Posted by All-Nutrient Professional on Jan 19, 2018

It’s about time someone talked about that nasty “P” word – Paraben.
Many cosmetic companies either boast that they have products free of them or hide the word deep in their ingredient labels. But why?  Here is everything you need to know about parabens and why you should keep ‘em out of your hair!


What are Parabens, and why are they used in cosmetics?

Simply put, parabens are a family of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in a majority of cosmetic products.  These preservatives are included in products to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. They protect the product from spoiling and from consumers having green "fuzzies" in their face creams.

The most commonly used parabens in cosmetics are listed under a variety of names including – methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. While most contain the word paraben in their name, others like "Alkyl parahydroxy benzoates" can be harder to identify on a small printed product label.


What kind of products contain Parabens?

From makeup and moisturizers to hair care and shaving products, parabens are used in a wide variety of cosmetics. Although there may still be some, most major brands of deodorant no longer contain parabens.


So what’s the big deal?

Parabens can be easily absorbed through the skin, especially the scalp.  Many health and science studies have found that parabens can sometimes mimic the hormone estrogen and disrupt the normal hormonal cycle of the body and estrogen production in women. Health studies have shown that using products containing parabens can possibly increase the risk of breast cancer or cause the onset of early puberty in girls. 

The Journal of Applied Toxicology was the first to report the appearance of parabens in breast cancer tumors in 2004.  More recently, researchers have also found a connection that men using products containing parabens had an increased the risk of developing testicular cancer and having a lower sperm count.


How do Parabens affect your hair?

When it comes to hair, parabens are basically a transparent ingredient. Parabens are water-soluble molecules, so they are easily rinsed and do not cause any buildup on hair.  However, parabens have a high molecular weight, which prevents evaporation and subsequent water loss from the hair, leading to frizziness and dry hair.

Those with oily scalps are also more prone to micro-organism growth and scalp infections. Using a paraben-free clarifying treatment and shampoo can help normalize oil production on the scalp while also keeping it clean from bacteria.


 Use an organic alternative. 

There are certain anti-microbial agents found in various plants and berry shrubs that are natural preservatives like – tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract.

These types of preservatives are more acceptable to those who do not wish to use potentially toxic synthetic preservative on their scalp. However, using a product with a natural preservative can decrease the product's shelf life, espeically if the product is not stored properly. For example, storing a product with natural preservatives in a high heat area may cause the ingredients to separate. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and most of the time the product can be shaken and returned to a normal state. 


Click here to explore our ingredient glossary to see why
we use certified organic ingredients!



Topics: The Truth Behind