This discussion on Parabens begins with what they are, found in a previous blog post entitled: What are Parabens? If you want to start from the beginning, head back here and read this first: What are Parabens?
This post is a continuation of how they can be harmful and why you should avoid them.
Will exposure to parabens harm you?
That’s a good question that a lot of people ask. In small doses, no. Our bodies can defend it as long as we have a robust immune system.
However, repeated exposure builds up in your body. It can’t discard all of these chemicals all at one time. So we have direct exposure to these multiple products we use daily, and the chemicals build in us continually. Prolonged and repeated exposure results in adverse side effects in the long run.
Are Parabens Harmful to Children?
Parabens, like phthalates, are very harmful to children because children are susceptible when our babies are in the womb when they’re developing physically, even during adolescents when their hormones are developing and puberty.
We avoid parabens in our home and for our children. But, unfortunately, at some point in life, they will be exposed to parabens. I have no doubt they have some level of parabens in their systems already. However, suppose I can minimize their exposure to parabens at a young age when all the developmental things are happening in their body and mind. In that case, I can sleep better at night knowing they have a better chance of a healthier adult life with fewer adverse effects.
Are Parabens Safe for Tweens and Teens?
They have done studies on adolescent girls when they start wearing makeup. And those teenage girls that wore makeup every day had 20 times the levels of parabens in their system than those that never wore makeup or rarely wore it. The use of face and body lotions has also skyrocketed the paraben levels in the same age range of children.
The point I have in this is that if your teens or tweens are going to be using personal care products, I would love, love, love if you started looking at their products and their ingredients. Suppose you’re not ready to make the changes for yourself. So be it! But see if you can help your children have a better chance of having a long, healthy life.
Parabens and Girls
If you are interested in products specific to girl tweens and teens, bookmark my website and check back closer to Christmas. This year I am curating a special one-time box of Clean Tween & Teen products that are safe for everyday use. Details and photos will be available soon. With the help of my in-house tweens, I have no doubt this box will be a hit with all girls.
I did a podcast last Tuesday, which you can check out here: Tween Make-Up Podcast with Eco Mama. The interview is with my two daughters and one of their girlfriends. We talked about the tween years of going into makeup and why it’s essential to have clean ingredients, but I got the girls’ perspective, and it was super sweet and so fun. My one daughter, I think, could have her podcast. She just like ran away with a show. And it’s entertaining. We talk about wearing makeup and the importance of knowing what you’re putting on your skin and washing it off every night. And why kids want to be in the makeup.
Parabens and Boys
If you have a tween or a teen, please check their ingredients, and help them understand the products they’re using and if they will be using products at this age, which all girls do—some boys. Even my son, my son wanted hair gel before my girls did. It’s hilarious. And I told him that I only had to go to the store where mommy needed to look at the ingredients, and I would try to find him a cleaner brand. He asked, and he asked, and he asked, he asked, and I kept putting it off and procrastinating, hoping he would forget. Then another two weeks passed, and I still hadn’t gotten him anything. I wanted to get online to find a good hair product for him. And he just got to the point where he’s like, mom. I don’t think you’re ever going to do it. Well, of course, that crushed my little mama’s heart. So I’m like, all right, let’s get in the car. He’s like, what? And I’m like, yeah, let’s go, and we went to Whole Foods.
Not everything at Whole Foods is things that I would approve of, but I do check the ingredients on the back of them. I did find a hair gel that wasn’t as bad as the others. It’s something that I felt safe using for my son. And sure enough, he used it every day for like three months. It was awesome. I was glad that I didn’t waste money on that product.
Anyway, girls and boys are going to be using them.
What are the Different Kinds of Parabens?
There are different types of parabens. ‘ Also known as’ is vital to pay attention to in these ingredients because so many now refer to initials, and you don’t know what they mean.
Parabens are Also Known As:
There are not as many initials in parabens as there were in phthalates. With parabens, the root of the word, it will be at its very end. Some examples are ISO butyl, butyl, ISO propyl, and propylparaben. Anything with the word paraben on it is considered a long-chain paraben. So if you see the word paraben, my advice is to put it back on the shelf and keep walking.
When I first talked about endocrine disruption and cancer, they found the types of cancers related to parabens, particularly breast cancer in women, because an endocrine disruptor can mimic estrogen and women’s bodies.
Do Parabens Harm Our Environment?
Parabens can hurt more than just people. These are artificial preservatives created for products. Well, what happens to products after we use them? Did they disappear into thin air? No. Unused products are going to hit landfills or get burned. They need discarding somehow. Right? If the products are not biodegradable, or the packaging is not very degradable, they will stick around for a long time. It’s going to take a while for these things to break down. In addition, let’s say you use these products only, and the container ends up in the landfill.
The lotion absorbs into your skin. Now there was some residual still there. So when you showered that night before bed, it went down the drain. Eventually, it makes its way back to our streams and our oceans. It’s just the cycle of water and how it’s recycled. They have found that butyl- Parabon can kill coral.
The dangers of parabens have become more and more evident over the years. Thankfully, you have more options when it comes to looking for paraben-free. However, I would not go so far as to say that most products are paraben-free.
Know Your Ingredients
I believe in being fully transparent, and I only use brands that are fully transparent with me. So I drove to a farmer’s market to an event to find local cottage market artisans, where I met this woman, Cindy, with Herb Garden Soaps. We started talking. She described all the changes she had made since starting her business. A facial mask is one of the products she has, in addition to the soaps she makes, and it was in a little glass jar and a powder.
And she said, ‘you know, I went back and forth on how to provide my products. I learned that to make this face mask last longer. I had to have preservatives to it if I added water. But, if I sell the powder and let my customers mix it with water themselves, not only does it prolong the shelf life, I don’t have to add any artificial preservatives, such as parabens, to make it last longer. So I do not add water to my products. I provide the powder on these.’
I loved learning that from her.
I’m grateful that some people pay attention to this, but they’re making products using the knowledge they’ve gained on what is safer for us. I’m so grateful for all these small businesses creating safe things for everyone.
It’s not the end of the world to have to make your products. But it is exhausting. It’s time-consuming. And frankly, I’ve got other things that others do with my day. So I’m glad there’s someplace where I can go and find these things that I enjoy using every day.
Where can I find products without Parabens?
If you are unfamiliar with our ECO CRATES, I encourage you to look at them. You can visit A Year of Crates to see our subscriptions and the Made In the USA products we curate. In that case, every product we provide in our crates is free of parabens and many other harmful chemicals commonly found in our everyday products.
If you have littles, Sudsy Souls is a great resource and supplier of high-quality bath products for little kids, also free of harmful chemicals, including parabens.
Have a wonderful and Blessed week!