Parabens are found in hundreds of beauty products in everything from shampoos and conditioners to lip balms and yes, sunscreens. So what's the big deal about them?
A study from the Environmental Working Group found that parabens are endocrine disrupters that could if they reach the skins inner layers potentially damage the reproductive system.
The FDA claims, "there is no reason to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens" even though parabens have been linked to breast tumors.
"Aside from water, I'd be surprised if any ingredient was used more widely than parabens," says Alexandra Spunt, co-author of No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products. "These antibacterial preservatives are cheap and effectivewhich is probably why more than three quarters of all cosmetics use them. When you consider how widely used they are and how little we know about long-term exposure to them, you really start to scratch your head."
But here's what we do know," continues Spunt. "Parabens can migrate to body tissue when applied topically, and lab studies have shown that they can mimic estrogen and have been detected in breast tumors. When you consider how many products people use every day, these low doses can really add up. I won't go near cosmetics with parabens in them."
Around 60 percent of the sunscreens currently on the market contain parabens so make sure to find a paraben-free sunscreen.
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