Understanding Parabens

by Jana Taylor

What are parabens?
Parabens are a type of synthetically engineered chemical preservative that are used in many cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. They have bactericidal and fungicidal properties, and are in everything from deodorants, shampoos and lotions to makeup, toothpaste and baby products. They can also be used in some cases as food additives. Parabens’ low cost contributes to their widespread use.


What’s the big deal?
While there exists no definitive direct link between cancer and paraben use, some indicators suggest that synthetic parabens aren’t as healthy for us as we might have assumed. Some studies show that parabens can accumulate in the body over time, and in a 2015 study parabens were shown to increase the proliferation of existing cancer cells. More research is needed into possible links between parabens and cancer, especially since paraben use is so prolific in many of the products we rely on every day.

Now you’ve made me worry!
Don’t fret too much as there are definitely things you can do to reduce your paraben use! Many companies that have a commitment to natural ingredients (like Peaceful Mountain™) have completely eliminated parabens from their products. However, you must be sure to read the label, because “paraben” has many different names, and just because a label says “natural” doesn’t always mean that it is paraben-free. Some alternate names for paraben include “METHYL”, “BUTYL”, “PROPYL” or “BENZYL” in them. Here is a list of the synonyms for parabens that you might see on labels.  Educating yourself about the ingredients that are in the products you use will enable you to make wise choices that in turn help you have a healthier lifestyle.

Jana TaylorJana Taylor is a staff writer for Peaceful Mountain.