Is paraben harmful for skin?

Is paraben harmful for skin?

The Dark Truth About Paraben

There is this whole skincare wave on social media that talks about why chemicals such as sulfates and parabens are bad for the skin. As much as they make your skincare product smell good and increase its shelf life, they are a big NO for your skin.

Both skincare influencers and dermatologists agree that skincare products do not need these harsh chemicals to survive in our homes.

You may wonder why your skin continuously experiences breakouts or breaks into allergies or itching, despite using popular brands that are supposed to cure skin conditions. The reason is simple. Bad guys like parabens are the ones that cause this. 

Parabens are famous, no doubt, but for all the wrong reasons. This is why we need to immediately filter out our skin bottles and get rid of those containing parabens — without a second doubt.

But why do we need to do this? Well, read further to know the secrets of one of the most used ingredients in skincare — paraben.


  • What are parabens?
  • How are they bad for our body?
  • What can we look for instead?

First let us take a look at what these parabens are.

What Are Parabens?

Parabens are a group of chemicals that are widely used as artificial preservatives to increase the shelf-life of skincare and bodycare products, and prevent growth of bacteria and mold inside them.

They are also called parahydroxybenzoates, or esters of para hydroxybenzoic acid, in technical terms.

Their usage dates back to the 1920's. It started with pharmaceutical products and slowly moved on to cosmetics, skincare, medicines and food. In the industrial sector, it can be seen in oils, fats, shoe polishes, glues and textiles.

Paraben for skin has been found to cause more harm than good. They just do not sit on our skin, but go deep and integrate with our body tissues. Nineteen out of 20 women in Britain have been found to have parabens in their breast tissue. This is highly dangerous as it can potentially lead to cancer.  

There is a list of bad effects of parabens on our skin and body. Let us look at each of them. 

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Why You Need To Stop Using These Bad Guys In Your Skincare?

For a long time now, parabens have had a bad relationship with our skin and body — and even with the environment. 

With the skin:

Parabens can trigger irritation and induce allergic reactions with the skin, especially if you have sensitive, damaged or broken skin. Studies show that they can increase inflammation to already existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. 

Endorphin disruptors

Parabens can imitate estrogen, as they have a very similar chemical structure. This makes them endorphin disruptors, causing hormonal imbalance, early puberty in girls and other health issues.

If used for a long time, parabens can even lead to a variety of health problems, including adult onset acne, male breast growth, neurological and reproductive disorders, and cancer too. Research also shows that parabens are linked to rise in thyroid dysfunctions and disruption in hormones.

Link to Cancer

Parabens are linked to different types of cancers — and this is another reason why you need to steer clear of parabens (they pose a potential threat to our health). 

This holds true, especially for breast cancer, as parabens are known to mimic the activities of estrogen (a female hormone) in the body’s cells. This causes division of cancerous cells, along with normal cells. Parabens have also been found in breast tumors.

Allergic reactions

One of the main side effects of using paraben-based products is the allergies it gives. After all it is a chemical, and it can therefore cause irritation and excess itching, and redness, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

If you already have pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne or pigmentation, then parabens can inflame the skin. This is also the reason why parabens are not often used as preservatives in antibiotic creams.

Reproductive problems

Paraben for skin is linked to an increased risk in reproductive issues if used for longer periods. It may create hormonal disruption that can be hazardous for adults and their potential children. It can lead to heightened risk of cancer and other developmental issues in the body.  

Quick absorption by the skin

Do you know parabens get absorbed rapidly onto the skin as soon as it is applied? In the US, research shows that paraben used on the  skin has been found in many urinary samples in adults. Chemicals such as parabens and sulfates are quickly absorbed into the skin and this causes severe harm to our health over time.

Parabens impact children too. From infants to teenagers, adults and even pregnant women, they are unsparing. 

For the environment:

Our environment also faces paraben harm. It is proven that parabens are responsible for polluting our ecosystem. Low levels of butylparaben can kill coral, and affect marine beings such as fish, and other water bodies. When mixed with chlorine water, the chlorinated paraben can give rise to a number of dangerous byproducts that react with our bodies in  unimaginable ways.

Since there are a number of health issues related to the usage of parabens, it is important to know which skincare products generally contain them. 

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Which Products Generally Contain Paraben?

Parabens are usually found in these skincare products:

  • Shampoo
  • Lotions
  • Conditioner
  • Facial Cleanser
  • Shower GelFacial Scrub
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Toothpaste
  • Eye Cream

Look out for the word paraben or para hydroxybenzoic acid in the ingredient list of the product before purchasing it. Parabens are also used as food preservatives, typically in, 

  • Fats and Oils
  • Desserts
  • Frozen Meals
  • Processed Meat and Fish
  • Soft Drinks
  • Beer
  • Jams
  • Dairy Products
  • Sauces
  • Pickles

In such cases, look for words with E numbers in the bracket, as they indicate traces of parabens.

What Should You Do?

Switch to organic or natural skin care products that are free from harsh chemicals such as parabens. Always look at  the ingredients before you buy any cosmetic or skincare item. Don't forget to read reviews and comments on new products so that you can filter out bad ones. Before you start using any product, perform a patch test on your skin (take a small amount of the product and spread it on your hand) to check for any allergic reactions. Lastly, keep your diet in check along with skincare regimen for the best results.

PS: don’t forget your sunscreen when you leave the house.

Shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil, green tea, lactic acid and aloe vera gel are some of the healthier alternatives for your skincare products.

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The best part? All skin and hair products from The UnbottleCo Intelligent are 100% free from sulfates and parabens! Some of the bestsellers include:

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To treat:

  • Lactic acid is a natural AHA which helps skin elasticity and lightens dark spots
  • Sodium hyaluronate has the magical duality to moisturize skin and reduce inflammation

To prevent recurrence:

  • Arginine PCA captures skin moisture and keeps it hydrated all day long
  • Alpha-arbutin brightens skin tone and heals skin damage
  • Tocopherol is a fantastic antioxidant to detox skin

Bye Dull Skin Face Cleanser Proven to Even Out With Kakadu Plum & Licorice Root

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To treat:

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To prevent recurrence:

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  • Arginine PCA is a natural amino acid, which captures skin moisture and keeps it hydrated all day long

Tuco Intelligent® Anti-Dandruff Hair Oil with Activated Charcoal & Pea Protein 0% toxins

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To treat:

  • Mint adds scalp freshness
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To prevent recurrence:

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