Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in various cosmetic products, such as: deodorants, lotions, soaps and more. The most commonly used are ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and methylparaben. They are primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. Lately, the awareness to the risk of their use has increased due to various scientific researches, especially in deodorants for their daily use. On the subject of toxicity and the negative effects on the human body due to the use of parabens in cosmetic products, dozens of articles were published and more and more are added constantly. This major hype drew the attention to the connection between the chemicals and chronic diseases such as Cancer, and especially Breast cancer.

What are parabens?

Parabens as preservatives are found in many cosmetic products on the market. These substances have a very good ability to kill bacteria, and therefore are used in products that contain water in order to prevent bacterial growth and subsequent deterioration of the products. The parabens are rapidly absorbed through the skin cells and into the body, which has the ability to take it apart and to put it out of the body through urine. These compounds are irritating to the skin and in many cases, cause skin irritation and allergies. Due to these risks and in order to protect our health, several cosmetic companies have switched to the use of alternate preservatives in their products, and the most commonly used are Sodium Benzoate which, in the medicine industry, is used for treating skin infections and acne, and Dehydroacetic Acid, which kills microorganisms and prevents their growth and reproduction.

Cancer and parabens

In recent years, the number of people with breast cancer has significantly grown in the western world. Research has shown that lifestyle may be one of the main reasons. Clinical studies have also shown a large disparity between incidents of breast cancer in the upper quarter (near the armpit) and in other areas of the breast. This finding supports the evidence of the connection between everyday use of underarm cosmetics (especially deodorants and antiperspirants) and breast cancer. The skin in the armpit area is highly sensitive and easily injured during shaving, and thus facilitates the penetration of harmful substances into the body.

Parabens = estrogen?

High concentration of estrogen is also associated with the increased risk of breast cancer, such as estrogen therapy in the menopause. The parabens were found to develop similar activity to the estrogens. Clinical studies on women with breast cancer have shown secondary growths around the armpits, and one of the ways the cancer cells can reach these areas is by the use of cosmetics containing parabens. There’s an argument between several scientists who claim that due to the parabens’ relatively low concentration and activity, which is smaller than estrogen, cannot be associated with breast cancer. On the other hand, a new study found that the methylparaben can cause skin damage; including changes in the joint action of sunlight and enzymes in the skin.

Parabens free deodorants?

In light of current knowledge, daily use of deodorants and antiperspirants containing parabens, along with substances that prevent the secretion of sweat and dirt, may increase the likelihood of breast cancer. In order to avoid such risks, you should look for parabens free deodorants. By the use of such product, not only you’re keeping your skin safe, but also your health.