Parabens – Skincare’s biggest bad guy

In a world where we are increasingly aware of what we eat, it’s no surprise that we are becoming more aware of the ingredients in our skincare and what we put on our face. But which product ingredients are good and which are bad? Anyone who’s “skincare-aware” will recognise one of the biggest names on the naughty list: parabens.

What are Parabens? They are a type of preservative, first introduced in the 1950s, used to prolong shelf life in many health and beauty products like deodorants, toothpastes, shampoos, conditioners, body lotions and makeups by preventing the growth of mould and bacteria within them. Parabens allow products to survive for months, even years, in our bathrooms but when you use these products they can also enter your body through your skin.

Parabens are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen. Excess exposure to something called xeonestrogens (man-made chemicals like parabens) increases the fat storing form of estrogen. That means your expensive moisturisers could actually be making you fatter! In addition Too much estrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumours, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

After checking the ingredients of the products in my bathroom I found that almost all of them had some form of paraben. I think its unrealistic to be totally ‘paraben-free’ – I tried paraben free deodorant once and I’m convinced I would have smelt better wearing nothing – disaster! Brands such as kiehl’s have a range of products ranging from shampoos & conditioners to moisturisers that are all paragon free. If that’s out of you budget then I’ve found plain old coconut oil works for almost anything!