What Are Parabens?
Chances are by now you may have heard the name paraben pop up when searching for new cosmetics or skin care products but like many may be uncertain as to what this ingredient is and what it may do.
Parabens are a commonly used ingredient found in cosmetics, skin care and hygiene products used to preserve the integrity of the formula and prevent bacterial and fungal development. While parabens do a fantastic job of warding off pesky, unhealthy growths they have caught a bad reputation in the last decade with mixed claims of health risks and possible links to cancer causing many to avoid these powerful additives altogether.
Penny For Your Thoughts?
This controversy surrounding parabens reminded me of a childhood memory that seemed all too similar. At the very wise age of ten, I was enthralled in a high-stakes game of hide and seek with my siblings when I happened upon a penny that I wanted to save for later! Pocketless, I determined that I would hold the penny in my mouth until I could safely hide it away in my drawer. Unfortunately as I popped the penny in my mouth, my brother came bursting in with a roar causing me to swallow the coppery coin.
Concern and curiosity crept in and I later on I asked my mom: “What happens if someone swallows a penny?” She then informed me that surgery would be needed, as the copper would react to one’s stomach acid and cause corrosion, poisoning and other issues.
For three years I kept my coin consumption a secret fearing surgery and even panicked at the passing of funeral homes and cemeteries certain of my impending doom until finally one day I became ill. After several days of agony, my mom took me to the doctor and discovered I had appendicitis and needed surgery alas. As I recovered I at last had peace knowing I was finally free of the penny dissolving inside of me
Looking at it today with adult eyes, I feel certain of two things. The first being that while she absolutely meant well, my mother had simply passed on inaccurate information she had once heard without actually knowing the validity of the claim. And secondly, that the surgery was probably a direct result of my insistent worry and negative thoughts.
The Hype About Parabens: Fact or Fiction?
As with this childhood tale, the story is the same for many of today’s product and ingredient reputations and the health hazards that spread about them. Lacking any actual proof or factuality, frightening health risks seem to spread like wild-fire without many questioning their validity. Unfortunately, parabens had fallen victim to this rumour trap as well after a 2004 study was widely spread and misinterpreted to have claimed a link between breast cancer and the effective preservative.
Since the damaging misunderstanding, it has been determined that no link to cancer and parabens has ever been discovered and the doctor who conducted the research in the 2004 study even released a statement stating, “No claim was made that the presence of parabens had caused the breast cancers.”
Even with these clarifications and new factual evidence disproving the misunderstanding this has not stop the rumour mill from spinning or cosmetic and skincare companies from capitalizing off of the myth. Many brands and products still promote and market their paraben-free formulas as key selling points to their products quality.
In truth, parabens are a natural occurrence found in olives, blueberries, carrots and more which have been consumed for centuries. Parabens are also found in wine and juices as well and are excellent at their jobs in both nature and synthesized formulas with their presence found in up to 80% of cosmetic products today.
Don’t Be Fooled!
We all strive to pamper and nurture our bodies with only the best and safest products but at times this appears almost impossible to determine. With tricky marketing ploys and fear-driven, click-bait articles throwing around the latest, poorly researched accusations it’s easy to become overwhelmed and misguided when shopping today.
Be sure to always fact check the latest health hazard claims and avoid companies who use fear as a selling point for their products and ingredients.
As the skincare formulator for Avesence®, I am committed to manufacturing high-end products that are healthy and effective while providing quality, scientifically-backed information. Avesence is a brand that you can trust with true transparency and well documented formula research. No ploys or gimmicks, simply proven skincare luxury!