Parabens and sulfates are great for making health and beauty products, but they may be terrible for your skin and bad for your health.
In this article:
- Parabens and Sulfates as Common Ingredients
- What Are Parabens?
- Why Are Parabens Bad for Your Body?
- Why Are Parabens Bad for Your Skin?
- What Are Sulfates?
- Why Are Sulfates Bad for Your Body?
- Why Are Sulfates Bad for Your Skin?
- Avoid Parabens and Sulfates
What You Need to Know about Parabens and Sulfates
Parabens and Sulfates as Common Ingredients
What exactly are parabens and sulfates and what makes them dangerous to your health?
They are common ingredients in all sorts of products. Parabens are used as preservatives. Meanwhile, sulfates create suds and foam. Sulfates are also cleansers.
What Are Parabens?
Parabens extend the shelf life of cosmetics, personal hygiene products, food products, and pharmaceuticals. They’re a popular ingredient to use because they prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and yeast that cause products to spoil.
They come from para-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) which occurs naturally in fruit and vegetables. PHBA also occurs naturally in the human body. They occur when the body breaks down certain amino acids.
The chemical structure of the parabens in cosmetics and other products are identical to the PHBA that occur naturally. The body changes any parabens it encounters through cosmetic use into natural PHBA, then eliminates them.
There are several names for parabens in skin care products. They include butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. To find them on cosmetic labels, look for words ending in “paraben.”
Why Are Parabens Bad for Your Body?
The problem with parabens in lotions or other products is that they enter your body. This means your skin absorbs the parabens in cosmetics and other products.
Once inside your body, they can travel to different organs and tissues.
Parabens are bad because they mimic some hormones, which are the body’s chemical messengers. Your body responds to certain events by producing hormones.
These hormones latch onto different cells in the body and change the way the cells work. The body responds to food by producing the hormone insulin, for example, and insulin tells cells to absorb sugar from food.
On top of that, parabens mimic estrogen. Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone associated with breast cancer.
Cancer attacks the body with unhealthy cells that divide and grow quickly. The American Cancer Society says that two out of three types of breast cancer are associated with estrogen.
When these molecules mimic estrogen, it is like there is too much estrogen in the body. Excess estrogen can trigger the division of cancer cells and the growth of cancer tumors.
They can go where they should not go. A 2004 study found traces of five different parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of 20 women studied.
Although the study did not prove that parabens cause breast cancer, it did show that they get into the skin and stay inside body tissue.
Why Are Parabens Bad for Your Skin?
Parabens can irritate your skin. In turn, irritation can cause skin redness, discomfort, and even broken skin.
What Are Sulfates?
Sulfates are cleansing and foaming agents. You can find them in shampoos, body washes, toothpaste, and other products.
There are two main types of sulfates in shampoo – sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.
Why Are Sulfates Bad for Your Body?
Sulfates break down proteins and this can damage the walls of your cells. Over time, the damage can cause the cell walls to deteriorate and, if unchecked, collapse.
Sulfates enter your body through your skin. Once inside, sulfates leave residue in your tissue.
Why Are Sulfates Bad for Your Skin?
The foaming action of sulfates can also strip away naturally-occurring proteins and oils. This leaves your skin dry and irritated, which can crack and turn into wounds.
If this happens, more sulfates will be able to enter your body through the broken skin.
Avoid Parabens and Sulfates
It is impossible to avoid parabens and sulfates completely. That’s because thousands of household cleansers, cosmetics, and other products contain them.
Yet, you can reduce the amount you interact with by purchasing products that are paraben and sulfate-free.
What are parabens? Watch this video by Jo’s Logic vs Luxury to learn more about them and research how safe or dangerous they may be:
The best way to avoid sulfates and paraben dangers is to refrain from using products that contain them. Read product labels carefully. Look for cosmetics, lotions, and other products that do not contain them. Opt for shampoos, cleansers, and other beauty products that are sulfate and paraben-free.
How exposed are you to these potentially dangerous chemicals? Let us know how you avoid these harmful ingredients in the comments section below.