Some of the most controversial skincare ingredients on the market today are parabens. While the FDA insists that they are safe, various studies suggest that these commonplace preservatives could threaten our health.
Proponents for the use of parabens maintain that there is no valid evidence to prove they are harmful in personal care products. In theory, they will not harm the body in tiny amounts, even though larger quantities of these substances could prove toxic. Since cosmetics only contain very small amounts of parabens as preservatives, they shouldn’t cause any problem.
On the other hand, some research suggests that prolonged exposure to topical parabens (such as those found in skin cream, lipstick, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) can disrupt hormone function and may even increase chances of developing breast cancer. This link is attributed to the fact that parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells, potentially causing a hormonal imbalance called endocrine toxicity.
The Right Answer?
The truth is, until more concrete evidence can prove a definite health threat, the FDA will continue to support the use of parabens in most mainstream personal care products. Many consumers choose to play it safe however, and opt for only paraben-free cosmetic and skin care lines.