5 Reasons You Should Try Paraben-Free Haircare
A paraben is a chemical that’s used to preserve lots of different products. In fact, about 80% of products have parabens in them. They’re used to make sure that no mold or bacteria grow in the product. Any product that contains water will probably have parabens in it, as this man-made chemical is one of the most ubiquitous preservatives of our time. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood chemical preservatives around. Many believe them to be harmful, and if you keep reading, you’ll find out why it might be a good idea to try paraben-free haircare.
What are parabens?
A paraben is an antimicrobial compound that keeps products from developing bacterial colonies inside of them and extends their shelf life. Parabens can kill bacteria in a number of different ways, and the most common types of parabens include methyl parabens, butyl parabens, and propyl parabens. Although parabens are found naturally, the ones we use in our products are synthetic.
The chemical process of making a synthetic paraben starts with taking salicylic acid, which is found in the bark of a willow tree and is the main active ingredient in aspirin. That is converted into another compound, which is the salt form of salicylic acid. This is then heated, which allows the atoms to rearrange so that it can be heated in the presence of sulfuric acid to get methylparaben, which is the most common type of paraben. In a nutshell, synthetic parabens are a derivative of willow bark that is then put through a variety of processes to get methylparaben. You can find it in shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays, cosmetics, skincare products and even cleaning products.
Five reasons you should try paraben-free haircare
So, if parabens are derived from something natural like willow bark, why is there so much controversy surrounding them?
They are irritating to the scalp
When used as an ingredient in shampoo or conditioner, parabens can be incredibly irritating to the scalp. Common effects include itchiness, dryness, and a rough texture to the hair. Consider using a natural shampoo instead to keep your hair clean, nourished, and strong.
They affect hormonal health
Parabens are one of many chemicals that the body treats as estrogen and too much estrogen can cause hormone dysregulation, which can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate hormones effectively. Unfortunately, parabens are easily absorbed through the skin and scalp, and over time they can accumulate to the point where they affect bodily functions.
They’ve been associated with cancer
One study conducted in 2004 found parabens inside the malignant tumors of 19 out of 20 women. This is obviously a cause for concern, as the study showed a high concentration of parabens in the area, indicating an accumulation of the compound over time.
They’re negatively affecting the environment
Parabens have been known to cause ecological damage. They can cause coral destruction, and they’ve been found in surface water, sediments, and even in fish.
They can cause reproductive harm
Another reason why you should avoid parabens is that they’ve been associated with low sperm count and motility. And this is all from low-level exposure to the compound through the use of cosmetic products that are preserved with it. This can be a source of major reproductive stress for both men and women, further highlighting the need to switch to paraben-free haircare and skincare. There are plenty of options available out there from brands like Davines that realize that there are other ways to preserve products without parabens. It’s all about making choices that are good for your health and the environment.