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Typically, natural beauty and skin care companies will promote their products as “paraben-free” – but what does this mean, and why does it matter for you? In recent years, the phrase “paraben-free” has been popping up more and more, along with the demand for beauty companies to be more transparent about the ingredients used in their products. But why is this so? What are parabens exactly, and how do they affect your health?

In short, parabens are dangerous chemicals used to prevent the growth of mould in many beauty and personal care products. In recent years, researchers have come to associate paraben exposure with breast cancer, reproductive issues, tumour growth and skin irritation problems. Fortunately, natural skin care and paraben-free beauty products exist in increasing numbers on the market, so vigilant shoppers can be sure they are using the best possible beauty and personal care products for their health.

So, what is a paraben?

Simply defined, a paraben is a synthetic chemical preservative often used in beauty and skin care products. Parabens first came to prominence as a common ingredient in beauty products in the 1950s. Examples of beauty products that may contain parabens include hand and body soaps, moisturisers, deodorants, shavings creams, toothpaste, makeup and lotions. A company may use parabens in a beauty product in order to extend its shelf-life and prevent the growth of mould, bacteria and fungi. This may seem like a good thing – but in recent years, researchers have found that despite their minor preservative benefits, parabens are now known to be damaging to the human body.

What’s so dangerous about parabens?

According to researchers, up to 90% of typical grocery products contain some level of harmful parabens. This is a concerning statistic because as we are exposed to small levels of parabens over time, a cumulative effect takes place. According to researchers, parabens are known to interact negatively with hormone function, increasing the reproductive toxicity and breast cancer risk in the body. A recent study into the danger of parabens found that by joining with estrogen receptors, parabens are able to imitate estrogen. When estrogen levels grow beyond what is considered normal, tumour growth and increased breast cell division may be triggered. Furthermore, researchers have linked paraben intake with immunological, neurological, reproductive and skin irritation issues. Because of the evident danger of this chemical, the European Union banned five parabens in all cosmetic and personal care products in 2014.

Because of increasing awareness about the danger of parabens, and their association with cancer, tumours, and other health issues, many people have decided to fight against the use of parabens in personal care products. Fortunately, there are now many paraben-free, organic skin care and beauty products available on the market.

How to identify if a product contains parabens

Unfortunately, companies aren’t always fully transparent about the ingredients their products contain. Often, parabens are present in a product but are hidden behind complicated terms. If you are hoping to avoid parabens, look out for the following ingredients: osbutlynparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and methylparaben. If you notice a beauty product contains any of these confusing ingredients, it’s best to put it back on the shelf!

Fortunately, you should be able to easily identify if a product is free from parabens by looking at the front of the packaging label – many products will display a clear message or logo stating that the product is “paraben-free” and completely safe for you to use on your skin.

Are paraben-free products inferior to products that contain parabens?

Including parabens in a beauty or personal care product isn’t the only way to prevent bacterial growth. Alternative, natural, preservative-free and organic skin care products are widely available in Australian stores. Although paraben-free products may have a slightly shorter shelf-life than products containing parabens (paraben-free products typically last from six months to a year), it is likely that you will use up your paraben-free product before it expires. The minor compromise of a slightly shorter shelf-life is certainly worth protecting the health of your body, skin and mind!

According to cosmetics experts and makeup enthusiasts, there is no need to worry about whether paraben-free products are inferior. Many big-name cosmetic, beauty and personal care brands are completely paraben-free, and these brands are used every day by well-known makeup artists and celebrities. Paraben-free products work just as well as products that contain parabens, and often perform better, too, because there is no need to worry about how the products will affect your health.

What to do if you’re concerned about parabens

Because of all of the potential dangers surrounding parabens, and the tendency of this chemical to cause skin sensitivity and allergy problems, you may want to avoid purchasing beauty products that contain these ingredients. Fortunately, many natural beauty companies such as Natralus Australia produce guaranteed paraben-free products. Thankfully, Natralus Australia provides high-quality, Australian-made skin care products that are sourced from organic farms around the country. When purchasing organic skin care and beauty products from Natralus Australia, you can rest assured that they will be free from all parabens, phthalates, petroleum, and other potentially dangerous and irritating ingredients.

All natural skin care products in the Natralus Australia line are entirely paraben-free, so it is possible to shop the range freely knowing that you are doing the best for your body, skin and mind. As an added bonus, Natralus Australia products are also completely cruelty-free.

What it comes down to

It all comes down to this – you probably don’t want to worry about parabens or other dangerous chemicals in your beauty and personal care products. You want to be able to shop freely and with peace of mind that anything you use on your body or apply to your skin is good for your health. Thankfully, natural and organic beauty and personal care companies such as Natralus Australia exist to make your shopping experience that much easier for you.

To learn more about why natural and organic skin care and beauty products are important, refer to the many other articles on our site about these topics, such as: Why it’s important to use natural skin care products, The Benefits of using Cruelty Free Skin Care, and Could your skin care routine be doing you more harm than good?

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