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      Parabens - How They Wreak Havoc On Our Hormones And Why They Should Not Be In Our Products

      The average woman in the US uses 12 cosmetic products. Composed of 168 chemical ingredients daily. Research indicates that not all of these chemical ingredients may be safe for human use.

      Parabens are a family of synthetic chemicals used in cosmetics and beauty products as preservatives for a longer shelf-life. They prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold but come with a cost to our health.

      Parabens can be found everywhere in the beauty industry. According to the American Chemical Society, parabens are found in 85% of health, beauty, and personal care products.

      You can find them in personal care and household products like makeup, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, skincare, toothpaste, sunscreen, deodorant, and more. Parabens can also be found in supplements, vitamins, and prescription medications. The most commonly used parabens are:

      • methylparaben
      • propylparaben
      • butylparaben
      • isobutylparaben
      • isopropylbutylparaben
      • ethylparaben

      The longer-chain parabens, propyl- and butyl-, are linked to stronger estrogenic activity.

      The primary concern with parabens is that they are endocrine-disrupting chemicals. They have weak estrogen properties that can act like estrogen in the body. The problem is that research has linked this effect to decreased fertility and damage to reproductive development in animal studies.

      Parabens are also easily absorbed quickly and easily into intact skin. Because they are easily absorbed and prevalent in so many daily products, they can quickly build up in our systems and cause harm over time. These harmful chemicals have been detected in infants, older children, and adults. Studies have detected parabens in nearly all urine samples taken from adults in the U.S. Exposure begins early and is continuous throughout life and bioaccumulates in the body and fat.

      The FDA takes the stance that there is no conclusive evidence against parabens. The FDA allows single or multiple parabens to be added to food or food packaging as antimicrobials to prevent food spoilage. However, due to the adverse effects of parabens on the body, other countries are much stricter with their use. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has found evidence of paraben endocrine disruption, especially in babies. The European Union has banned isopropyl- and isobutylparaben. And ASEAN, a group of ten Southeast Asian Countries, has banned five parabens.

      Negative Health Consequences of Parabens

      • Breast Health. Parabens have been measured as present in 99% of human breast cancer tissue samples and possess an estrogen effect that can stimulate sustained proliferation of human breast cancer cells. Parabens have been present in breast tumors. Some studies have shown that parabens can mimic estrogen and affect the growth of breast cells, potentially increasing the risk of breast cancer.
      • Multiple research has shown adverse effects on fertility and paraben exposure. One Michigan study following 500 couples trying to conceive measured levels of parabens and how long it took to conceive. Women with the highest level of parabens in their systems were found to take the longest to conceive. In 2014, a study of 300 men attending a fertility clinic. This trial measured levels of parabens and looked at semen analysis results. It was found that high levels of parabens were significantly associated with an increase in the percentage of sperm with abnormal morphology, high DNA fragmentation, and a decrease in motile sperm and testosterone levels.
      • Adolescent girls who wear makeup daily had 20 times the levels of propylparaben in their urine compared to those who never or rarely wear makeup.
      • Research shows that estrogen mimickers, like parabens, have been linked to cases of early puberty in girls.
      • Pregnancy. Butylparaben levels in the mother’s urine and cord blood were associated with increased odds of pre-term birth and decreased birth weight.
      • Thyroid. Studies have shown that parabens can affect the thyroid gland and its function.
      • Skin irritation. Parabens can trigger irritation and allergic reactions in the skin.

      My favorite resources to help to limit parabens:

      1. It is essential to become an educated consumer. I highly recommend the Yuka App. This easy-to-use app allows you to scan your products to ensure they are free from chemicals and harmful additives like parabens.
      2. Because we are exposed to estrogens in the environment, which leads to estrogen imbalance, I recommend incorporating estrogen detoxes into our health and wellness regimen. These should include DIM, calcium d-glucarate, and liver support.

      Here is a link to the products that I recommend to my patients to help to balance hormones and decrease the effects of foreign estrogens on the body:

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      This has been a passion of mine for a long time. I created an ebook to help you to be able to clean up your personal care and cleaning products. You can purchase it here:

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