Parabens, Skincare, Safety, and Cancer: What does the Science say?

Parabens - are they safe or not? You've seen them in ingredients lists - methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben are the most commonly used ones in cosmetics and skincare, but there are a bunch of others, such as isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, benzylparaben and so on. You've also probably heard that they are unsafe, and can cause cancer (in particular breast cancer) because they are endocrine disruptors. But are they really unsafe? What does the science say, beyond the hype? I've actually touched on the topic before, but it was in the comments section of this post from last year, in response to a reader's question about parabens in cosmetics. Although I had initially intended to only answer that reader's question (yes, that super long 4-comments-long answer was just for one reader), I seem to get hits for "parabens" leading to that post. Since the main body of that post is actually a skincare review, and people may not read the comments, I thought it would be good for me to create a separate post for it, so that it is easier for them to access the information directly without having to scroll through all the comments. I've also expanded my responses, since now I'm no longer constrained by Blogger's comment length limit - take that, Blogger comments!


Parabens - safe or not? Given the rage on the Internetz, you'd think they were a major source of slow, painful deaths.

So. let's cut to the chase. The original reader comment was as follows:
"I...was wondering whether you knew more about the parabens controversy. I've always wondered if all parabens are cancerous and bad for you, or is that just misinformation. Is there a reason why beauty products use them so often, maybe for certain properties and purposes it serves?"

So there are actually three broad parts to this question:
1. Are parabens safe?
2. If they are safe, why are they so controversial? Where does the hype come from?
3. If there is so much hype about them being bad, why are they still commonly used?


Molecular structure of some common parabens (Image source)

With that, I thought this post would provide a more systematic way of answering these questions, and gathering all my sources in one place, so those three questions are how I will tackle the question. I've definitely heard all about the paraben controversy, and to be honest, I've found there is quite a bit of misinformation, half-truths, and fearmongering out there. The truth is, if you look at the amount if hoopla online in certain parts of the Internetz, versus the actual scientific data on parabens, you'll find that there is very little to justify the hoopla. But enough of my talking - let's dive into the analysis now! Just be warned: this is a very, very long post, so you better buckle yourself in!Continue Reading . . .
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Parabens, Skincare, Safety, and Cancer: What does the Science say?
Parabens, Skincare, Safety, and Cancer: What does the Science say?
Reviewed by sayna tasya
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Rating : 4.5