Parabens in anti-stretch mark creams and other cosmetics.
We have gone from being a society that did not care about what it consumed to one in which we look with a magnifying glass at everything we have to eat, drink, even apply to our skin, as in the case of creams. Sugar, palm oil and now parabens.
What are parabens?
Explained in a simple way that everyone will understand, parabens are chemical components that act as a preservative in all types of cosmetics. That is to say, they are responsible for making our creams last for years and years..., they are responsible for killing bacteria and thus preserving the cosmetics we use, increasing their lifespan and safety.
But then, where is the problem?
These chemical compounds are under suspicion that they may alter the hormonal balance of our body, an action known as endocrine disrupting. The increase in hormonal problems in recent decades or diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity, could be related to these substances so present in our daily lives. Other consequences of use that are associated with them are: breast cancer, sexual problems in men, premature aging, skin allergies, ...
Although, they are under suspicion, cosmetics manufacturers and creams such as anti-stretch mark creams can use them, but with certain restrictions and controls.
Parabens and pregnancy
If you are pregnant, it is advisable to avoid creams and any other product containing parabens as much as possible, because your baby may be affected in its immune system, also with reproductive disorders, even its intelligence may be affected. The presence of xenoestrogens in parabens, in high concentrations act as false hormones that directly affect the uterus causing the growth of the endometrium.
For pregnant women it is common to use anti-stretch marks and anti-cellulite creams, you should pay close attention that they do not contain parabens or simply replace them with natural creams without any chemicals.
So, are products with parabens dangerous?
Before you become alarmed, although it is true that many products are marketed with these substances, their concentration is so low in cosmetics that their effect on the body is practically negligible. Keep in mind that the Spanish Medicines Agency ensures that no cosmetic product on the market is harmful to health.
In any case, it is interesting to know what each thing is, to identify it, to know how it works and to have the option to choose.
Parabens allowed under European cosmetics legislation
Methylparaben (or E218) and ethylparaben (or E214): Used in permitted concentrations, they are safe. They are effective and safe as preservatives. Normally, they will appear at the end of the ingredient list of the anti-stretch mark cream (which means they are present in low amounts). These preservatives should not exceed 0.4% concentration in a product (or 0.8% if mixed).
Butylparaben and proylparaben (or E216): Their concentration is usually low, but the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, SCCS, has suggested lowering the legal concentration limit. Recently, the European Commission has limited the use of these parabens to 0.14%, both when used alone and in mixtures. They are also banned in products intended for the diaper area for children under 3 years of age, such as baby diaper creams, as the skin in the diaper area may be damaged or irritated, which increases the risk of absorption of these substances.
The OCU recommends that as a precaution, butylparaben and propylparaben should be avoided in products that remain on the skin (creams and body lotions) for several hours in children under 3 years of age and pregnant women.
The European Union banned in 2014 the parabens isopropylparaben and isobutylparaben, and others such as phenylparaben, benzylparaben or pentylparaben ,very little used. It is considered that there is not enough information on their risks so it is not possible to evaluate their safety and therefore they should not be used.
Girls who read me from other countries outside Europe, be guided by this information when buying a product. It would be complicated to know and write about the legislation of each country, state, ..., regarding the use of parabens.
If you want to buy paraben-free products, look for "paraben free" or "paraben free" labels.
And if you finally decide to buy any of the products with parabens, try to store them away from direct light, avoid very high or very low temperatures and close them tightly after use.
To distinguish them quickly in the list of ingredients of your product, keep in mind that they all end in "PARABEN", but be careful that some are camouflaged as (E214, E216, ...).
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