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Parabens, Paraben

Definition: Parabens

Parabens are groups of chemicals used as preservatives in a wide variety of beauty products (up to 90 percent of them, from shampoo to toothpaste to self-tanner) and sometimes as food additives. Some parabens are found in nature, like the antimicrobal fruit of the blueberry shrub, but all commercial types are synthetic.

Despite many years of seemingly safe use, studies have begun to suggest that the use of parabens is less than healthy. One of the most famous studies linked the use of parabens in antiperspirants to breast cancer after researchers found parabens in samples of breast tumors. According to the American Cancer Society, there is "no good scientific evidence to support this claim" and "ongoing studies to date have not shown any direct link between parabens and breast cancer risk" — but the organization does acknowledge the need for further scientific investigation. Many companies have released paraben-free products that are worth a try while the jury's out.


Join The Conversation
caitmin caitmin 8 years
Why take risks with parabens. Whatever about the long term think just of the short term - parabens is proven to be irritating - causes itch. In a recent study it was found to be the most irritating of 10 preservatives tested ! That’s reason enough to avoid the ingredient. There is another good paraben free brand for people with sensitive skin such as eczema or dermatitis - its called exederm Their site has good advice on eczema and parabens too
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
What doesn't cause cancer? If I find a quality product without parabens and a comparable product with them I'd go with the cheaper version. Paraben-free products are usually really expensive.
amea amea 8 years
Yikes, I am definatly a fan of all natural and preservative free skincare. How can you tell if a product has parabens?
MzShanon MzShanon 8 years
It seems like every now and then there are claims that things are causing cancer. From cell phones to beauty products it seems like its unavoidable. The fact that 90% of products have parabens I think you would really have to go out of your way to find products that are paraben-free and to me that is too much trouble. I'll continue using the products I like but if there is something paraben-free I'll definitely think about picking it up. Overall I think if you keep up a healthy lifestyle cancer can be avoided.
luckyEmmie luckyEmmie 8 years
i recognize the fact that not everything we use on or in our bodies is completely safe, but as someone who has actually read the original study on parabens in breast tumor tissue, I am still dubious. First of all, they only used 20 samples to draw their conclusions. Second, they didn't look at any other tissues as control samples to see whether parabens are simply extant in most tissues, not just cancerous ones. As far as I'm aware, there are still no studies that have addressed these two flaws in the original study.
stephley stephley 8 years
To me the fact that parabens have shown up in breast tumors is reason to avoid them and I do and will continue to do so.
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