Parabens increase the aging process
Check the list of ingredients on one of your products in your home and you will almost certainly see that parabens are included. An estimated 95% of cosmetic products include parabens which are known to accelerate the aging process.
Parabens are something that most people aren't aware of - although many of us use them on a regular basis. Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, and common types of parabens include butyl, propyl and ethyl parabens. Less common types include benzylparaben and isobutylparaben.
Parabens are found in a variety of everyday products - cosmetics, deodorant, face cream, shampoo and toothpaste. Check the list of ingredients on one of these products in your home and you will almost certainly see that parabens are included - an estimated 95% of cosmetic products include parabens.
For many years, parabens have been considered safe, both in the UK and overseas, as they were thought to be non-toxic. An allergic reaction or sensitivity to parabens is extremely rare - especially considering how widely used they are. However, several studies in recent years have suggested that parabens might be more harmful than we think.
Studies have found that the biggest risk from parabens seems to be from the use of products that require a prolonged exposure to skin, such as skin creams and facial lotions. The longer that the parabens are on the skin, the more opportunity there is for parabens to be absorbed. When used in skin care products, parabens are absorbed directly into the blood stream rather than through the gastrointestinal tract.
One type of paraben - methylparaben - has also been linked to the premature aging of skin. A study undertaken in Japan indicated that certain cosmetic products may cause skin to age excessively when exposed to ultra-violet rays. Ironically, this compound can be commonly found in products designed to fight the effects of aging.
Some tests have indicated that parabens have caused an increase in oestrogen which can possibly affect the male and female reproductive organs. Some studies in men have shown that a low sperm count and a decrease in testosterone are directly related to the intake of parabens.
One of the biggest areas of concern is the effect of parabens on breast cancer. Several studies have found traces of parabens in women with breast cancer. There seems little doubt that parabens can affect breast tissue - but whether they actually increase the possibility of breast cancer is still uncertain.
It's difficult not to come into contact with parabens - they are used in so many products that we use daily. Use of parabens is still legal in the UK and it's an area that will continue to be watched carefully.
Researchers in Japan say that methylparaben, a commonly used antiseptic agent for a range of cosmetics products, may cause skin to age when it is exposed to ultraviolet rays.
The ingredient, which has been connected to occasional skin allergies and skin sensitization in the past, is currently listed as appearing in 3,559 products in the Environmental Working Group's database of cosmetics products sold in the US.
It is said to have a strong antibacterial effect, as well as providing a mild stimulation affect that can be beneficial to skin's health.
It appears in a cross spectrum of products, including hair care, styling products and body scrubs. But researchers at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine say that they are particularly concerned about a range of topical facial cosmetics products that are often used on a daily basis.
Because the product is included in daily applied powders, foundations, sun milk, and, ironically, anti-ageing products the researchers are particularly concerned by their findings.
”I think women should avoid strong and direct sunshine when wearing cosmetics containing methylparaben,” professor Toshikazu Yoshikawa told The Asahi Shimbun/
According to the newspaper report, researchers applied methylparaben to skin in similar amounts to that found in cosmetics products. The skin was then exposed to 30 millijoules of ultraviolet rays per square centimeter – an amount that is deemed to be about the average daily amount of exposure during summer weather.
The researchers results showed that around 19 per cent of the exposed skin cells died, while the fatality rate for skin that did not contain methylparaben was about six per cent.
Furthermore the amount of lipid peroxide – a substance that speeds up the ageing process – was said to be about three times the total of that found in the untreated skin cells.
The researchers believe that these results would mean a higher rate of wrinkling, dark spots and other signs of ageing such as diminished skin tone.
In the past the paraben chemical family has been linked to cancers – particularly breast cancer in women. As a result manufacturers have been progressively moving away from the chemical as ingredients providers strive to come up with alternatives.
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