Parabens In Skincare, Why You Should Avoid Them.
When it comes to personal care products, most people assume that if it’s on the shelf, it’s safe to use. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Many products, including some shaving creams, contain harmful ingredients that can have negative effects on our health; especially if like me you suffer from particularly sensitive skin! One such group of ingredients is parabens, which are commonly used as preservatives in skincare products. In this article, we’ll explore why you should avoid parabens in skincare products, and what you can do to protect yourself.
What are Parabens?
Parabens are a group of synthetic chemicals that are used as preservatives in many personal care products, including shaving creams. They work by preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi, which can cause products to spoil and become unsafe for use. Parabens are inexpensive and effective, which is why they are so widely used in the industry.
Why Should You Avoid Parabens in Skincare Products?
While parabens are effective at preserving personal care products, they are not without their drawbacks. One major concern is their potential to disrupt hormones in the body. Studies have found that parabens can mimic the activity of oestrogen in the body, which can lead to hormonal imbalances. This is particularly concerning for women, as exposure to oestrogen-mimicking chemicals has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Parabens have also been linked to skin irritation and allergic reactions, which is not something you want in a shaving cream. Some people may be more sensitive to parabens than others, and repeated exposure can lead to skin inflammation and other issues. This was something I wanted to avoid when developing Pure Shave Shaving Cream.
Authors Note: The good news is that many skincare companies have been phasing out the use of parabens in their products due to concerns about their potential health risks.
Names of Parabens to Avoid?
If you’re looking to avoid parabens in your personal care products, it’s important to know what to look for. Here are some of the most common parabens used in skincare products and their trade names:
This is commonly used in personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. It may also be listed on labels as E209.
Phenylparaben is widely used in personal products such as moisturisers, sunscreens, and shampoos. It may also be listed on labels as E214.
This paraben is commonly used in skincare products such as facial cleansers, toners, and lotions. It may also be listed on labels as E216.
Propylparaben is used in personal care products such as makeup, moisturisers, and shampoos. It may also be listed on labels as propyl-p-hydroxybenzoate or E216.
This ingredient is used in personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. It may also be listed on labels as methyl-p-hydroxybenzoate or E218.
Mainly used in personal care products such as moisturisers, sunscreens, and shampoos. It may also be listed on labels as ethyl-p-hydroxybenzoate or E214.
This paraben is commonly used in personal care products such as facial cleansers, toners, and lotions. It may also be listed on labels as butyl-p-hydroxybenzoate, butyl ester, or E209
In the EU, parabens are regulated under the Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009, and as a result are enforced in the UK by the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013, which sets out the safety requirements for cosmetic products. The regulation includes a list of prohibited and restricted substances, which includes some parabens. Specifically, the use of butylparaben, propylparaben, and isopropylparaben are restricted to a maximum concentration of 0.14% when used individually or in combination in cosmetic products.
There is ongoing debate and research into the safety of parabens, and some organisations and individuals have raised concerns about their potential health effects. However, the current scientific consensus is that parabens can be used safely in cosmetic products at the concentrations allowed under EU and UK regulations.
Authors Note: It’s worth noting that not all personal care products that contain parabens will list them by name. Some products may use alternative names or simply list “preservatives” on the label. If you’re unsure whether a product contains parabens, it’s a good idea to check with the manufacturer or do some research online.
To avoid exposure to parabens, it’s important to read labels carefully and look for products that are labeled as “paraben-free” In addition to parabens, it’s also a good idea to avoid other harmful chemicals that may be found in personal care products, such as phthalates, formaldehyde, and synthetic fragrances. By choosing natural and organic personal care products, you can help protect your health and the environment.
Other chemicals to avoid
- Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a common preservative that is used in personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. It may also be listed on labels as formalin, methanal, or methylene oxide. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.
- Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are used to make plastics more flexible and are often found in personal care products such as fragrances, lotions, and hair care products. They may also be listed on labels as DEP, DBP, or DEHP. Phthalates have been linked to hormonal disruptions, birth defects, and reproductive problems.
- Triclosan: Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent that is used in many personal care products, including soaps, hand sanitisers, and toothpaste. It may also be listed on labels as Microban or Irgasan. Triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption and may contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): MIT is a preservative that is commonly used in personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. It may also be listed on labels as Kathon CG or Neolone. MIT has been linked to skin irritation and allergic reactions.
- Benzalkonium chloride: Benzalkonium chloride is a preservative that is commonly used in personal care products such as shampoos and conditioners. It may also be listed on labels as BZK or Zephiran. Benzalkonium chloride has been linked to skin irritation and allergic reactions.
When it comes to personal care products, it’s important to be a savvy consumer. Knowing what ingredients to avoid, such as parabens, can help you make informed decisions about the products you use on your skin. If you’re looking for a shaving cream that is free of parabens and other harmful chemicals, consider trying Pure Shave shaving cream. Our products are made with high-quality, natural ingredients that are gentle on your skin and effective at helping you achieve a smooth, close shave.
Read our review in GQ Magazine.
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