Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Parabens- what are they, and why should we avoid them?

Maybe you've heard the "P" word lately, maybe you haven't. Parabens seem to be coming into the spotlight of the cosmetics world more and more lately, so I wanted to bring everyone up to speed who might not know what all the buzz is about.

Parabens are a type of chemical used in cosmetics, haircare, and skincare products... and you can even find them in food additives or dental hygiene products. These chemicals act as a preservative to keep your products lasting longer than they normally would.

Sounds great, right? The problem with parabens is that studies are showing these chemicals can act like estrogen, and the chemical has even been found in cancer tumors. Granted, there are no direct links between parabens and cancer, but it might be something worth avoiding "just in case".

Luckily, there are some absolutely fabulous makeup brands out there that make sure they products they product do not contain parabens! Some of my favorite are Tarte, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Bare Minerals, and Sephora Brand cosmetics just to name a few. Even some of the drug store brands are hopping on the anti-paraben bandwagon now; Revlon is one that comes to mind that I recently discovered!

So how do you know if your makeup has parabens or not? Check the ingredients! Many stores are making it easier by advertising "paraben-free" products. Sephora makes it even easier by listing the ingredients on each items product page, and include a section called "What It Is Formulated Without" to show any chemicals that were intentionally excluded from the product. However, checking the ingredients list yourself is always the best bet.

So how do you read all those long words in ingredients to look for parabens? Do a quick scan of the list, anything "-paraben" is a common culprit. Examples include methylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben.

So now that you know, I'm not telling you to tear open your makeup bag and toss everything with a paraben in it. BUT, slowly replacing your makeup with more paraben-free cosmetics might be beneficial in the long run.

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