The Skin We’re In – Part I: Parabens
This article was written by ME and featured on A Nation of Moms
In a society in which we are obsessed with how our skin looks, whether it is through the use of tanning beds, the sun, makeup, wrinkle removers, surgery, etc., we seem to be a bit self-consumed on our outward appearance without pausing to consider the inward effects of our obsession.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body consuming about 20 square feet, yet the one that we seem to be the least concerned with. It absorbs approximately 60% of the products that we put on it!
Look at the back of almost any body care product and you will probably notice parabens somewhere in the ingredient list (ie. Methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, etc.) Parabens are the most widely used preservatives used in body care and cosmetic products. They are found in lotions, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens, toothpaste and even found as food additives. Parabens are even found in infant products, such as Johnson & Johnson and Orajel toothpastes.
Although the intentions of parabens are good, as they are meant to deter microbial growth and to maintain the integrity of products from distribution to the shelf, they can have some potentially harmful effects.
Did you know that the FDA does not regulate cosmetic products? This frightening question leads to the fact that the cosmetics industry can use any ingredient they choose, outside of certain prohibited ingredients, and not have to announce it! With parabens being such a controversial issue as to the effects, the use is continued until proven otherwise.
In all fairness, there is no substantiated proof that parabens can cause cancer, but according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, parabens were found in the examination of breast tumors. Did the parabens cause the cancer? We are unsure, as the study did not continue to analyze that question.
With cancer rates on the rise, are you willing to take that risk? In our home, we do have some products that still contain parabens, but we have taken the first of many baby steps on becoming more green, beginning with the elimination of most products in our home that contain parabens. If you learn how to read labels, it really is easy to make this change with each purchase that you make at the store!
Next time, just look and think. Am I willing to risk the health of myself, my family, my child?