What Are Parabens, and Why Should You Avoid Them?

Paraben-free this, paraben-free that… This mysterious ingredient seems to be out of favor, but has anyone told you why? We’ve looked into it for you, so you know why we love our paraben-free products at Cielo Spa Boutique!

What Are Parabens?

Parabens are group of synthetic compounds that sprung up in the 1950s as a preservative to prevent to the growth of bacteria in many beauty products, food, and drugs. When looking at labels on products, you’ll have to look for their ingredient names: methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Sometimes they go by names that are a little trickier to spot, like Alkyl parahydroxy benzoates.

What Do Parabens Do?

In the 1990s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens, which are agents that mimic estrogen in the body’s cells. This disruption has been potentially linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues, though studies have not found conclusive results.

Though FDA regulates how many parabens can be used in a particular product, parabens are used in everything from shampoo to ice cream, and so there is concern about the effects of parabens building up in the body over time.

What Should YOU Do?

While science determines what long-term effects parabens have your body, what should you do in the meantime?

We recommend that you be mindful of the products you buy! When possible, choose products that are paraben-free and contain ingredients like ethylhexlglycerin (which is plant-based) or phenoxyethanol. Use a paraben-free body lotion, as lotion covers a large part of your body, and try to use products that contain parabens in moderation, to avoid possible paraben build-up. As we have shared before, we recently added the Eve Taylor skincare line to our boutique.  ALL, yes all, of their products are paraben free. Our current favorite is the Soothing Cleanser, that has cooling cucumber and lettuce extracts.

To see if your favorite products contain parabens, visit Environmental Working Group’s free online “Skin Deep” database.

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Roxanne Zbinden
(805) 687-8979

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