As you wash your hair or put on your makeup, the last thing you are likely worried about is whether your favourite shampoo or foundation is going to cause cancer.
But, guess what? New studies show that a whopping 99 percent of all breast cancer cells contain parabens—chemicals known, without a doubt, to be linked to cancer. (1)
The most common of these chemicals are methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben, all of which are used as preservatives in such things as your hair-care products (shampoos, conditioners, gels etc.), makeup, moisturizers (both face and body), as well as most shaving creams and gels. (2)
And despite the fact that a few brands of antiperspirants and deodorants do not contain parabens, most also contain aluminum, which is further linked to breast cancer (3) as well as Alzheimer’s disease. (4)
While you may prefer the enticing aroma of your beauty products, the problem with parabens is that they have “estrogen-like” properties, and as countless studies show, excessive estrogen is irrefutably linked to the development of breast cancer. (5)
When your body is exposed to chemicals that mimic the properties of estrogen, you can experience a situation known as “estrogen dominance,” which can lead to such things as reduced muscle mass, extra fat storage (especially in the belly area), and in men, what is known as male gynecomastia (breast growth) to name only a few of the growing number of issues caused by too much estrogen in both men and women. (6,7)
In the many studies that now link parabens to breast cancer, what is noteworthy is that most of the chemicals are actually found in the breast tissue closest to the underarm (the axilla quadrant) of the breast, which is also where cancerous tumors are typically found. It is no coincidence this area is also where you typically apply deodorant and antiperspirants.
How Do You Protect Yourself?
There is no doubt that beauty products are a major part of our lives. There is no getting around this. They not only help us feel good about ourselves, but they serve an actual need beyond our vanity—that of basic hygiene.
So what are you supposed to do when these same products may also harm you and your family members?
Well, for starters, don’t look to regulatory boards such as the Food and Drug Association (FDA) to step in right now as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) does not actually authorize the FDA to approve cosmetic ingredients (except some color additives in hair dyes). (8)
In fact, for the most part, cosmetic manufacturers can essentially use anything they want in their products, apart from some obvious ingredients that are prohibited by regulation. (9)
And even though the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has openly stated that parabens are harmful to not only our personal health, but also the environment, regulations to date still do not prevent companies from adding these toxic chemicals to our beauty products.
The EPA states, “Studies show that some sunscreens and parabens demonstrate estrogenicity and multiple hormonal activities in vitro. Because of the high consumption volume and high lipophilicity of sunscreens, these compounds [parabens] have the potential to enter and persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in tissues of living organisms.” (10)
So, until governmental bodies make significant changes to what they will allow companies to add to our cosmetics and beauty products, the responsibility to find safe products lies with you. With that in mind, here are a few things you can do.