Are Parabens Dangerous?

The focus on parabens is becoming increasingly larger each year. When I was in Norway recently I couldn't help but notice that a lot of cosmetic products were labelled paraben-free but do they need to be? Is it just the new bandwagon we are jumping on or is it safe to "consume" parabens?
Products with parabens
Parabens is a group of substances that are used as preservatives in up to 80% of all cosmetics and body care products. Almost all cosmetics have a preservative added as they prevent the growth of bacteria. The most common use is to mix four different versions of parabens to achieve the satisfactory preservative effect: Butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben and ethylparaben.

The EU's Scientiffic Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) undertook risk-evaluations regarding parabens and their connection to breast cancer and allergies in November 2011. They concluded that there is not enough data to prove a connection to the development of breast cancer and cosmetic products applied to your under-arm, and that the use of parabens is safe for consumers as long as the consentration of the parabens in a products does not exceed 0.19%. It therefore should be safe to use products that contain parabens, as long as the limit is not exceeded.
Natural products
You might remember my article a little while ago regarding the natural deodorants I started using because I was reacting to my usual Nivea deodorant. That was a personal choice I made based on what my body was telling me. That doesn't mean I only use natural products because there are a lot of producs my skin loves that are not natural (for instance my Priori Advanced AHA moisturisers). I do also like a lot of natural product brands such as Burt's Bees, Trilogy and Lanolips and I combine the use of natural and non-natural products and that's what works for me.

At the end of the day it is important to make the decisions that are best for you. For me this is to mix natural and non-natural products. For you it might be to go completely natural or ignoring this all together. I recently read a very interesting blog post over on Chasing Elixir where Tina wrote about the Phenomenon of The Misinformed Shopper and she details how consumers will make assumptions based on an ingredient or product safety witout doing the necessary research. I think it is easy to judge something without knowing all about it but you should also know what you are talking about. After all, isn't this why we are lucky enough to have Google, Bing and Wikipedia?

What are your thoughts on parabens and natural products? Have you found yourself assuming something and then finding out it was right or wrong?


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