Parabens – what is it, what is it used for in cosmetics | Why are parabens harmful?

The concept of “parabens” is familiar to everyone who uses cosmetics and carefully studies the composition indicated on the package. About the dangers and benefits of this cosmetic component, the dispute has not ceased for more than a decade. When purchasing a cream, lipstick or shampoo, we want to get an exceptionally healthy, environmentally friendly product. So what are parabens in cosmetics? Why do manufacturers add them? Are they really dangerous to humans? Let’s figure it out.

Parabens in cosmetics – what is it?

In cosmetic production, these chemical compounds began to be widely used in the middle of the last century. Their main task is antiseptic action. They prolong the life of the product, help to form a healthy microflora.

Parabens in cosmetics

It is a chemical compound derived from para-hydroxybenzoic acid. It should be noted that the acid itself is a natural substance. It contains:

  • In the composition of plants. Such as cranberries, lingonberries, vanilla red fruits, and even onions;
  • In bee products – royal jelly, propolis;
  • In the human body.

But parabens are a completely artificial product that is synthesized chemically.

Functions of parabens

Thanks to antiseptic agents, parabens are widely used in cosmetology, pharmaceuticals and the food industry. They:

  • Prevent the development of mold, fungi, bacteria in finished products;
  • Significantly extends the life of creams, tonics, lotions and other products;
  • Increase the effectiveness of cosmetics from natural ingredients;
  • Helps to better connect all the components.

So it is thanks to parabens that we can use our favorite beauty products without fear that they will quickly deteriorate. Moreover, unlike other preservatives, even their minimum amount is effective. About 80% of all manufactured cosmetic products contain various parabens or their combinations. What exactly? It depends on what kind of bacteria or microbes they have to deal with. Then why is the attitude towards them so ambiguous?

Properties of parabens in cosmetics: harm and benefit

Disputes about their effect on the human body began in the early 2000s. The initiator of the study was the microbiologist Philippa Darbre. She suggested that accumulating in the human body, parabens can contribute to the development of cancer. However, scientific evidence has not been provided.

Another group of opponents of parabens says that these substances destroy the human endocrine system, because they mimic the action of female sex hormones – estrogens. Therefore, their impact can have negative consequences for men, pregnant women, people with hormonal imbalances. Cosmetics with parabens are contraindicated for them. There is an opinion that parabens can cause allergies, skin irritation.

They even say that they cause global harm to the environment. They pollute rivers, concentrating in sewage. And then there is poisoning of the earth and even air.

However, many years of research and application practice have proven that the risk is minimal and not officially recognized. To ensure safety, international standards have been developed that establish the possible concentration of parabens in the product. In addition, in contact with water, they split. Therefore, even if they enter the human body, then in an altered form.

Preservatives prolong the life of cosmetics

Natural preservatives can be used instead of parabens. But, their number for the same efficiency is much larger. Parabens can be replaced with natural acids and essential oils. But often they are more pronounced allergens.

What types of cosmetics contain parabens?

Preservatives are needed where water is present. It is in it that bacteria and pathogenic microorganisms actively develop. Therefore, cosmetic products of liquid, cream and gel structure, which are produced on a water basis, cannot do without parabens. The list is quite impressive:

  • Tonal means (creams, primers, highlighters). Thanks to preservatives, the term of their use and quality is maintained up to 18 months;
  • Mascara. The brush, which is necessarily present, is actively in contact with the external environment. Therefore, even in the presence of parabens, manufacturers do not recommend using this remedy for more than 4-6 months;
  • Lipstick, lip gloss;
  • Creams for face and body skin care;
  • Roll-on deodorants;
  • Shampoos;
  • Liquid soap;
  • Tooth pastes;
  • Wet wipes.
Parabens in cosmetics

Most cosmetic products, without which we can no longer imagine our existence, are made with the addition of parabens.

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