Parabens inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds and have been used in personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, and sunscreens for years. The main reason for use of parabens is because they allow these products to survive for months, or years, during shipping and on store shelves. Parabens are one of the most commonly used ingredients in personal care products. The only ingredient used more frequently is water. Parabens were the cosmetic industry's prized preservatives. (Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens) They were stated for years to be harmless and safe. Just recently we have been presented with evidence through many study's that this states otherwise.
In these studies, parabens have shown estrogenic activity in lab tests - meaning that they mimic our body’s natural estrogen and may interfere with our endocrine systems (making them disruptors).
Our hormones govern the way our glands and organs function including the thyroid, pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal glands, and pancreas to the ovaries and testes.
So how does this really affect us?
To begin - the endocrine system is made up of glands and receptors.... glands that secrete and/or make hormones and receptor sites that "read" and react to hormones. Hormones themselves are the little chemical messengers that run around in our bodies transporting signals and instructions from one cell to another.
The gland writes the instructions, the receptor reads the instructions, and the hormones are the postmen.
Endocrine hormones are carried directly through the bloodstream to different parts of the body and orchestrated by the master conductor- the hypothalamus in the brain. (The hypothalamus is the “pentagon” of hormone production in your body.) The messages are sent through a hierarchical system - getting passed along through the body and when they reach their final destination they offer an important message for the cell when they arrive. These messages can be anything from growth and production regulation, activation of the immune system, metabolism regulation, reproductive cycle cues to mood messages and more.
Therefore, the messages should get to the cells that they need to direct without the blockades and barricades and masquerades that nasty little hormone disruptors provide.
The theory of endocrine disruptors is that a variety of synthetic chemical compounds that we are bombarded with everyday absorb into the body, then mimic or block natural hormones and disrupt our body's normal functions.
(As if someone else is posing as the postman, and tricks our bodies into thinking that they are receiving authentic messages - but they are not. By acting on these fraudulent messages, a whole array of problems can ensue.)
This is a somewhat a new theory and difficult to prove or disprove because chances are we could be exposed to literally thousands of endocrine disruptors on a daily basis. Plastics from our water bottle or hairspray, pesticides on our food, and fillers in our everyday cosmetics - the list goes on. It’s time that we recognize the lies and clarify which are the bad hormone copycats from the really bad perpetrators in our lifestyle. This external chemical exposure is residual and little by little these chemicals build up in our bodies.
Endocrine disruptors are stored in a body's fatty tissues and do not get flushed out with water, thus they accumulate over the years. It is now recognized that the dramatic increases of breast cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and thyroid cancer have been linked to exposure to environmental estrogens. In the past twenty-five years in the US, alone, thyroid cancer has increased more than 45%, with more women being affected than men, and has become the number one cancer in children under age twenty, many of whom suffered from fetal endocrine disruption exposures.
Recent reports from Britain show that parabens have been found in breast tumors and that they may be linked to breast cancer. The breastcancerfund.org states that parabens are weak estrogen mimickers - but more importantly, that they can increase the expression of certain genes that are directly linked to breast cancer. Yikes!
Please grab your ingredient top 10 to avoid, and bring awareness to this growing conundrum of hormone perpetrators, and the better investment for you and your “Beautiful Health.” The serious health implications mean that taking this issue seriously can have a profound impact on your health in the future!
Reference: Homemade Organics
References to learn more in-depth: