Today, we’re more aware than ever about how important it is to look after our skin and make sure the products we use are free from harmful chemicals. Parabens have been under the spotlight for nearly two decades as people question whether they pose a risk to our health or not. All of our products are 100% paraben and SLS free, just in case.
What are parabens?
Over 75% of skin care products available to buy contain parabens. They are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and have been used for over eighty years as a preservative. This is to give products like shampoos, deodorants, moisturisers and mascaras a longer shelf life and kill any bacteria that tries to grow within the product itself. Parabens are also used in glues, oils, soft drinks, sauces, processed meat and hundreds of other everyday products.
Are parabens dangerous?
Parabens in cosmetics are in concentrations from around 0.3% to 1%. They are used to give items a longer shelf life and stop bacteria from growing within products which could make the person using them ill.
The Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumery Association released a statement in response to the bad press parabens were receiving after a study by P.D. Darbre was published that suggested paraben usage could be connected to breast cancer. They declared: “Parabens are officially approved for use under the Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC), the European legislation that regulates all cosmetics and toiletries. We can reassure the public that all cosmetic and toiletry products containing parabens may continue to be used safely.”
Despite this, many people still have doubts. Denmark has banned two types of parabens from being used on products for young children because of their concerns.
Are there any other harmful chemicals I should avoid?
Like parabens, SLS is also used in many cosmetic products, such as soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpaste. SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and is a substance, like a detergent, which enables a liquid to foam. There are concerns about its toxicity when combined with other ingredients found in personal care products, and it’s also been found to cause irritation to the skin, eyes and scalp.
How can I avoid buying products with parabens in them?
To check if your favourite products contain parabens you should spend a couple of minutes reading the ingredient lists on their labels. If you see methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben or isoparaben on there then you’ll know that a particular product does contain parabens. Sometimes other ingredient names are used but you can easily tell because they’ll end in ‘paraben’.
Whether you choose to buy skin care products that contain parabens is a call you alone have to make. In recent years there has been a growing demand for cosmetics and skincare that don’t contain these ingredients. Holland & Barrett offers the largest range of paraben-free products and sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)-free products on the high street.