Why Go Paraben-Free?
A group of preservatives commonly used in antiperspirants, cosmetics and other skin care products has been receiving a lot of attention lately. These preservatives, called parabens, have been used in shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, toothpaste and other personal care products for years, because of their effectiveness and low cost. However, some disadvantages to parabens have become known over the past few years.
For most people with normal skin, parabens are non-irritating. However, the four most common parabens—methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben—can cause an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis and other skin irritations in people with certain sensitive skin conditions such as Rosacea.
In addition, researchers in the U.K. released a report a few years ago that shows a link between parabens and breast cancer. Trace amounts of parabens were found in breast cancer tumors, leading some experts to believe that parabens can promote the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors. It is important to realize, however, that there is no proof that parabens cause cancer, and in fact the American Cancer Society says that the risk of harm from the use of cosmetics that contain parabens is minuscule.
While there is certainly no proof that parabens cause cancer, and the fact that the American Cancer Society does not recognize parabens as carcinogenic, many cosmetic companies are beginning to introduce paraben-free products into the market. As a result, many individuals are making the switch to paraben-free skin care products.
Parents especially should consider switching to paraben-free skin care products for their children. Infants and children have extremely sensitive, irritable skin and may be at a greater risk for cancers if introduced to parabens at an early age.
When Jessica Iclisoy’s son was an infant, she consulted an ingredient dictionary to check out what was in the baby shampoo and cleansers that she was using. She noticed that there were several ingredients that were considered toxic. After talking to different chemists and labs, she discovered that the possible toxins were inexpensive to use, so manufacturers weren’t interested in using anything new. So Jessica started the California Baby line of products using all natural ingredients. While the line is designed for infants and children, they report that about 40 percent of their users are adults.
California Baby Calendula Cream is a rich, creamy first-aid ointment that soothes and heals virtually any skin problem babies face: diaper rash, cradle cap, eczema, scrapes, bruises and more—and it makes a great face cream for adults, too. Calendula is a homeopathic treatment derived from marigolds that has been used for centuries to soothe damaged skin. California Baby combines this holistic treatment with other all-natural ingredients, including aloe vera and vitamin E, to create a powerful, fast-acting cream that is gentle enough to use on skin irritations such as eczema.
The all-natural California Baby Bubble Baths are available in several different versions. Calming contains a blend of tangerine, sweet orange, and chamomile essential oils to relax the body and mind, and Chamomile & Herbs contains geranium, sweet orange and chamomile. The Cold & Flu Bubble Bath contains a blend of Douglas fir and eucalyptus essential oils to remedy stuffiness, fever and that not-so-good feeling while adding some fun to bath time. Overtired & Cranky is a situation with which most parents are all too familiar, but this version of the bubble bath contains a blend of chamomile, mandarin, rose water and aloe vera essential oils to calm frazzled tempers. The Bubble Bath also comes in I Love You, Light & Happy, Party! and Super Sensitive Fragrance Free.
Pharmaceutical Specialities Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioner were created for those looking to steer clear of the chemical irritants that are found in most hair cleansers and conditioners. The non-alkaline shampoo is compatible with the skin’s normal pH and is appropriate for all hair types, including permed and color-treated hair. The conditioner’s gentle formula detangles, softens hair and minimizes breakage while rinsing easily to eliminate excess residue. The Free & Clear line also includes Hair Spray in Firm and Soft Holds, as well as an oil- and soap-free Liquid Cleanser that is perfect for those with normal or sensitive skin.
Juice Beauty uses only organically or sustainably grown produce from USDA certified organic farms in their products. The skin care products provide antioxidants as well, due to the fact that they have a fruit juice base, rather than water like most companies.
The company’s Green Apple Antioxidant Moisturizer has a base of apple, lemon and grape juices and includes essential fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, vitamins and antioxidants to build collagen and smooth and brighten the skin. Their Smoothing Eye Concentrate hydrates and nourishes the sensitive skin around the eye with a blend of vitamins B5, C, E, K and P in a grape and carrot juice base. The antioxidants and essential fatty acids help create a smooth uniform complexion and protect against free radicals that can cause premature aging.
Whether you’re looking to improve your own skin care regimen or are protective of your children’s sensitive skin, paraben-free products can make a remarkable difference.
Article posted 10/23/2006.