Parabens in Lotion: The Slippery Truth

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Lotions in medicine cabinetI have always considered myself to live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I eat vegetables, I exercise regularly and drink one cup of coffee a day. I have also considered my beauty regimen to be pretty low maintenance. I take a shower, apply body lotion afterward and face cream. Then I usually call it a day. If I’m headed out somewhere special, I may put on a little make-up, nothing too fancy. So, imagine my surprise when I started learning about harmful chemicals being used as ingredients in most of my personal care products. There I am going about my daily life thinking I’m doing the best for not only myself, but my family (husband and two little girls), only to find out that the personal care products I’m using may be causing more harm than good, especially in the long run.

Parabens and Other Chemicals in Personal Care Products

There are thousands of chemicals in your personal care products, everything from parabens in lotion to phthalates in nail polish to oxybenzone in sunscreen, the list goes on and on. So how can one tell which are harmful and which are not? It’s not that easy because 80% of ingredients have never been tested for safety. Recently we have witnessed a growing concern regarding the use of parabens.

What Are Parabens

One can find parabens in lotions, shampoos, toothpastes, lipsticks, etc. They have been around since the 1950’s and are used to help stop the growth of bacteria in products that contain water. They are the most widely used form of preservative in cosmetic products. But, if a product is oil-based, then there is no need for any form of paraben. So, I ask, why are they being used in so many products?

According to the Breast Cancer Fund’s website, parabens are found in nearly all urine samples from adults living in the United States, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds. The NHANES study which was conducted in 2010, also found that both adolescent and adult women had higher levels of two types of parabens in their urine than their male counterparts in the same age groups. These two offending types are: methylparaben and propylparaben. So basically, we have all been exposed to parabens in one form or another, and women at a higher level than men. There is no way of getting around them entirely in modern American life.

Health Risks Associated with Parabens

Just how serious of a health risk is being exposed to parabens on a regular basis for humans? A study was conducted in the UK between 2005-2008 where 20 different breast tumors were taken and reviewed from mastectomies. Average levels of 20 nanograms/gram of parabens were detected in a small sample of those 20 tumors. The conclusion of the study was that there may be a link between paraben exposure and breast cancer. Many people in the scientific community believe that while the findings were not conclusive enough to provide a definite link between parabens and breast cancer, more studies need to be done in order to determine what exactly are the health implications, especially with long-term exposure.

Are Parabens in Your Lotion?

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If you are concerned that parabens may be used in your lotion and other personal care products, it’s relatively easy to find them in the ingredients list because they usually contain the word, “paraben”. Common names for various forms of this concerning ingredient include propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben, or butylparaben. A lot of companies have started voluntarily removing parabens in lotions, shampoos, face cleansers and other products because of an increased level of concern among consumers. And in some instances these companies have even started advertising, “paraben-free” on their packaging. These marketing efforts are definitely making it easier on consumers who may not have time or patience to read ingredient labels.

Paraben-Free Lotion & Other Safe Personal Care Products

If you are looking for safer, more natural personal care products that promise to be paraben-free as well as free of many other harmful chemicals, contact me to learn more about Beautycounter. It is a great line of products that can help you and your family live a safer, cleaner life.

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