Parabens are a type of preservatives that are used extensively in cosmetics for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. They are also commonly used in pharmaceutical products to put off bacteria growth. As far as the chemical classification of parabens is concerned, they are a chain of parahydroxybenzoates. In other words, parabens are esters derived from parahydroxybenzoic acid (also called 4-hydroxybenzoic acid). These compounds have been found to be effectual in a variety of formulas. Parabens as well as their salts are mainly used for their ability to thwart bacterial and fungal growth. Many shampoos, toothpastes, shaving gels, commercial moisturizers, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, personal lubricants, makeup items and spray tanning solutions commonly contain these compounds. Moreover, parabens are also found in various foods as additives.

It is practically difficult to avoid parabens as they are present in numerous and varied products. Many have been using this compound even without knowing about its presence in different products they use regularly. Nevertheless, some are of the view that keeping away from parabens will be beneficial for them, because this compound may be responsible for a number of health issues if they used or intake any product that contains this compound.

Parabens are not only very effectual preservatives, but also very inexpensive compared to others. Moreover, they have been in use for long time. Compared to various other natural preservatives like grapefruit seed extract, parabens are more effective and do not cause any adverse effects. These are some of the reasons why the use of this compound is so widespread in different products. Meanwhile, scientists have established that parabens do not have any direct link with cancer.

Despite the above discussed properties, it is really difficult to decide whether it is wise to avoid using parabens. In fact, some studies have suggested that parabens are not harmful, while some other studies have asserted that they are not safe for use. In order to take care of the puzzlement, people sometimes oft for the wrong advise that suggests that parabens are harmful. Therefore, such people usually avoid using products containing this compound. Though this is unfortunate, it is the reality.

At the same time, some experts have pointed out that once inside the body, parabens may, in fact, work like estrogen. Estrogen occurs naturally in our body, but some studies have linked the compound to breast cancer. As it is, many women are already very uncomfortable with using any substance that may imitate estrogen inside their bodies. Such chemicals may even result in problems related to the growth of male reproductive system, especially when products containing them are used on male infants.

Unlike many other natural preservatives, parabens are not expensive. Moreover, these compounds are known to be highly effectual as preservatives. Probably, these are the main reasons for its widespread use as preservatives in a variety of products. Companies that use parabens as preservatives in their products also claim that they do not come with any potential harmful effects and, hence, are safe for use by almost everyone. Though some studies suggest that parabens are linked to cancer. However, the fact remains that parabens may be responsible for some other less serious, less alarming health problems. For instance, some people have allergic reactions when they use products containing parabens and they may even experience rashes when they use such products.

Many people prefer to avoid using products containing parabens. For such people, it may be frustrating to find products that are paraben-free. Then again, there are several consumers who habitually purchase products that do not contain any preservative, believing that they have long shelf lives. Contrarily, such products may only last for just a couple of weeks. There are other products that contain just natural preservatives, but their shelf life may be even shorter - less than the most favourable shelf lives expected. What is worse is that such products may be very expensive only because they contain all-natural ingredients.

Any individual who wants to stay away from parabens ought to look for products with "paraben-free" labels. In addition, they should watchfully go through the labels of the products to ensure that they do not contain parabens. For instance, such people should look out for products containing ethylparaben and propylparaben - these chemicals are also widely employed as preservatives. Moreover, they should also stay away from products containing a chemical called butylparaben, which is another variety of paraben and is widely used as its substitute for preserving foods and other substances.

People with sensitive skin should try to avoid using products containing parabens, as these chemicals are likely to cause skin irritation, particularly in infants and children. Aside from skin irritations, use of parabens may also result in some other more serious health issues like allergic reactions, dermatitis and rosacea. Moreover, in some cases these chemicals have also been linked to immunotoxicity, premature commencement of puberty in girls, breast cancer development and premature skin aging. Although parabens are widely popular and used extensively in a variety of products, ideally one should stay away from these chemicals because there are several good reasons for not using them. Most importantly, science is yet to come to a conclusion regarding the potential side effects of using parabens on one's health.

Which products contain parabens?

As discussed in the beginning of this article, you will find parabens in various different types of beauty products, especially cosmetics, lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners and skin care products. A variety of chap sticks contains a chemical called petrolatum, which is very akin to parabens. This might make some people wonder whether or not chap sticks are harmful for your health. Several personal hygiene products also contain petrolatum. Such products include toothpaste, shaving cream and deodorant. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to avoid parabens, because these chemicals are listed in numerous products meant for personal care.

In addition, you may also find parabens in cosmetics, sunscreens, mascaras and various anti-aging serums. Therefore, when you go for shopping, especially personal care items, you should carefully go through the labels of all the products you want to purchase with a view to examine whether they contain any chemical that may prove to be harmful for your health - for instance butylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben and polyparaben. Actually all these chemicals are different varieties of parabens. Even if you find any of the products already at your home containing any of the above chemicals, it is advisable that you should discard them, especially healthcare products and cosmetics. This is primarily because all such products may be contaminated with so-called preservatives that are potentially harmful for your health. However, there is good news for people looking for genuine organic products that can be used for all purposes, including as a cleanser, skin moisturizer, anti-aging cream, hair conditioner and other such healthcare products. Organic argan oil is one such product that can be safely used for all the above mentioned purposes.

What does "paraben free" denote?

When any product comes with a label that reads "paraben free", it denotes that it does not enclose any of the compounds known as parabens. Although it is somewhat difficult to find such products, there is no reason to panic. You may of course find some toiletries on the market that really do not enclose parabens. There are many companies that do not depend on parabens for their products. Instead, many such companies use essential oils, vitamins as well as botanical extracts in their skin care products as natural preservatives. Such natural products possess anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal properties like parabens and also offer several health benefits to the skin. Moreover, the shelf life of skin care products that contain all natural ingredients is also great and they can easily be used for a year after their manufacturing date.

These all-natural products also do not contain any chemical that can be potentially harmful. The moot question here is why more and more major companies manufacturing skin care products don't use such natural preservatives. Perhaps, the answer to this question is related to the cost of production. Usually, the natural elements cost more compared to their artificial substitutes and this is the primary reason why you have to pay much more for products containing all natural ingredients. While many people oft for cheaper products on the market, there are others who cannot afford the expensive all-natural products. This explains the whole truth.

Benefits of using skin care products without parabens

Skin care products that do not contain any parabens are relatively safe for use as they do not result in any potential harmful effects caused by these synthetic preservatives. Using sunscreen products that do not have paraben makes the functioning of the body optimal and, at the same time, does not have any negative impact on the endocrine or reproductive systems. Paraben free products also do not cause any skin irritation. On the other hand, use of products containing this preservative often results in skin irritations.

It is worth mentioning here that no natural skin care products contain parabens and hence, they really possess the potential to restore to health dry, damaged or irritated skin. Use of such products keeps your skin moisturized and fresh. Moreover, using natural skin care items can help in diminishing wrinkles and also shield your skin from various types of damages.

Usually, skin care products without paraben content are non-greasy and light and come with pleasing aromas, which are not overpowering. Such natural products are never nauseating.


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