CleanUP your makeUP :: Parabens

What the heck are parabens?

Chemicals like parabens are added to personal care products as a preservative to keep bacteria and mold from growing in the packaging (yes, there are many natural alternatives). 

The issue is that over time, and with constant use in so many daily products, you have cumulative exposure, where these toxins build up in our bodies. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. Why is this bad? Cumulative exposure leads to hormone-related cancers and early onset of puberty in girls. “Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity,” reports the non-profit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC).

How do you avoid these? Read labels carefully and if you can, choose products with a short list of all-natural ingredients.


“First commercialized in the 1950s, parabens are a group of synthetic compounds commonly used as preservatives in a wide range of health, beauty and personal care products. If the product you are using contains methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben, it has parabens.

These ingredients are added to deodorants, toothpastes, shampoos, conditioners, body lotions and makeups, among other products, to stop the growth of fungus, bacteria and other potentially damaging microbes. Researchers have also found that some 90 percent of typical grocery items contain measurable amounts of parabens, which is why even those who steer clear of potentially harmful personal care products also carry parabens around in their bloodstreams.”

The European Union banned parabens in 2012.