Cosmetics Without the Controversy

paraben-free-products-controversyA ton of new products are introduced every year claiming to be "paraben free."  Are these products better?  Are they safer?  We've tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about the chemicals so that you can make an educated decision about your beauty products.

Why the Hype?

A 2004 study from Journal of Applied Toxicology found that parabens were present within breast tumors. This created a widespread panic amongst consumers that the parabens in their cosmetic and beauty products could be linked to certain forms of cancer.  However, nowhere in the study actually showed that parabens were a direct cause of the cancer.  Even the American Cancer Societyhas stated there is no firm evidence to support the link between the two.

What are Parabens?

Parabens are synthetically produced preservative chemicals that are used in many beauty products. Their main purpose is to prevent the growth of bacteria and to maintain freshness.  They come in many different forms and are found in most makeup, moisturizers, and hair products.

What are the Dangers of Parabens?

According to the FDA, the amount of parabens found in cosmetics and other beauty products is an extremely tiny percentage and is therefor not harmful for daily use. This was concluded from two separate studies by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, one in 1984 and again in 2005:

"FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers."

Is it Worth Buying Paraben-Free Products?

Currently the ingredients within cosmetics and beauty products are not formally regulated by the FDA, and thus the FDA is not required to pre-approve every cosmetic product before it hits stores. While there is still no definitive proof that parabens within your beauty products are harmful, many companies, like Burt's Bees, and the new 100 % vegan cosmetic line, Stript, do not want to take any chances!  In addition, many dermatologists find that paraben free makeup can reduce breakouts and allergic reactions.

For More Information

  • Skin Deep - A searchable safety database for cosmetics and skin care products
  • Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - Organization dedicated to providing the public with information about cosmetic laws and ingredients
  • Wellsphere - Stanford University's online forum of health related news articles

Do You Prefer Paraben Free Products?

We want to hear your opinions!  Do you typically check the labels of your beauty products before you purchase them?  Do you think there is reason to still be skeptical about the health risks or dangers of parabens? Do you think that "paraben-free" cosmetics is just a scare tactic for companies to make money?