What Are Parabens And Why Are They Bad?

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If you’re a keen-eyed shopper who likes to know what you’re putting on your skin, chances are you’ve come across the word “paraben” before.

In particular, you might have seen some products that are marketed as “paraben-free”, indicating their presence is unwanted. But what are parabens and, more importantly, what harm can they do if they’re present in your skincare products? Let’s find out…

What Are Parabens?

Parabens are a class of synthetic chemical preservatives found in many cosmetic products. Their purpose is to extend the products’ shelf life by preventing the growth of bacteria, mould and yeast. 

Some of the most common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben, which all have antimicrobial properties and disrupt the microbial cell membrane and inhibit the activity of enzymes that contribute to cell reproduction. 

In doing so, parabens prevent the spoilage of products, which is why many cosmetics manufacturers like to use them. 

What’s The Problem?

So it’s easy to see why some manufacturers prefer to include parabens. However, while they may extend the shelf life of these products, they may not do the same for your skin!

That’s because parabens have raised concerns due to their potential to mimic oestrogen, a hormone in the human body. Some studies have demonstrated a correlation between paraben exposure and hormonal disruption. 

Additionally, there are also concerns that parabens may cause other problems. Some studies have suggested a link between paraben exposure and issues such as skin irritation and allergic reactions, while there are additional concerns about the cumulative effects of using these chemicals as they may be found in a wide range of products.

As a result, some cosmetic brands – brands like Handmade Naturals and others we stock in our shop – are opting for paraben-free formulations to ease customer concerns and ensure our products are as safe as possible.

Why Natural & Organic Is Best

When discovering that parabens can potentially cause skin irritation and reactions, it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise. These are synthetic chemicals, after all, and while they may make great preservatives, they were never created to improve the quality of your skin!

This is why we only use natural and organic ingredients in our skincare products – just the way Mother Nature intended.

Free From Harsh Chemicals:

In many skincare formulations, you’ll find a worrying cocktail of synthetic chemicals that can inflame and irritate your skin. But natural skincare products usually boast a clean, all-natural ingredient list, avoiding any harsh chemicals, fragrances, pesticides and preservatives such as parabens.

One of those ingredients we use in some of our natural moisturisers is the nutrient-packed shea butter, which is a popular moisturising agent. This natural emollient hydrates without the need for synthetic additives, making it the perfect ally for keeping your skin soft and supple.

Rich In Antioxidants:

Organic moisturisers contain natural ingredients that are packed with antioxidants. Skin-friendly ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter, murumuru butter, green tea extract, vitamin E and rosehip oil all help moisturise the skin and keep it healthy and glowing.

By attacking free radicals which take their toll on our skin, these ingredients aid in the repair of cells, promoting a youthful appearance.

Reduces Inflammation:

Whether it’s the food we eat, the air we breathe or the products we’re putting on our skin, we all suffer from varying degrees of inflammation. If you’re someone who suffers from any autoimmune condition such as psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis, inflammation lies at the heart of your condition.

This is where organic moisturisers come in as they utilise the benefits of multiple plant compounds that are known to contain anti-inflammatory properties. 

Some of these ingredients include aloe vera, chamomile and calendula which aren’t just kind to the skin but also great for soothing inflammation. So for a product that reduces redness and helps promote healthy, hydrated skin, opt for products with ingredients like these.


Sustainability And Fair Trade

Many organic skincare products use ingredients that are sourced from supply chains that support local communities. By choosing organic, you support these fair trade practices and promote sustainability.

These products are also kinder to the environment, while they’re never tested on animals. So as well as the benefits to your skin, they’re also much more ethically sourced.

So that’s the ins and outs of parabens, as well as the reasons we avoid including them in our products. Although we could no doubt prolong the life of our products by using these preservatives, we’d rather our skincare range was kind, ethical and healthy.

1 comment

  • Justina

    I’m very excited to try your products cause I’ve been searching for many years to find the right moisturiser and I believe in natural products thanks x

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