Paraben Health Risks: TOXIC BEAUTY
What if all the potions and lotions that make you feel like a goddess were actually chipping away at your natural beauty and health one toxin at a time? We have all become more aware of toxins in the air we breathe an on the food we eat, but some of the most dangerous toxins are those right in our own bathrooms. The best approach is to treat personal care products like you would your diet which means reading labels carefully, being suspicious of long expiry dates and finding out which products cause more harm than good.
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How Parabens Take Away from Your Pretty
As a female who enjoys looking and feeling my best, I’m always on the hunt to find products that won’t affect my health and will actually help to enhance natural beauty. The challenge with this is that if you pick up any shampoo or lotion bottle that promises soft skin and bouncy hair, you are pretty much guaranteed to find some form of paraben in it. That’s right, paraben, sound familiar? That’s because parabens are preservatives designed to ward off bacteria and keep your “Ocean Fresh” body lotion, ocean-y fresh for a really long time.
Paraben Health Risks
Parabens are found in shampoos, conditioners, creams, shower gels, tanning creams, cosmetics and so much more, but what makes these parabens especially dangerous is their ability to be absorbed through the skin (our largest organ), blood and digestive system. This means your routine of shampooing, lathering, and perfuming is constantly exposing you to these toxic compounds. Parabens are also known hormone disruptors; in addition to contributing to PMS, infertility, acne and belly fat, more serious health risks are also implicated. A 2004 UK study detected traces of five parabens in the breast tumors of 19 out of 20 women studied. What’s more scary is that the parabens detected were intact and unaltered by the body’s metabolism – a clear indication that these chemicals have ability to penetrate skin and remain in breast tissue for who knows how long! Need more reasons to make the switch?
Be Pro-active With Parabens
Now that you know that parabens are used as preservatives in many of your favourite beauty products, let’s talk about reading labels and making better choices. When reading the label, look for anything ending in paraben – ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben etc. Fortunately, many natural and organic cosmetics manufacturers have found great anti-bacterial alternatives to the latter and will gladly label their products as “paraben free”. Another clue that the product is safe, look at the expiry date -shorter shelf lives means less chemicals and preservatives.
Detox: It’s Not Just For The Kitchen!
Detox your home one room at a time starting with the bathroom. Pitch out products and old cosmetics that have withstood the test of time and try to replace them with more natural alternatives (like essential oils).
Looking for more info? Check out some of the links below to get all the dirt on your favourite products and learn about more natural ones. Remember, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t slather it on your body either.
- The Skin Deep Web site of the Environmental Working Group (www.cosmeticsdatabase.org)
- The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Web site (www.safecosmetics.org)
- The Good Guide (www.goodguide.com)
- David Suzuki’s Dirty Dozen report (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2010/DSF-report-Whats-inside-that-counts.pdf)