Table of contents:

Parabens in cosmetics: what they are and why are they needed
Parabens in cosmetics: what they are and why are they needed

The composition of cosmetic products that girls buy and use every day often contain many chemical and natural ingredients. It is not always easy to understand them, because chemical names mean little to the common consumer. But many have heard about such cosmetic preservatives as parabens, as well as about their dangers and negative effects on the human body.

Parabens are unique substances that ensure the safety of cosmetics, and scientists have not yet found analogues to them. These are highly effective preservatives.

In addition, they prevent the appearance and reproduction of pathogenic bacteria, therefore they are indispensable in the production of various cosmetic products. To understand how useful and harmful parabens are, as well as how dangerous they are, it is worthwhile to study their features, varieties and properties in more detail.

What are parabens and what they are

By their structure, parabens are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and are obtained only chemically. The discovery of their properties was made about a hundred years ago, but it was only in the early 2000s that deep research led scientists to the extent to which parabens can harm the human body.

To understand whether parabens are present in a particular cosmetic product, it is enough to read its composition. These chemicals come in the following varieties:

  • methylparaben (E218), propylparaben (E216), ethylparaben (E214), butyl-, benzylparaben;
  • isobutyl and isopropyl.

According to European norms and standards, in any tube or jar of one type of parabens, there can be no more than 0.4% of the total mass. If a mixture of substances is present in the composition of a cosmetic product, their total share should not exceed 0.8%. Although many consumers, reading about the dangers of these substances and knowing about their ability to accumulate in the body, try to purchase cosmetics that do not contain them at all. But finding such personal care products is not so easy.

Dangers and harm of parabens

A study that identified the harm and danger of parabens was conducted in 2004. Since then, many beauty companies have taken steps to reduce the concentration of these substances in their products so that they do not exceed the norm.

Among the main factors of their negative impact on humans are:

  • the ability to accumulate in the body due to the low excretion capacity of chemicals;
  • with a significant accumulation of parabens, they can affect the normal hormonal background of a person, especially women, increasing the likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer;
  • properties that enhance the effects of ultraviolet rays, which provokes the acceleration of skin aging;
  • in their composition and structure, parabens are similar to estrogens - human hormones, therefore, with a constant and long-term effect on the body, they can affect the functioning of the endocrine system;
  • in people prone to allergic skin reactions, some parabens, when applied topically, can cause dermatitis and irritation.

Of course, the greater the concentration of chemicals in a cosmetic product for the body or hair, the more intense the effect on the human body is. At the same time, scientists argue that the use of parabens within normal limits is normally absorbed and metabolized by the human body, without causing a negative reaction.

Paraben-free cosmetics

Despite the fact that scientists have proven some harm that parabens in large quantities can cause to the body, research on these chemicals continues. In addition, modern cosmetology is constantly discovering and applying new components that can preserve the qualities and properties of cosmetic products. However, there is no analogue of parabens yet. It is a unique preservative that has antibacterial and antiseptic properties; therefore, it is used in many medicinal and cosmetic products.

Since consumers, despite the assurances of researchers, are concerned about their own health and continue to search on store shelves for jars and tubes with the least amount of hazardous substances in the composition, the production of cosmetics without parabens and sulfates in general is actively continuing. For example, paraben- and sulfate-free hair shampoos do not foam, but they do not absorb harmful substances into the scalp.

Paraben-free cosmetics are a special production process, the ability to obtain a finished product from a plant extract without adding unnecessary components and chemicals. But the complexity of this process is available only to large cosmetic concerns, and their products cost a lot of money.

Cheaper drugs from small cosmetic companies may also be labeled "paraben-free", but in fact they contain substitutes or analogues of preservatives disguised by other names. For example, the inscriptions on the bottles and tubes "metagin", "propagin" or "arahydroxybenzoate" indicate that there are also preservatives inside. Therefore, not in all cases it can be said unequivocally which is better.

Alternative or substitutes for parabens?

Even children of middle and senior classes know that the use of preservatives in the food industry, the manufacture of medicines and cosmetics helps to preserve the product for a long time and at the same time preserve its properties and qualities. And parabens also prevent the development of pathogenic bacteria inside the drug in which they are contained. That is, they help to avoid infection or the negative impact of a spoiled product on the human body. Therefore, the production of cosmetics cannot do without preservatives.

In addition, it is not easy to find an alternative to such effective and simple chemicals as parabens, although the search and research for analogues continues constantly in research laboratories. In the meantime, consumers are trying to get a grasp of the composition of cosmetics and try to purchase only products without parabens, the preparations also contain other harmful components. Sulfates, alcohol, essential oils - all these substitutes for preservatives can cause allergic reactions, dry skin and accelerate the aging process.

And when buying 100% natural cosmetics, you need to pay attention to the shelf life and storage of this product. Without preservatives, no cosmetic product can be used for more than 2 weeks. If the packaging has a longer period, it means that the manufacturer deliberately deceives consumers, and the quality of such cosmetics remains in question.

Thus, parabens are unique chemicals, the high concentration of which can actually have a negative effect on the body. But by choosing cosmetics that comply with the permissible norms of parabens, each consumer can be sure that this effect is minimized.

It is best to purchase drugs from well-known and proven companies that are responsible for their own products and monitor the compliance of the composition of each tube or jar with international standards and requirements.

Popular by topic