Welcome to my first post in a series about the chemicals to look out for in your beauty products. The average woman uses over 500 chemicals daily! Many of these have been linked to health issues ranging from hormone issues to cancer. I'm not a doctor or scientist and all data in the series has been researched from medical and reputable sources to ensure complete & accurate information.
I break it down in simple terms (layman) what the worst ingredients are, what names they are listed under and what risks they pose so as consumers we can make an informed choice when buying our skincare products. As an aesthetician myself I have completed some training on products and their effects but I still find the ingredient list on many items a minefield. If you have any ideas of particular products you would like to appear in the blog don't hesitate to send me a message or comment.
So for the first post I want to talk about Parabens.
We are inundated with products stating there products are paraben free, but do we actually know what they are, what they tend to be in, and what risks they pose?
Products parabens are found in: Shampoo & Conditioner, Lotions, Shower gels, Facial scrubs & washes (this is not an exhaustive list).
What are parabens? Short answer is they are a preservative to keep our products from growing microbes and mould
What harm do they cause? Endocrine disruption, Skin cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Endocrine system manages our hormones, it's the Thyroid, Adrenals, Pituitary, Pineal, Thymus, Pancreas, Ovaries or Testes. If this system is unhealthy it is linked to problems getting pregnant, managing stress, weight gain, weak bones, lack of energy and sleep issues. Parabens mimic our hormones which can then upset our whole Endocrine system and give risk to the above issues with your health.
Watch out for : Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben
Skin Cancer. Skincare that contain parabens, specifically methylparaben can lead to UV ray damage to skin cells as they disrupt the cell renewal our skin goes through. If we apply these lotions daily to our skin we get higher concentrations of paraben left in our cells that has not fully metabolized (left the body). The paraben combined with estrogenic chemicals (Estrogen is a hormone we produce but many other chemicals & toxins we use & are exposed to daily mimic i.e plastic) can increase the risk of developing malignant melanoma, a form of Skin Cancer.
Watch out for : Methylparaben
Developmental and Reproductive toxicity: Propyl and butyl parabens appear to reduce sperm production and lead to reduced testosterone levels!! (sorry boys it effects you too!) while methyl- and ethyl-parabens do not affect sperm production. However it does seem to be dose dependent so if it were me I would steer clear altogether! In addition, one study found that maternal exposure to butylparaben during pregnancy and breast feeding alters the development of the reproductive organs and sperm production, a great point, we are told about how alcohol gets into your breast milk so it's more like 2 years of no Prosecco..but no one talks about what else we are passing through to our babies & children. Laboratory evidence further suggests that maternal exposure to isobutylparaben during pregnancy can lead to anxiety and behavioral changes in offspring! Ouch
Watch out for : Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben
Other Paraben names: ethyl-parabens
Need further information?: Link to Breast Cancer? In 2004 a British study detected traces of five parabens in the breast tumors of 19 out of 20 women studied. This study does not prove a link but as the parabens were found completely intact (I.e the body had not broken them down in any way) it is concerning. A more recent study also found higher levels of n-Propylparaben in the underarm section of the breast tissue, interestingly this is the region in which the highest proportion of breast tumors are found. Parabens are not water soluble and can penetrate our skin. As a result, repeated application of a product or multiple products containing parabens could mean we are under almost continuous exposure.
I don't know about you but I certainly do not want to risk my health based on these studies. I'm one of the many woman who suffer with PCOS and the more research I do I am convinced it's reasonable there is a link with toxins we are exposed to in todays society. There are many products out there that have found safe alternatives to product preservatives, look out for Paraben free labels, and make yourself familiar with the list of names to watch out for so you can check ingredients.
If you are interested in finding a UK brand that uses No chemicals or toxins I myself have switched to Tropic Skincare feel fresh deodorant, Body polish - it smells like a tropical holiday destination! and the Body love lotion, I'm also working on switching out all my make up too. I love it so much I have begun selling online. If you are curious take a look at the shop link here, it's UK made and contains no toxic preservatives. They make the products freshly hence why not available in high street stores - https://www.tropicskincare.co.uk/shop/joannlebby/products.html
Of course there are many other brands following suit, I would recommend downloading the Think Dirty App a database where you can scan and check your products using your smartphone. It's free and gives a great breakdown on what ingredients are in your products and which ones could be problematic.
Thanks for reading and I'll be back next week with the next instalment!
Reference used & quoted text from http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/parabens/