FAQs – Parabens


I am asked almost on a daily basis for my views on parabens.  I am met with outrage by some commenters who are mortified that I am recommending something that is ‘toxic’ and can ‘give you breast cancer’ (erm, no).
In short my response to those comments is always polite and explanatory but my response to websites spewing out this nonsense would really be ‘bollocks’ if I was being honest. Goop and the EWG have a lot to answer for. For example, in this article, Goop rages about how untrustworthy the beauty industry is because it uses the term ‘non-toxic’ because it means ‘absolutely nothing’. And then in this article, not only uses the term openly and frequently, but puts it in the title. Confused.com?

I have no problem with parabens. I don’t see them as toxic. I’m really beginning to hate the way that websites and some brands use that word for scare tactics or to make sales.
The word toxic is always dose-dependent. If a venomous snake bites you, you could die. If you take a little of that venom and use it to make an antivenom, it could save your life. It’s no longer ‘toxic’. It’s absolutely ‘toxic’ in large doses. But the word is not appropriate in the latter situation.

Yes parabens have been found in breast cancer tumours.
They are also present in breast tissue that has no tumours or cancer present.
They are also present in your wee.
That’s because you mostly break them down and pee them out.

I’m not a doctor, I’m not a cosmetic scientist, but tellingly, I have yet to work with one who has a problem with parabens.

Whilst it’s true that the USA do not do a good enough job of regulating the ingredients of beauty products, the FDA have done research on parabens and found them to be ‘completely safe for use in cosmetics’. Similarly the EU and Canada’s governing bodies. I’m even in agreement with Paula’s Choice website which has some great links to documented research if you want further reading.

Honestly? It will always come down to your personal feeling but I would just do your own research, try not read the Daily Fail, and the next time you go to a counter and say ‘Is it paraben-free?’ at least know why you are asking the question.