Feature: Lifting the Lid on Parabens by Phoebe Parke

The media absolutely loves to create a frenzy around ingredients that might be bad for us and demonise them instead of telling us all the facts, before we start throwing out all our favourite products, let's lift the lid on parabens...

Lifting the Lid on Parabens

Parabens are man made chemicals which are used as preservatives and also have bactericidal and fungicidal properties, meaning that they increase the shelf life of products. Parabens are to be found in shampoos, moisturisers, shaving gels, make-up and even toothpaste. If you are wondering why they are hiding in so many everyday items, it is because of their low cost and efficiency, while there are natural alternatives such as grapefruit seed extract, they do not always work as well and are more expensive.

Parabens, which have been used in the cosmetics industry for years, have become controversial recently because they have been found in an average of 20 nanograms/g of tissue of breast cancer tumors. They have also displayed the ability to mimic oestrogen, and when you consider the fact that oestrogen is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer, there is definitely cause for concern. The other problem with parabens mimicking oestrogen is that it may be a factor in causing early puberty in girls which is becoming increasingly common place. The main issue is misinformation, people hear buzz words such as "cancer" and start searching their cabinets for products containing parabens and throwing them away, writer Melissa says; "I read they can cause cancer, and are also a man made chemical."

Parabens seem scary, that is clear, but because they are present in so many food and beauty products they are hard to avoid and they even occur naturally in blueberries. It must be stressed that there is no scientifically proven link between the presence of parabens in products and breast cancer, but as parabens study leaders have said the link "justifies further investigation" and understandably people are starting to look for other alternatives, of which there are plenty.

Pouring over the labels in shops before you buy can be time consuming and may make you look a little strange and can be time consuming, so here are 10 parabens free products to try so you can start the new year off and you mean to go on...

5. VOYA’s Organic Hair Care Heroes Silky By Nature Shampoo - £15/200ml

This one uses seaweed and vitamins B5 and E to instantly restore shine and bounce to damaged hair

4. Pure Health’s Shea Butter Skin Food - £9.19/100g

This product uses pure, unrefined shea butter sourced from women’s cooperatives in West Africa and you can use it on your hair too

3. Sukin Natural Deodorant - £8.12/125ml

This aluminium and paraben free deodorant eliminates the bacteria that causes odour without using harsh ingredients

2. Macadamia Deep Repair Masque - £12.50/100ml

This one contains natural goodies such as macadamia and argan oil, tea tree oil, chamomile oil, aloe and algae extract

1. Herbalife Herbal Aloe Strengthening Conditioner (£9.22, 250ml)

This wonder conditioner is the fastest way to paraben-free smooth hair, and is infused with advanced wheat protein

Originally published on phoeberosetta.wordpress.com: http://phoeberosetta.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/lifting-the-lid-on-parabens/

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