moisturizers and lotions, shaving gels, deodorants but also in some pharmaceutical products, spray tanners, makeup as well as toothpaste. In addition, they can also be used as food additives.
Most oftenly four different types of parabens are used in cosmetics: methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl. They are the common ones, but there are others, too.
- Methylparaben and Ethylparaben - these parabens are added to both cosmetics and foodstuffs during the manufacturing process to stop bacterial formation.
- Propylparaben -these parabens are used in cosmetic products that are water-based (instead of oil-based) in their synthetic form. This paraben is used to keep the water from separating or breaking out of solution from the other ingredients.
- Butylparaben - this type of parabens is used specifically to keep fungus and mold from appearing or growing in cosmetics.
All commercially used parabens are synthetically produced, although some are identical to natural ones, like propylparaben.
Why are they being used?
There are a two key reasons for why parabens are so popular in the cosmetic industry. First of all, they are indeed very efficient as preservatives. The other key reason is that they are very cheap.
But are they safe?
Parabens are becoming increasingly controversial as new research is being released: parabens (mainly methylparaben and ethylparaben) have in fact been linked to cancer. Another study showed these parabens, in the presence of UV rays from sunlight, to cause DNA damage. Yet other studies say propylparaben may have a negative effect on the male reproductive system. They also seem to have the ability to mimic estrogen (which is a hormone known to play a part in the development of breast cancer.)
Even butylparaben does not get a clean reputation: when used in small amounts, it seems to be relatively safe to use. However, in higher quantities, it can cause skin irritation and may contribute towards reproductive issues. These findings give great cause for concern, even though parabens have not been proven to be the cause of cancer by any studies directly.
The fact is: while current studies do not say parabens are causing cancer, tumors, reproductive issues and allergies, neither do any of these studies demonstrate that parabens are NOT the culprit or state clearly that parabens are perfectly safe. Effectively that means this much: the long-term health effects of exposure to parabens are still not completely known to science.
Paraben free skin care brands and paraben free cosmetics in general are therefore a safer choice.
Stay Safe With Natural Skin Care
When looking for paraben free skin care brands or products, make sure that you avoid other harmful ingredients like mineral oil, dioxanes, fragrances and alcohol as well. It won't help you much avoiding one bad guy when there are so many others out there too, and some like dioxanes or aluminum salts are considered to be much more dangerous than parabens!
The best tip I can give you when shopping for paraben free skin care is to look for a completely natural products. That way you can be sure no suspicious chemicals get to your skin! Make sure not to believe fancy brands claiming to be natural but really research the brand and the ingredients it uses in its products to make sure the "natural" part is not just advertising and image polishing hype.
What To Use Instead of Parabens?
Most 100% natural skincare products use either no preservatives, which makes their shelf life rather short, or they use natural vitamin E, which is not just a preservative but also very nourishing to your skin as well. It can even reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and also helps prevent the appearance of age spots on the skin. It's very beneficial to use natural skincare with natural vitamin E in it. Beware: it's often labeled "tocopherol" - but so is synthetic vitamin E! Make sure when you do your research that it's really natural vitamin E, as it is much more effective than it's synthetic version.
Whatever you do, look for proven, effective ingredients. Any skin care product without the nasties I mentioned previously will be better than one with them, but why not give your skin the best it can have and use skincare that really helps your skin rejuvenate and feel absolutely wonderful. Try products that contain all-natural oils such as moringa oil or grape seed oil to mention a few. For a rejuvenating effect try products with DermCom.
The brand I recommend is called Xtend-Life and you can check out their natural skin care brand here. They have this new Kanapa™ blend of natural ingredients, which is a unique blend of eight plant based substances designed deeply nourish your skin - safely and completely naturally.
Natural paraben free skin care is definitely worth it, so take a little time to research the market to find the best paraben skin care brand for you, and you can enjoy a healthy and youthful skin without any side-effects on your health.