Parabens have been used in many hair and body care products to preserve the product and extend its shelf life. As we all know, beauty products contain ingredients that biodegrade so it's important to preserve them properly in order to prevent the product from growing bacteria and mold. But what you may have not known is that these artificial preservatives can do a lot more harm than good. The concern with these chemicals is that scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation.
What Products Contain Parabens?
Parabens are used in many leave-on and rinse-off products, especially those with a high water content like conditioners, which curly girls use on a daily basis. Their antimicrobial properties are most effective against fungi and gram positive bacteria. Moisturizers, face and skin cleaners, sunscreens, deodorants, shaving gels, toothpastes, makeup and many other products contain parabens. They are absorbed into the body through the skin, metabolized and excreted in urine and bile (Soni 2005). Daily use of a single product or multiple products that contain parabens leads to direct and continuous exposure to the chemical which in then as a direct influence on your health.
What To Look Out For?
Cosmetics typically contain mixtures of different types of parabens. The most commonly used six types are methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl- and isobutylparaben. The shorter-chain parabens, methyl- and ethyl-, are commonly used in combination, whereas butylparaben is often used alone.
Parabens seem to do more bad than good to our bodies. As curlies, we tend to use way more product on our hair than those with straight hair. This means we are increasing our exposure to parabens and inevitably increasing the risk of hormone disruption, infertility, or even cancer. There are other natural alternatives to preserve your beauty products, so in my humble opinion, parabens are not necessary. Are you willing to risk your health for amazing curls?