Have you heard about the parabens controversy?What are parabens and what’s the big deal? Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives in skin care and cosmetic products. They are also used in shampoos, deodorants and other personal care products. Their role is to prevent bacteria and fungus from forming within the products.

Parabens have been used for many years and are found in about 90% of skin care products. They are effective and very inexpensive for manufacturers to use.

However, there have been concerns over whether parabens impact estrogen levels which can in turn be associated with some forms of breast cancer. Studies have been done on laboratory rats where it was found that parabens entered the body through the skin and estrogen-like activity was found in the animals.

For comparison, it is important to note that the estrogen found from parabens was much weaker than estrogen levels found in products like those used for hormone replacement therapy. Also important is that the studies that have been done so far have been too small not entirely thorough to prove anything for certain. This is still being researched and any new data will be reviewed by the US Food & Drug Administration. For now, there is no definitive answer on whether parabens cause cancer.

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It is understandable that some consumers still want to avoid any potential risk of cancer. Paraben-free products can be difficult to find, but are becoming more available. If you are concerned, simply look for parabens on the ingredients list before you buy. Some common parabens you may find are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Be prepared to spend more since paraben-free products can be expensive. They also have a lower shelf life due to the absence of preservatives, and will need to be replaced more frequently than products containing preservatives.

So what are your thoughts? Do you plan to ban parabens from your skin care routine? Are you waiting for more substantial data confirming there’s a link to cancer? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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