We have all heard by now that Paraben’s aren’t good for you… Why not? Where do you find them? What are they are what do they do?

Paraben’s are found in most of our everyday products, from shampoo’s to moisturisers, deodorants, face creams, make up, sun screens and food additives, to name a few.  They are basically a group of chemicals widely used as low cost preservatives.

They are often listed under various names such as Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Heptylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben and Isobutylparaben.

The controversy is over the risk of them causing breast cancer tumours and they have also displayed the ability to slightly mimic estrogen (a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancer). A particular concern is that the estrogen-mimic aspect of parabens may be a factor in the increasing prevalence of early puberty in girls. One to seriously ponder when you think of their prevalence in daily life…

Other concerns are their potential link to decreased sperm count or to the disruption of our endocrine systems. The skin is the biggest organ in the body through which they are being absorbed on a daily basis. Surely that can’t be a good thing?

I’ve been using a more natural body wash for our family for quite a while now and when I was on holiday in Europe last month I reluctantly had change to a local supermarket brand as we couldn’t find another option. All of us immediately noticed the skin becoming drier and itchy. I first thought it could be the water too but on return from holidays I tested it for a day and noticed the same thing, especially the itchy skin. The body wash was swiftly binned, a good trial though to remind me how a natural alternative really works.

Another one to watch is your sun screen, especially if you have children and are layering on the sunscreen daily throughout the summer, we have switched to a more natural alternative and it definitely doesn’t clog up the skin as much or cause any irritation.

There are a lot of products out there these days which are you can find without Paraben’s and other synthetic chemicals.  Just ask at your local health shop, order online, or if you are feeling very brave you could experiment with making your own… Others nasties to watch out for are Sodium Lauryl/ Laureth Sulfates or Phthalates…