As you embark on unjunking your beauty routine, it can be overwhelming to figure out what you need to find and trash immediately... especially if you’re a beauty devotee and have cabinets full of every product under the sun! But here’s an easy one: parabens.
Parabens are prolific in cosmetic products, mouthwash, toothpaste, hand soaps, and more. They are included as a cheap and effective preservative, but they have a dark side. Parabens mimic estrogen and thus bind to estrogen receptors in our bodies. Exposure to excess estrogen has been linked to everything from early onset puberty to reproductive issues to breast cancer. Researchers have tested breast cancer tumors for the presence of parabens and found them. In fact, it appears that parabens have an affinity for making themselves at home in breast tissue, specifically, and a mixture of various parabens was shown to rapidly accelerate breast cancer cell growth in the lab. That’s a scary thought!
Considering the seriousness of the effects, it seems only logical that we should take every step possible to limit our exposure to endocrine disrupters in our daily routines. Denmark banned parabens in all products for infants way back in 2011. The European Union banned five parabens (isopropyl-, isobutyl-, phenyl-, benzoyl-, and pentyl-) in 2014, with all products containing these parabens forcefully removed from all store shelves since July 30, 2015. The U.S. is woefully behind in following suit, but to quote Oprah, “When you know better, you do better” and we do not need to wait for the FDA in order to fill our cabinets with clean, paraben-free products.
So get thee to your beauty supply cabinets and start searching for any ingredient that ends in -paraben. The most common forms you will run across will likely be methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Pitch them (and recycle their packaging if possible). Don’t forget to check that expensive shampoo and your mouthwash!
Now that you’ve purged your parabens and are wondering how to baby your dry skin, check out some of our favorites, like the delicious Mango Rhum Punch hand & body cream by Kreyol Essence and the workhorse of natural makeup primers, Raw Beauty’s Ageless Liquid Mineral Primer.
Written by Danielle Gatto