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Parabens. What are they and why this is the #1 ingredient that you should avoid.

When I first heard about parabens, I was scared. I never put any thought onto what I was putting on my body. I had the common notion that since it’s sold in stores it must be relatively safe. That isn’t true at all. The truth is that about 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream in only 23 seconds. Thus making it as important as what we eat. Learning about parabens is what made me pay attention to every single ingredient that I was putting on my body.

The 4 most common forms of parabens are ethylparaben butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. They can usually be found at the end of an ingredient list. On EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database parabens have a score of 7 which is in their high hazard range for toxicity. What most people don’t know is that parabens can be hidden in an ingredient listed under “fragrance/parfum”. Because fragrances are considered “trade secrets” manufacturers can hide many ingredients under the name fragrance or parfum. Parabens are found in almost all personal care products (before knowing about them, I had them in every single product I owned. I had them in soap, shampoo, makeup, makeup remover, skincare, ect.). They are dangerous and considered harmful because they mimic estrogen act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “A 2004 UK study detected traces of five parabens in the breast cancer tumors of 19 out of 20 women studied”.  Although this is a small study it shows that parabens are not metabolised by our body.

Unfortunately in Canada there are no restrictions on parabens, although it is recommended. This however doesn’t account to how many products we are putting on our bodies every single day. Suddenly a little bit can become a lot. A lot of us have been exposed to chemicals like parabens from the time we are babies because there are no restrictions for even products for babies.