Even if you don’t know exactly what they are, you’ve probably heard of them. Parabens. There’s a continuous buzz around this chemical compound (para-hydroxybenzoic acid). Here’s what you need to know, from the health risks associated with parabens, to why they’re used in the first place, and the benefits of kicking them out of your beauty routine once and for all.
Parabens have been used as a preservative for over eighty years. Their purpose is to kill off any nasty bacteria that tries to grow within a product, in turn giving it a longer shelf life. From shampoos, to deodorants, bubble baths, moisturisers and makeup products, parabens are everywhere. In fact, between 75% - 90% of skincare products are thought to contain parabens. They can even be found in non-cosmetic products such as soft drinks, processed meats and cleaning products.
For around two decades now, the safety of parabens have been hotly debated. Whilst parabens tend to be included in low concentrations (from between 0.3% to 1%), there are many fears that they could be linked to serious diseases. A study by P.D Darbre suggests that parabens could be linked to breast cancer. Whilst this study was brushed aside by the CTPA and the FDA, many people are still worried. The EU has even banned the use of five different types of parabens.
For these reasons, paraben-free skincare and cosmetics are rapidly increasing in popularity. Whilst the link between parabens and cancers is not yet firmly proven, cutting parabens from your beauty and skincare routine puts you on the safe side (a wonderful place to be, might we add). And on top of this, it is also understood that parabens can increase skin sensitivity over time, resulting in redness, irritation and sometimes even allergic reactions. Whilst no one’s skin benefits from parabens, they can truly wreck havoc on those of us prone skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea.
Going paraben-free is not only kinder for your skin, but also kinder for the environment. Low levels of butylparaben have been linked to coral reef destruction, and chlorinated parabens (which form when parabens come into contact with chlorinated tap water) have been found in wastewater, swimming pools and even natural rivers. The toxicity of these by-products is not yet fully understood, but there are again serious concerns over the risk to health that they could pose, as well as the negative impacts that these by-products may have on aquatic eco-systems.
Whilst this all sounds very alarming, the good news is that as more paraben-free companies and products come onto the market, the easier it becomes to banish them from your daily routine. These products switch out parabens for safer and kinder preservatives, such a rosemary, eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, and benzyl alcohol.
If you’re looking to swap some of your old products for new paraben-free products, then KiteNest has loads of awesome options for you. All of our products are 100% natural, cruelty free, and of course paraben-free. With the winter months now heavily upon us, our body butter is a great one to keep chapped elbows and dry skin at bay. It’s lightly fragranced with essential oils that will leave you smelling delicious, and the nourishing coconut oil and shea butter in there will have you stroking your new, baby-soft skin all day long.
Another great product for now is our Plastic Free Pamper Box. With so many of us (yet again) spending more time at home, you can’t go wrong with a good old pamper session to lift your mood. This box will give your body all the TLC it deserves, from luxurious lip balms to invigorating body scrubs, sweet-smelling soaps and other eco-loving goodies.
With so many lovely paraben-free skincare products out there, the risks associated with parabens simply aren’t worth it. Not a single product out there is good enough to warrant the risk of cancer, damage to coral reefs, skin irritation and potential damage to aquatic ecosystems.
The new year is a brilliant time to cut out things that no longer serve us. Parabens, it’s time for you to go.