Lately, there have been numerous press reports regarding parabens and sulfates and why you should avoid products that contain them. If you’re like most people, you are probably asking, “What is a paraben or a sulfate?” The short answer is that they are key ingredients used in the production of certain beauty products. Parabens are preservative chemicals that have been used for over 60 years in deodorants, lotions, shampoos, lipsticks and multiple other products to prevent bacteria from forming. Sulfates are the chemicals and foaming agents used in toothpaste, liquid soaps and multiple other products including shampoo to produce an increase in lather and foaming action.
Why should you avoid using them? Here are five important things to consider:
1. Parabens could pose a real danger to your health. Studies have shown that parabens have the ability to mimic your body’s ability to produce the hormone estrogen. Parabens have also been found present in breast cancer tumors. Sulfates are a concern because they have been proven to have the ability to break down proteins, which can have a degenerative effect on human cell membranes. Studies have also shown that sulfates also leave residue on several internal organs as well as the brain. One other possible harm from absorbing parabens has been discovered recently – lower sperm counts in men. Several studies have shown decreased levels of testosterone from paraben absorption in male reproductive systems.
2. Sulfates used in shampoos can harm your hair. Crazy, right? Why would you want to use a shampoo that contains ingredients known to cause everything from split ends to actual hair loss? Believe it or not, most shampoos contain sulfates and consumers aren’t “turning their bottles” to read what’s on the label. Look for brands that contain vegetable or fruit-based cleansing ingredients.
3. Premature aging. A recent study conducted by the Kyoto Prefectural University in Japan has discovered that some parabens increase sensitivity to and damages from exposure to sunlight. Parabens apparently increase the death rate of skin cells exposed to ultraviolet rays. It seems terribly ironic that many beauty products designed and sold to lessen the appearance of aging, do in fact the opposite.