What is Paraben Free? A buzz phrase? Marketing jargon? In order to understand what paraben free is we at Kari Gran believe you must first know what a paraben is. A paraben is a chemical preservative found in most cosmetics, skin care, shampoos, shaving cream and body lotions. Companies use parabens in order to preserve a products shelf life. What’s tricky about finding parabens is that they have all kinds of complicated scientific names that usually come with prefixes: methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, propylparabens. Mysterious scientific names for ugly toxins. While some parabens are found in nature, there is a difference between those naturally occuring parabens and the synthetic ones used as preservatives. Note that when parabens are used in perfumes they are sometimes hidden under the catch-all name “fragrance” which makes them hard to spot. Good magazine asserts that “almost everyone will be exposed to them daily, unless they deliberately choose paraben-free products.”
Parabens are xenoestrogens. That means they mimic the way eostrogen acts in the human body and interfere with normal hormone function. In women, this can drive the growth of breast cancer. In 2004, researchers from Reading University discovered parabens in breast tumours. Back in 2002, a study from Tokyo found that newborn male mammals exposed to butylparabens showed that the parabens adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system. There is a growing collection of reports with similar findings; that parabens affect normal hormonal function. Other studies show that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage. Some anti-aging creams are actually causing premature skin aging. Finally, parabens are skin irritants and can cause allergic reactions in some people. It’s nasty stuff.
So, now that you know what a paraben is you can likely surmise what Paraben Free is. In the skin care world it’s a brand or product made without parabens. At Kari Gran our products have a limited shelf life (two years) because we do not include parabens or water to preserve our products. Other companies in the shampoo and personal products categories are jumping on board, and slowly a few paraben free brands are popping up on natural health market shelves. It may take a little more time to study the labels but it’s worth it. Your body and your mind will thank you!