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October 22, 2019 4 min read
The scandal happened in 2004 when parabens were linked to breast cancer by Dr. Philippa Darbre in the UK, a specialist in endocrine disruptors. The general public discovered, bewildered, the composition of their conventional cosmetics. The word PARABEN was in every conversation. What are they?
Parabens are an ester resulting from the condensation of parahydroxybenzoic acid with an alcohol. There are several kinds. They are found in cosmetics, food and medicines for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. These are therefore preservatives that are found in more than 80% of hygiene and toiletry products (moisturizing cream, cleansing gels, shaving foam, baby wipes).
Why use them? Because the main element of your cream is water and it imperatively needs a preservative so that mushrooms and other joys do not develop there. It is also used as perfume additives and in sunscreens.
The concern is that parabens are known to be endocrine disruptors with undesirable effects such as impaired reproduction, disruption of fetal development, early puberty in little girls, smaller penis for boys,...and finally, their carcinogenic properties.
Studies are often contradictory on their real impact on health. Each product is not harmful in itself but no one uses a single treatment and the interaction between our different cosmetics is not measurable. This is called the COCKTAIL EFFECT. Indeed, on average, a woman applies nearly 126 chemical ingredients before her morning coffee (from shower gel to toothpaste to shampoo!). What are the impacts on her health? No one can determine that.
Knowledge is a weapon because it enables informed choices to be made. When the consumers realized that they have been duped for years, they began to pay attention to their cosmetics. It was a real realization because for the first time, they understood that they had trusted brands since their childhood, but that this could be detrimental to their health. You are not a chemist so understanding the list of ingredients is not easy. Then, manufacturers wrote the care promise on the front of the packaging to reassure the customer!
This awareness of the consumer has led to a massive reaction from manufacturers. The word "PARABEN FREE" was highlighted on the packaging. Good progress at first sight. Some brands understood that it was not good for their image so they took them off the market. GREAT.
Except that in life, everything is a question of values in my opinion! They are the ones who direct our daily actions. Are your health and well-being the primary concerns of these conventional cosmetic brands? Because at first glance, some and I mean some have banned parabens. But the question is, WHAT did they replace them with? What is important for you is to know what your skincare contains when you apply it to your skin and not what has been removed!
After the scandal and the discovery of the general public on parabens, manufacturers replaced them with Methylisothizalinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone. Imagine, they are worse than parabens!
That's why I talk about the values of a company. Is your health their priority or is it to sell at all costs. And be careful, I am not against the sale or capitalism but rather its excesses.
Selling is an exchange of service or product for money. Except that when I buy a treatment, I don't expect it to affect my health, my fertility, my thyroid, my hormones. This is why, as a consumer, it is your duty to inform yourself and not to leave your free will to individuals who do not share the same values as you!
These preservatives are very allergenic and very irritating to the skin. They can cause burning, itching, rashes,... They are identified by the MIT and MCIT acronyms and they are found in many, many conventional treatments. And babies/children are not spared! Do not be fooled by the photo of a chubby baby smiling with all his gums!
They are used, mind you, for their low cost. Since 2015, the MIT-MCIT blend has been banned in leave-on products. MIT has been found at a concentration of 0.0015% in rinse-off products since February 2017. Nothing for MCIT. So it's a case to follow!
Personally, I had an allergic reaction to my day cream. My face was unrecognizable and I needed an emergency solution. However, I took the time to reflect and turned to natural care. It's a shame that it took an unfortunate event to make me aware but at the same time, it has become my hobby horse to inform women about the dangers of conventional cosmetics.
It seems obvious that natural care will always be healthier than conventional care. They automatically exclude many controversial ingredients. But in the natural, there are also several levels of quality and sometimes, certain compositions are disappointing.
For example, in organic, the different labels have specifications with more or less demanding restrictions. For example, Germans like NATRUE are stricter but tolerate the addition of alcohol as a preservative. This is just one example.
Then, it must also be understood that these various scandals, awareness and skin or hormone problems are pushing many women towards more natural, more transparent, more authentic skincare. Caution is still required because we may encounter ill-intentioned companies there. This is how I discovered in certain so-called natural creams phenoxyethanol which is potentially endocrine disruptor. It's a pity to deceive the consumer in this way.
My advice to protect you:
To conclude, a health problem or awareness can be that moment when you seek more authentic and natural care. There are several brands with great human values. It is up to you to define your standards and find treatments that match them.
Personally, I chose quality with precious oils from Africa and without preservatives. Nature will always be stronger than laboratories. It's all a matter of perception.
I hope this article will contribute to a better awareness of your cosmetic choices.
If you have any questions, please post them in the comments. It is always enriching to fuel the debate.
I wish you a good day,
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