The use of paraben ingredients continues to be a topic of great discussion and debate. You have probably heard a great deal of information, as well as mis-information regarding this hot topic. In our continued effort to keep you informed on topics such as this, I wanted to summarize the facts and offer some insights surrounding the use of parabens in cosmetic products and make you aware of BeautiControl's position as it relates to this topic specifically and our commitment to cosmetic safety in general. In addition, I wanted to provide you with all the information you need to inform yourselves with the products we have in the line that contain parabens for those who wish to avoid the use of parabens in their product regimen.
What Are parabens?
Basically speaking, parabens are a class of highly effective preservatives that are used in a wide variety of foods, drugs, and cosmetics to keep products safe from microbial contamination…specifically bacterial and fungal contamination. Parabens are derived from benzoic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in fruit (particularly berries),cinnamon, cloves, dairy products and mushrooms.
What ingredients are considered “parabens”?
The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Typically, more than one paraben is used in a product, and they are often used in combination with other types of preservatives to provide preservation against a broad range of microorganisms. The use of mixtures of parabens allows the use of lower levels while increasing preservative activity.
What types of products contain parabens?
Parabens have been used for decades in cosmetics and prescription medications because they are non-toxic and are very effective at low concentrations to keep a product preserved. What you may not know is that parabens are also used in toothpaste, packaged goods, baked goods, candies, frozen dairy products, fruit juices, jellies and jams, marinated fish products, mayonnaise, mustard, processed vegetables, bottled sauces, beverages such as soft drinks, and syrups. Parabens are also present naturally in fruits, berries, vegetables, grains and many other foods that we consume on a daily basis.
Parabens, in fact, are found in higher concentrations in your food, pharmaceuticals, toothpaste and various items you are exposed to everyday than in your topically applied cosmetic products.
Why is there such controversy around the use of parabens in cosmetic products?
A number of studies since 1998 have raised concerns about the potential role ofparabens in breast cancer as these chemicals possess estrogenic properties and estrogen is known to play a central role in the development, growth and progression of breast cancer. In particular, a link was proposed between the disproportionate incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast and estrogenic chemicals in that region, maybe from local application of underarm cosmetic products. Further research found that parabens were present even in women who had never used underarm products. It is also important to note that parabens can be found in normal, healthy tissues and is not directly associated with the formation of cancerous cells. As a result, a broader questions was raised..”Where do these chemicals come from”?
While it was originally theorized that antiperspirants and deodorants that contained parabens might have soaked into breast tissue through armpit skin, further studies failed to substantiate that either deodorants or parabens were responsible for the development of cancer. Since there was a question of IFparabens played a role in the formation of cancer and HOW parabens were found in the body, many consumer groups declared parabens to be “cancer-causing” ingredients and, oddly enough, also declared cosmetics to be the source of the parabens, despite the fact that the most logical source of paraben absorption would be from an ingestible source since cosmetic levels of ingredients fail to penetrate the blood/brain barrier and enter the blood stream.
Because of the negative publicity surrounding parabens, many cosmetic companies have chosen to remove parabens from their formulations and replace them with new, paraben-free preservative options.
What is BeautiControl’s position in this issue?
Understanding that parabens continue to be the subject of negative publicity, we have been aware of the concern and have been avoiding them when possible in new product formulations since 2005.
There are times, however, that it is not in our consumer’s best interest to formulate without parabens. Parabens are the most comprehensive preservative system available for preserving against microbial contamination, which is why it is so frequently used in cosmetics, foods and pharmaceutical products. We will always formulate our products to be safe and well preserved as our first priority. Since there is no conclusive evidence to indicate that parabens used in cosmetic products pose a health risk, we will use parabens in formulations where we know they are the most effective way to guarantee the safety and efficacy of the formula. We always make it our first priority to protect our consumer from threats associated with microbial contamination of their products which can lead to skin irritations, and even blindness or more serious skin infections.
It is important to understand that while we may not use parabens as an added ingredient in a formula, there may be times that they will appear on the ingredient listing because it is used as a preservative for one of the raw materials included in the formula. By law, companies are required to list the raw ingredients used in each product. They are not, however, required to list each and every component of that ingredient, which includes its own preservative system. At BeautiControl, we feel strongly about allowing our consumers complete visibility and choose to list every ingredient included in the product, including those discretionary ingredients that are a part of the raw material itself. This is not the standard practice for all companies, and for someone who is concerned about this or any ingredient, they should be advised to find out if the company and the products from which they may be considering also have the same policy as it relates to complete ingredient disclosure.
What BeautiControl Products Contain Parabens?
*double click this image to enlarge or download the pdf version from BeautiNet>Forms on File>Products
BeautiControl’s commitment to safety!
At Beauticontrol, we follow strict guidelines established by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) was established in 1976 by the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association (CTFA) with support of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America. Although funded by CTFA, CIR and the review process are independent from CTFA and the cosmetics industry. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review thoroughly reviews and assesses the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics in an open, unbiased, and expert manner, and publishes the results in the open, peer-reviewed scientific literature.
The CIR Procedures established an Expert Panel to set priorities and review and assess ingredient safety data. The seven CIR Expert Panel voting members include physicians and scientists who have been publicly nominated by consumer, scientific and medical groups, government agencies and industry. Three liaison members serve as non-voting members representing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Consumer Federation of America and Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association (CTFA). By uniting industry, consumers and government, the Expert Panel creates a unique environment for discussions affecting public safety.
The Bottom Line
We are always cautious and concerned about the ingredients that we use in our products and are always looking for alternatives when an ingredient receives negative publicity. Unfortunately, parabens are ingredients that provide unparalleled benefits for formula preservation and have received negative press due to inaccurate and inconclusive evidence and information. I always say that now, because of the internet and the availability of information (both good and bad), today’s consumer is over-exposed and under-informed.
Your safety is our first concern, and I can assure you that the risks of using an unpreserved product far outweigh any risk associated with the topical application of parabens in your cosmetic products. As consumers, each of us has a responsibility to ourselves and our families to be informed and aware. All of the ingredients used in each of our products are visible and searchable on BeautiNet.com for our Consultants and Beauticontrol.com for our clients.
My advice to anyone who is determined to avoid any intake of parabens ingredients take particular precautions with drug products , deodorants, toothpastes, food products and prescription medications that will certainly get into the blood stream. The same would apply for other forms of preservatives or hormone manipulating ingredients found in our foods and other ingestibles.