Are your Skin Care Products Excelerating your Aging Process?

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Are you excelerating your aging process with paraben laden products?

There is a potentially dangerous chemical that may be lurking in your anti-aging cream. In fact, it’s hard to find lotions, cosmetics, sun block, and many other beauty products that don’t contain this chemical. What is this harmful chemical? Parabens. Not only are parabens toxic, but they can also actually speed up the aging process in the skin.

Parabens are a group of chemicals included in the manufacturing of anti-aging cream and other beauty products because they help to inhibit bacteria growth in the product, thus lengthening their shelf life. If the list of ingredients on your anti-aging cream includes the terms propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben, your cream has parabens. Although these chemicals do have a preservative effect on the anti-aging cream, they have the opposite effect on your skin and body causing premature aging and sagging of your skin.

The first concern with parabens is that they are absorbed by the skin into the body. For instance, when you apply an anti-aging product containing parabens, the parabens are absorbed into your skin and accumulate in your body tissues. The breast tissue is of most concern since the majority of the people using cosmetics and anti-aging products are women. Although no firm connections have been made, an article in the May 2004 issue of the Journal of Applied Toxicology indicates parabens were found in each of 20 samples taken from human breast tumors. This is especially alarming since the parabens can mimic estrogen, a hormone that drives the growth of breast tumors in humans as stated in the article.

Another reason you should be concerned if parabens are included in your anti-aging product is that parabens can react with the sun’s UV rays in a way that may actually accelerate the aging process of skin.

You buy and use an anti-aging product in hopes it will make you look younger. This may not always be the case for products including parabens as preservatives. Always check the list of ingredients on your anti-aging product to make sure there are no dangerous chemicals lurking there.

What are parabens?

Parabens are a large collection of synthetic chemical products found in most skin care and cosmetic products including moisturizers, shampoos, foundation, face powder, exfoliants, baby products… There are thousands of skin care products that contain parabens, the list is endless.

The reason parabens are put into skin care products is they have an antibacterial effect and act as a preservative.

So what? There are two problems.

The first and most serious one is the potential for parabens to be absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream from where they can lodge in our fatty tissues. As women are the main users of these products, the breast tissue is of particular concern.

Parabens mimic the hormone estrogen and can be absorbed by the breast tissue. In fact parabens, in their unconverted form, have been found in breast tumours.

What’s the other problem with parabens?

Anti aging products are bought by both men and women in the hope of preserving the appearance of their skin. The problem is that some parabens can react to the UV rays in sunlight to produce a substance that actually accelerates aging.

No problems, you may think, I’ll just wear a sun block.

Good idea, you should be wearing one anyway. Just check the label though because… guess what? That’s right, parabens are even found in certain sun protection products.

How can I tell if there are parabens in the products I use?

It’s very difficult because they go under so many different names! Some of the more recognisable ones are: Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Aseptoform Butyl and Benzoic acid. Parabens have many synonyms so without knowing all the names, which is virtually impossible, reading the label will only add to further confusion.

It’s fairly safe to say if you see several long names you can’t pronounce on the back of a product, there’s a paraben lurking somewhere inside! Over 90% of skin care products, contain these chemicals. They are there because they are cheap and until recently, considered relatively safe.

The FDA has requested cosmetic companies to test the various ingredients they use to manufacture their products (May 2005). While they are to be commended for this, the process is laboriously slow and ongoing.

By: Dr Lynne Kavulich

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