Toxic Thursday : Parabenes & Health Risks

Hello Lovelies!

Parabens have long been in the discussion of toxicity and being carcinogen.  A good topic for toxic thursday! A few beauty companies have picked up on that and are actually marketing their products as paraben-free. All natural and organic companies are not allowed to use parabens and their derivates. But first of all,

What are parabenes and why are they used?

Parabens are parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid and a widely used preservative in cosmetics. They do prevent bacterial, microorganism and fungi growth very effectively in cosmetics and food and are very cost efficient and cheap. 

However, there are some controversial aspects.

  • Parabens mimicry estrogene, a female hormone and have thus been in the discussion of enhancing breat cancer. There is no direct link but amounts of parabens have been found in breast cancer biopsies. 
  • Estrogene-like molecules have also been linked to an early start of puberty in teenage girls
  • Allergic reactions. Just like many cosmetic agents parabens have also been linked to allergic reactions. Cases of contact dermatitis and Rosacea have been reported.
  • Sun damage. Contact with UV light might damage DNA and cause cell ageing.

Good to know!
  • Propyl and butylparaben is banned in Denmark in children's products. 
  • Do not use parabens if you are pregnant, in your sunscreen or on any products for your kids. 
  • There are alternatives! Products can be made safe with botanical alcoholic extracts most commonly found in organic cosmetics.  

Safe Companies, Paraben-free:
  • Yves Rocher! Most of their product lines are free of parabens as well as silicone free. Please check the Incis nevertheless. I am currently testing their hair care line, so stay tuned for products reviews the upcoming weeks :) And I do like their products a lot so far. Their deodorants are also aluminium free. 

What do you think about parabens? I am not completely parabene free now but slowly switching my products because I do think that I don't want parabens near my lymphatic system (thus parable free deo!) Do you know more companies that are paraben free? Leave some Info in the comments!


  • Gray, J (2008). State of the Evidence: The Connection between Breast Cancer and the Environment. San Francisco, CA: The Breast Cancer Fund. 
  • Daubre PD, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, Coldham NG, Sauer MJ, Pope GS (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology 24:5-13. 
  • Rastogi SC, Schouten A, Dekruijf N, Weijland JW (1995). Contents of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and benzylparaben in cosmetic products. Contact Dermatits 32: 28-30. 
  • Ye X, Bishop AM, Reidy JA, Needham LL, Calafat AM (2006). Parabens as urinary biomarkers of exposure in humans. Environmental Health Perspectives114: 1843-1846.
  • Calafat, A. M., Ye, X., Wong, L.-Y., Bishop, A. M., & Needham, L. L. (2010). Urinary concentrations of four parabens in the U.S. Population: NHANES 2005-2006. Environ Health Persp, 118(5), 679–685.
  • Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel Meeting (2012). Parabens. http://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/paraben_build.pdf

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