What are Parabens?

If you’re like most people, you strive to give your hair the best possible care. And one of the most effective ways to do that is to use hair products with wholesome ingredients that are good for your hair and don’t put your health at risk. Among the most widely criticized ingredients you'll find in hair care products is parabens. In the interest of your hair's health, it's incredibly important to learn what parabens are and whether you should include paraben-containing products in your hair care routine. 

Parabens Defined

To get things started, we'll give you a clear definition of parabens. Parabens are chemical preservatives that pop up in a wide variety of hair care products, from shampoos to styling creams to deep conditioners. They are synthetic, meaning that they aren't naturally derived. The purpose of parabens is to increase the shelf life of a given product by slowing down spoilage. At first, you may think that parabens are harmless, but there's more to it. 

Why Parabens are Controversial in Haircare

Parabens are one of those no-no ingredients that people try to avoid in their haircare products. Why? It's been found that parabens can cause a wide range of side effects and even increase your likelihood of health problems. Here are a few problems that are believed to stem from the topical use of parabens: 

  • Disruption of the body's hormones, leading to hormone-related disorders. 

  • Diminished female and male fertility. 

  • An increased risk of developing cancer. 

  • Skin irritation after using paraben-containing products on the hair or scalp. Left untreated, skin irritation can lead to open sores and an elevated infection risk. 

*There's no guarantee that you'll experience any of the above issues if you use a product that contains parabens, but the risk is still there. 

It's easy to see why people don't necessarily want parabens in their products. But how do you avoid them? 

The answer is to learn all you can about them. 

How to Determine Whether Parabens are in Your Products

After finding out what parabens are capable of doing, many will do all they can to avoid them. And if that's the route you want to take, all you need to do is learn how to spot them. 

Take a look at the product labels on each of your hair care products and see if any of these paraben derivatives is listed there: 

  • Isopropylparaben

  • Butylparaben

  • Propylparaben

  • Isobutylparaben

  • Methylparaben

  • Ethylparaben

When you're out shopping, be vigilant. Take a look at product labels and ensure that they don't contain any of the above ingredients (or any ingredients that contain the term “paraben”).

The great news is that many of the big hair care brands (as well as smaller brands) don't formulate their products with parabens. So, you won't find the chemical in many of your favorite products. But if you do, toss it and replace it with a different product. We hope that you found this article to be helpful and we wish you the best on your haircare journey! 




Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

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