Are synthetic preservatives doing more harm to your skin and body than good?
For 23 years I have been conducting research on cosmetics and their effects, both positive and negative on the skin. Knowing that shockingly over a 30-year history, the FDA has reviewed just 11 % of the 10,500 cosmetic ingredients catalogued by FDA (FDA 2000). The 89 percent of ingredients remain unassessed and these are used in more than 99 percent of all products on the market (EWG 2004a).
Crazy to know this.
So lets firstly understand what are preservatives and why are they used in cosmetics?
Preservatives are used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mould. Parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are commonly used preservatives in cosmetic and personal care products.
The problem I have with this is that some of these preservatives in cosmetics contain synthetic preservatives that can disrupt your endocrine system. One of these are “Parabens”.
At the same time, we don’t want our products and facial serums to go rancid or grow bacteria. That would lead to even more irritation and problems on our skin. While in most instances you can’t go completely preservative free, you can choose natural preservatives that keep your products fresh and also soothe your skin. Especially if you know what these synthetic preservatives are doing to your body.
In the early years of my research I found a study completed by Professor Adele Green at the University of Queensland, where she confirmed that Parabens have been found in the tissue of breast tumours. Now while they many not be known to cause breast tumour we need to understand that due to the fact that it mimics oestrogen, and that it is found in these tumours, is it best we avoid products with Parabens. We now know Parabens have been linked to hormonal disruption because of how they can imitate estrogen. That’s because the cosmetic ingredients we apply are absorbed through our skin, and can interact with the chemical and hormonal functions that occur in our bodies. Studies show that parabens artificially mimic estrogens in the body, leading to a host of metabolic, developmental, hormonal and neurological disorders. Even more disturbingly, parabens have been found in human breast cancer tissue, suggesting a link between parabens and cancerous growth. This is why we strongly recommend you to look for cosmetic products that are paraben free.
Some common parabens that you may read on the bottom of your ingredients list on your cosmetics include methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. While parabens do help prevent bacterial growth in products, it is certainly not needed to be used as there are other alternatives I have used over the last 23 years with great success. It is just laziness on the behalf of the cosmetic company and their cosmetic chemist I feel, if they have chosen to use the Parabens.
Choice research went on to explain the effects of Parabens in cosmetics a bit further. Parabens are preservatives used in many cosmetic and personal care products, with methyl paraben being the most commonly used. In lab testing on animals and tissue culture, parabens have been found to have endocrine disruption effects, although the relevance to humans isn’t well understood.
The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety reviewed parabens and determined that while methyl and ethyl paraben are safe to use in cosmetics, subject to concentration limits, five other parabens were banned in cosmetic products – Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Phenylparaben, Benzylparaben and Pentylparaben. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Cosmetics Committee recently followed suit.
However, the Danish government has banned the use of some additional parabens – propylparaben and butylparaben – in products marketed for use by children up to three years old as a precautionary measure, as children might be especially vulnerable to endocrine effects.
Should this not be enough of a concern to us and why have no parabens been banned in Australia?
It sad to think that the FDA put in their report – “Its buyer beware”, and continued to state that the average person uses nine products a day with 126 unique ingredients. These exposures may add up to health problems, but neither industry nor the FDA is doing the work to define and reduce the risks. It has however trying to turn up the heat on cosmetic companies and we hope that more testing gets done and the results are shared so we can all make informed choices. This is our body and our health we are talking about, not just our skin – as over 60% of ingredients do pass through the skin (the largest organ of our body) and circulate around our body where it can store in the liver.
You cant just ignore the facts once you know it is true – don’t risk your health, especially when you have choices.
If you would like to use Paraben FREE cosmetics, you can go onto our website www.earthsentials.com.au or contact us direct on +61 7 38811977.
We are proudly the only known Beauty Training Academy that is Paraben FREE. We take health seriously, and so should you.
Author Tracey Hammond