If you take a look at the ingredients on any of your beauty or cosmetic products such as eyeliner, eye shadow or foundation, you will probably see this ingredient listed in it. It is naturally found in a number of different plants as well as a few species of insects, but the kind that is used in these kind of products is usually synthetically made. This crystalline ingredient is white and very fine, almost resembling a granulated sugar. It has been used in the cosmetic industry since the early 1900’s.
Many studies have been done about the effects of parabens on the body, and it has become a sort of buzz word these days when looking at what’s in a product. It was used in the 1950’s as a way of slowing down the production of different kinds of bacteria and mold so that products had a longer shelf life. It is still used much the same today, as a preservative in cosmetic products to make them lost longer in distribution and transport through a number of different environments (warehousing, shipping where it isn’t always a climate-controlled environment). The level of concentration of parabens differs from product to product.
Risks of Propylparaben
One issue that is cited by dermatologists when examining parabens is that this chemical has the ability to copy estrogen in the body, which can lead to an overabundance of this hormone in the body. Hormones play an important part in many of your body’s processes, so this overexposure can lead to a number of problems for the user ranging from pain to inflammation. This may be experienced by gaining weight, more fluid retention in the body, and (in the most rare and severe cases) even cancer. These estrogen problems are particularly harmful for women who are already experiencing hormonal problems when pregnant or nursing.
Safe Use of Parabens
The FDA deemed parabens a safe ingredient in cosmetics and skin care products in the mid-1980’s. Typically this chemical has a concentration of 0.01 to 0.3%, a small enough dose to not be of any harm to your body. The risk comes when multiple products (such as foundation, eye liner, mascara, eye shadow, and other products to lessen the signs of aging) are all used at the same time, in effect multiplying the amount of parabens the consumer is exposed to at one time. This can lead to an overabundance of this ingredient and that’s where the risks are seen.
To avoid this issue, take note of the ingredients on the products you use for beauty or cosmetic purposes and try to limit yourself to just one or two that contain parabens in an effort to limit your exposure. It may also be useful to add in a few products made of natural ingredients to balance out the synthetic products you use.
If you experience any adverse reaction, discontinue use immediately. Be sure to start slowly with any new cosmetic or skin care product to see how your skin reacts to it at first, then gradually increase use.