Parabens? Belly Dancers, Do You Know What's In Your Make-Up?
Not long after New Year's, your HipMix.net team urged you to detox your pantry - if you can’t pronounce the first five ingredients - throw it out. Should the same rules apply to your health and beauty cosmetics? More and more beauty products are rolling off the line with a “PARABEN FREE” label stamped across their pretty package. What's the big deal for belly dancers? Is this some new organic gimmick?
Yes and No.
Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products. They stop fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favorite creams and make-up; especially in the warm, moist environment of a bathroom. Ever wonder what's in your favorite shampoo, foundation, or mascara that keeps it smelling clean and fresh? It's probably methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben or a host of other chemical preservatives. Whew, try saying those names five times fast!
Over the past few years, a debate has been building among scientists, product safety regulators and cosmetic manufactures about whether these chemicals, used for almost 70 years, may be harmful to our health. Up to 60 percent of whatever we place on our skin goes into our blood stream. Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers in males and females, declining sperm counts and can disrupt the endocrine system. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel contend that parabens safe at current exposure levels after examining products in 1984, and again in 2005. The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products confirmed that the use of methyl- and ethylparabens is safe as regulated.
Some manufacturers have gone on the record about their long term plans to err on the side of caution and find paraben replacements for their products. Currently, Jamieson Laboratories has five paraben-free products, and expect more to come. Beauty mavens Redken and Lavera Organic have also introduced a line of organic and/or paraben free products.
Take note that words like "natural" and "organic" do not mean paraben-free. Don't be misled by the front label. Among the ingredients, printed in small letters at the bottom of the back label is where you will find the parabens family. While various natural preservatives such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, grapefruit seed extract and lavender oil are all being tested as replacements, until a suitable replacement is found, any paraben free lotions and creams you do try should be stored in the fridge.
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