You’ve likely heard of parabens in one form or another – and you’ve certainly run across them in your day-to-day life. From cosmetics to food to pharmaceuticals, parabens are a common ingredient. But what are they? And more to the point, how bad are they?
Parabens – which can be listed as propylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, benzylparaben, heptylparaben, isopropylparaben and isobutlyparaben, or anything else that ends in “paraben” – are synthetic compounds created when an alcohol reacts to an acid. The alcohol will vary depending on the type of paraben, but the acid always remains the same. It’s called p-hydroxybenzoic acid, and it’s a synthetic version of a compound naturally found in coconuts and mushrooms.
For the last half-decade or so, parabens have been added to all kinds of products as bacteria inhibitors and preservatives.
But here’s the problem – in addition to preserving products for your face and body, parabens also have the potential to affect hormone production and other aspects of the endocrine system. A 2004 study found parabens in cancerous breast tissue, and a follow-up study four years later revealed more alarming information. Parabens have the ability to penetrate human skin without breaking down and are then absorbed into the body. Unfortunately, the human body cannot properly metabolize parabens, which is evidenced by the fact that intact parabens are found in urine samples. They’ve been shown again and again to disrupt estrogen and androgen, and they’re classified as “genotoxic,” which means they can have an impact on genetic information in cells.
Critics of these studies point to the fact that parabens can actually have a smaller impact on estrogen than those found naturally. It’s true but the real issue is frequency, and timing. During pregnancy or other periods of rapid development, including infancy and childhood, it’s simply a prudent move to avoid products with controversial ingredients. And fortunately, as more women make that decision for their children and themselves, there are more products from which they can choose.
That’s exactly how Avishi Organics got its start, and why you’ll find no parabens in our products – or any other questionable ingredients.
We’re proud to be completely transparent about the formulations of our Intensive Baby Balm and Intensive Stretch Mark Oil. We list all ingredients in full view, and we take it a step further by sharing relevant details about the main ingredients in our products.
There is no better time to exercise caution about disputed ingredients than pregnancy. You’re likely already avoiding deli meats and soft cheeses, just to be on the safe side, so apply that same reasoning to the ingredients in the products you use on yourself. A quick scan of the ingredient list will quickly reveal whether parabens are lurking inside. Search for paraben-free products – you’ll be surprised at the selection available these days. We hope you’ll start here.