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What Is a Paraben in Shampoo? | An Overly-Detailed Guide

You may have heard of parabens, and it could lead you to ask, “What is a paraben in shampoo?” Many different health and beauty brands advertise that they don’t use parabens.

But you need to understand what they are so that you can decide whether to avoid them or not. Parabens have been used in many different products since the 1920s because they are inexpensive to make and they keep shampoos fresh.

However, this doesn’t mean that they are good for people. Take a look at what you need to know about parabens in shampoo. 

What Is a Paraben in Shampoo?

What is a paraben in shampoo graphic

Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are used to extend the shelflife of different products. They prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

It is important to remember that bacteria and mold can grow in many different products, and microorganisms love moisture. Without the preservatives, the shampoo would go bad quickly.

Read Next: How Long Does Shampoo Last? 

Types of Parabens

There are many different types of parabens, but some of the most common include the following:

  • Butylparaben 
  • Ethylparaben 
  • Propylparaben 
  • Methylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben 

Problems With Parabens

The problem is that these parabens can be absorbed by the skin. They have been shown to have properties similar to estrogen, the female hormone that causes breast cells to grow and divide. It can also lead to damage to the hair and scalp. 

The primary reason not to use products that contain parabens is that they can harm you. They can enter your pores and ultimately your bloodstream. Some people have allergic reactions to parabens. This article will explain the following:

  • How parabens affect the body
  • Potential health risks associated with parabens
  • What ingredients you should avoid

How Parabens Affect the Body

When products that contain parabens are used, they are absorbed through the skin. Then, they are metabolized and expelled through urine and bile.

When you’re exposed to multiple parabens, they can build up and accumulate in your body. Consider all of the different products you use each day, and you can imagine how the parabens build up inside of you.

They can affect your body in a number of ways. First of all, cumulative exposure over time can cause a range of health problems.

The biggest problem is that they disrupt the way hormones function. This is linked to an increased risk of reproductive toxicity and breast cancer.

Parabens are known to bind to estrogen receptors on your cells, and this can cause the body to trigger an increase in cell division and tumor growth. They have detected parabens in tumors in studies, which shows that parabens can enter the body and remain in breast tissue. 

Potential Health Risks Associated With Parabens

There are different health risks that are associated with parabens. First, there is an increased risk of breast cancer. The parabens can cause the cells in breast tissue to divide rapidly.

They can also cause tumors, and they are linked to problems with reproduction, your immune system, and skin. Studies have shown that parabens are not good for people, and the European Union banned them in 2012.

Many people have called on the FDA to ban parabens in the United States in the same fashion. 

Finally, there is ecological harm that comes from the use of parabens, and lab tests have shown that they can harm marine animals such as polar bears, dolphins, and more. 

Why Parabens Haven’t Been Banned

The FDA hasn’t banned parabens because they don’t regulate them. They claim that there is little evidence that they have an effect on human health.

In spite of this, many companies are aware of the issue and have taken steps to create paraben-free shampoos and products. 

Although the FDA has set safe limits to how much you can take in, studies suggest that the cumulative exposure to parabens can overload your body. Parabens are also known to cause certain side effects, such as:

  • They disrupt endocrine
  • They have been linked to early puberty in girls
  • They cause allergic reactions
  • They can cause adult acne 
  • They may cause male breast growth
  • They can lead to neurological disorders
  • They might cause cancer
  • They alter thyroid hormone levels

By letting companies that use parabens in shampoo know that you have concerns about these issues, you can put pressure on them to find other ways to make sure that their products are safe when they put them out for sale. As more products are produced that are paraben-free, companies are reducing what they place in products. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine which parabens are in my shampoo?

You can determine the parabens in shampoos by reading through the ingredients. First, look for any ingredient that ends in the word -paraben. You can also stick to products that are labeled as paraben-free. 

What are safe alternatives to parabens?

There are safe alternatives to parabens. Some ingredients that fit into this category include the following:

  • Sodium benzoate
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Phenoxyethanol

Are sulfates and parabens the same thing?

Sulfates are another type of preservative, but they are different from parabens. They are a type of surfactant that attracts oil and water.

They are responsible for making shampoo lather. Parabens will have the word “paraben” in their name, whereas sulfates include certain ingredients, such as:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate sodium
  • Laureth sulfate sodium
  • Lauryl sulfoacetate sodium
  • Lauroyl isethionate
  • Sodium lauroyl taurate

They are different types of ingredients, but they are both harmful to you. It is important to be able to recognize these products in your shampoo.

So, What Is a Paraben in Shampoo?

When you choose a shampoo that contains parabens, you are putting your health at risk. In addition, they are harmful to the environment. The percentage of parabens in hair care products is not large, but the cumulative impact of the parabens over time can have serious effects. 

You need to learn how to read the label when you are looking for a shampoo. It is easier to look for shampoos that are labeled as paraben free than it is to learn how to read the different lists on each type of paraben.

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