Parabens are the most commonly used form of preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products. They can be found in everything from deodorant, soap and shampoo to moisturizers and shaving cream.
From a science standpoint, parabens are esters (a compound formed from acid and alcohol) and p-hydroxybenoic acid. The FDA concludes that the most commonly used parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
Why Are Parabens Used?
Parabens extend the shelf life of products and prevent bacteria growth and fungi. You might think that this is a good thing, right? The answer is no. Afterall, who wants to put mold on their skin?
Extending shelf life also sounds like a good thing, but how long is too long? Most department store brands are required to have a minimum of a 7-year shelf life! That is a long time of sitting around in a warehouse until the consumer buys it at a counter to take it home. Once opened, there is a POA (period after opening) to consider and that is usually 24 months.
All of those preservatives are just “additives”, meaning none of them have to do with the important active ingredients that you’re looking for in the first place. Did I mention fragrance yet? Well, with all of those extra ingredients to prolong years of shelf life, a fragrance is often necessary to mask those. Guess what the number one skin irritant is? Yes, you guessed it.
Is There A Cancer Link?
Although the FDA still denies the link, some advocates against parabens believe there can be a promotion of breast cancer in certain women. Specifically propyl and butyl parabens. Those have been thought to disrupt hormones or mimic estrogen.v
Luckily, more and more brands are pulling parabens out of their products, but it’s still important to watch for toxic ingredients. Though the big companies pull out some ingredients marked as toxins, it’s important to ask yourself, “Are they replacing them with anything?”
How Is A “Clean” Brand Better?
It’s important to know ingredients, especially the bad kind. Use caution with “natural” or “organic” labels, as they may still have preservatives of a different kind. Some actually turn to formaldehyde. We always recommend doing a little homework before making that investment.
We are proud to use and distribute only the finest in organic skincare, Eminence Organics. The very minimal preservative ingredients they may use are plant-based and not dangerous. They also do not add any fragrances other than those that naturally occur from plant-based ingredients. Their products are made in small batches for the freshest shelf life and are intended to be used within 18 months after opening. We recommend our clients use their products within 6-12 months for maximum results and benefits.
Whether you choose The Wax Shop or another reliable and non-toxic brand, we believe it is important to know what you are putting on and into your body.