Parabens are the subject of countless debates regarding their use in skin care and other cosmetic products. Despite their popularity, though, many consumers are still not familiar with what parabens actually are and why you might not want to slather them on your skin. To help you make informed decisions about your skin’s health, here’s what you need to know about parabens in skin care.
Parabens are synthetic chemicals that have been widely used in all sorts of cosmetic, skin care, and even food products since the 1950s. They are part of a chemical series known as parahydroxybenzoates, hence their shortened name. Some of the most common paraben ingredients in skin care products include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutylparaben . While these ingredients offer a cost-effective way to keep bacteria and fungi from growing inside your cosmetic products, a growing body of evidence suggests that the many adverse health risks that are now associated with parabens far outweigh their rewards.
The Paraben Controversy
One of the largest problems involving the use of parabens in so many of our everyday products is that the FDA does not regulate their use. Thus, parabens are treated like any other cosmetic ingredient, with the exception of color additives, and do not need to meet any standards or additional requirements in order to be included in a product . While it might seem like the relatively small amount of preservatives that are contained in your moisturizer, for example, is negligible, the cumulative exposure to parabens that most Americans get from using a wide range of products, foods, and even drugs that contain them could pose a serious health risk . Several studies have demonstrated a link between parabens and significant disruptions to the endocrine system, which may increase the risk of developing breast cancer, reproductive problems, and fetal development . Applying parabens directly to the skin may also lead to an increased risk of UV damage and skin cancer . Because parabens can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, these ingredients can also ironically cause signs of premature aging, despite the fact that they are commonly included in a variety of anti-aging skin care products .
Qualities to Look for in Skin Care Products
Fortunately, parabens aren’t the only solution to preventing bacteria growth in your skin care products. There are a number of different plant-based ingredients that can have antimicrobial properties, as well as preservative-free skin care products that may have a slightly shorter shelf-life than other products. Thus, choosing products that do not contain parabens is absolutely an option when creating a healthier skin care routine. In addition to looking for paraben-free skin care products, you may also want to look for products that do not contain other harsh ingredients like GMOs and fragrances. Instead, look for naturally-derived skin care products that contain skin-nourishing ingredients like amino acids and peptides. One of the many benefits of amino acids in skin care is that they can help to protect the skin against UV damage, while simultaneously stimulating collagen production. AminoTherapy by AminoGenesis, for instance, is an all-encompassing facial treatment for men and women that relies on the natural power of amino acids to nourish, moisturize, and protect your skin, while leaving questionable ingredients like parabens, GMOs, and fragrances out.
When selecting cosmetics and skin care products, knowing which ingredients to avoid can be just as important as knowing which to include. In short, parabens are still a controversial ingredient, as the FDA hasn’t yet taken a stance against their widespread use in many different types of products. However, there is mounting evidence that suggests these chemicals should have no place in skin care products, foods, or medications. If you want to play it safe, use paraben-free products like AminoTherapy and other AminoGenesis products.
 U.S. FDA