A to Z Grooming Guide

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What is Paraben?

These days when you go shopping for your grooming and shower essentials, you may have noticed that “paraben free” labels are popping up everywhere. What are parabens?

Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products — stopping fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favorite products, especially in the moist, warm environment of a bathroom.

Chemically, they are a series of parahydroxybenzoates or ester of parahydroxybenzoic acid. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties.

They are found in shampoos, commercial moisturisers, shaving gel, personal lubricants, topical/paternal pharmaceuticals, suntan products, makeup and toothpaste. They are also used as food preservatives.

What are the dangers of paraben?

  • Allergic Reactions: In individuals with normal skin, parabens are, for the most part, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. Parabens can, however, cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis and rosacea in individuals with paraben allergies, a small percentage of the general population.
  • Breast Cancer: It is biologically implausible that parabens could increase the risk of any estrogen-mediated endpoint, including effects on the male reproductive tract or breast cancer" and that "worst-case daily exposure to parabens would present substantially less risk relative to exposure to naturally occurring endocrine active chemicals in the diet such as the phytoestrogen daidzein.

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