4 Reasons Why you Shouldn't Use Parabens in Shampoo
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According to the FDA, parabens are “a family of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products.” Preservatives are compounds essential to the shelf life of products, for they prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. They are both killers of microorganisms as well as a deterrent for them to grow, so making sure parabens in shampoo don’t harm human consumers is important.
However, parabens being a powerful tool to preserve products, is not a very good chemical to lather on your skin and scalp. Parabens in shampoo and conditioner, as well as other hair and cosmetic products, are fairly essential to a customer looking for a long-lasting product to conveniently use for a while, but products with parabens won’t achieve the best results for healthy and luxurious hair.
If you’re buying a product and wondering how natural the ingredients are or if you want to avoid parabens yourself, you can always check the ingredients list. However, reading through all the chemical ingredients and just the simple length of the list is quite exhausting, so here is a tip for skim: Look for anything ending in -paraben (Examples: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, heptylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, benzylparaben).
Some products if you’re looking for it, will have a paraben-free label if you don’t want to go through the trouble of reading the ingredients list. These products are usually advertised to be healthier high-end alternatives with natural ingredients. Most drug-store brand products that are more affordable will have parabens in shampoo, so it is unlikely you will find a paraben-free product for cheap. For more information on natural shampoo and conditioner ingredients, read here.
The scariest things about parabens you hear about on the internet are mostly true and backed by research, although a little exaggerated. Here are the claims people have made about parabens in shampoo, but explanations as to why those claims were made.
Parabens in shampoo are known to affect estrogen levels in both males and females. This is because the chemical compound that makes up parabens are related to that of estrogen, and according to the National Institutes of Health, “Parabens are rapidly metabolized, [so] they may interfere with other estrogen catabolic or conjugating enzymes, thereby leading to elevated estrogen levels. Several studies showed that parabens can easily penetrate human skin.”
In fact, parabens are a banned ingredient in the European Union because of its unknown toxicity levels in the long term, so you won't find parabens in shampoo to be a problem in Europe.
Parabens in shampoo are an antibacterial cleansing agent. Antibacterial chemicals are always harsh on organic tissues, and therefore not suitable for sensitive skin. This means that under constant exposure, someone with eczema, dermatitis, or sensitive skin may experience mild forms of irritation, itchiness, redness, or breakouts. These symptoms are similar to that of putting materials like alcohol, cleaning sprays, or antibacterials on their skin.
Parabens, since they are used as a cleanser of microbes, can cause irritation in the scalp and drying of hair, which leads to dry hair and dandruff. Sulfates are the number one cause of dandruff, but parabens in shampoo come in shortly after. Not to mention, if you have sensitive skin after harshly treating your hair and scalp with inorganic cleansers like the two above, then you will be prone to scratch and cleaning even more often, which is a primary factor in the development of flaky skin and dandruff.
Parabens in shampoo, since they are absorbed easily through the skin, have been established to be bad for scalp health. Bad scalp health leads to weak hair follicles that will then have hair fall out easily. This weakening of your hair’s roots will be bound to happen after constant exposure, so you will be losing hair at a younger age than normally if parabens are constantly used in your cosmetics and daily consumption.
Sulfates, which are cleansing compounds you may find in lathering products, actually fade hair color more than parabens do. Parabens in shampoo are not used for deep cleaning like sulfates are. Sulfates are not ideal for someone who is looking to preserve dyed hair or even natural hair color, since it is a harsher cleanser than one needs for their scalp and hair. However, people do value sulfates and parabens in shampoo for their efficiency in cleaning and preservation.
Sulfates and parabens will be found in drugstore shampoos and even high-end haircare items. If you want to avoid fading colors in your hair, you will have to look carefully for the best product that does not have either ingredient.
Back to the FDA, parabens have been approved for a while already. They are not extremely harmful as in, they don't have any immediate detrimental effects. Parabens in shampoo are no major exception, but for long-term effects, they should be reconsidered since they are not a natural chemical compound that we should be exposing our bodies to. The detriments of parabens far outweigh the immediate benefit
of preserving your products.
The FDA has classified two common forms of parabens: methylparaben and propylparaben as “Generally Regarded As Safe”. These two parabens are most commonly used by the populace and find their way into both cosmetics and preserving food. If you can’t find hair care products that are paraben free and affordable, these two forms of parabens in shampoo are the safer options to have.
RKT Hair does not use parabens in shampoo and instead focuses on natural ingredients over the preservation of products for long-term use. Natural ingredients like aloe vera, ginseng, niacinamide, and peptides all have no harmful effects when absorbed into the scalp, leaving your hair, at its roots, happy and healthy for the long term.