For more than a decade, scientists and hair and beauty mavens have been leading crusades for healthier products. While beauty-industry debates rage on regarding the safety of certain FDA-approved chemicals in some of our fave products, study after study continues to prove otherwise.
Two separate reports released this week reinforced my own fear of the long-term effects of parabens, which is one of the most common culprits. They are found in more than 85% of beauty and personal care products, especially shampoo, makeup, lotion and deodorant.
Wait, What Are Parabens?
Parabens are synthetic chemicals with antifungal and antibacterial properties to help products last longer. The chemical makeup is very similar to estrogen in our bodies and ‘confuses’ our hormones. When used in body products, they are absorbed directly through the skin and stored for an unknown amount of time and builds up with continued use. Certain parabens also increase skin aging and DNA damage from the sun.
What The Research Says
A study published Tuesday (Oct. 27) in Environmental Health Perspectives states that parabens, even in tiny amounts, are linked to a higher risk of breast cancer growth than previously thought. The study also raises questions about what can actually be considered “safe levels” of parabens on human health.
A separate study by SUNY Downstate Medical Center revealed high levels of parebens in a group of pregnant African American and Caribbean women served in their prenatal clinic. The chemical was also found in their babies’ umbilical cords which may have an impact on fetal development.