What are parabens?

Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetics, medications, and even processed foods. Parabens are antibacterial and antifungal. They’ve been one of the most popular preservatives used in most industries since the 1950s.

Why aren’t they awesome?

Parabens are known endocrine disruptors – meaning they disrupt hormones. More specifically, parabens were identified in the 1990s as xenoestrogens – meaning they mimic estrogen in the body. Disruption of estrogen is linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues in both men and women.

Many argue that the debate is still up in the air – that there is more research necessary to claim parabens are cancer-causing. So, while there is cause to be cautious about parabens, don’t lose your head or stress out over them being the chemical incarnation of Satan.

Examples of parabens

Look for these on ingredient labels:

  • butylparaben
  • methylparaben
  • propylparaben

Product recommendations

The entire Lira Clinical brand is paraben-free.

For hair care, I like Pravana. Aveda is also paraben-free.

In makeup, Dr. Hauschka’s line and Josie Maran Cosmetics are also free of parabens.