It’s natural to be wary of the cosmetics you buy, especially when there’s a list of ingredients a mile long. The $56-billion US industry uses more than 57,000 ingredients in their products. Part of the concern exists because of the current state of regulation. Then, there’s the matter of the potential health risks from using certain products.
Unfortunately, the situation isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem on the surface. That’s why it’s essential for you as the consumer to do your homework and get the facts. One issue that has garnered a lot of attention is the use of parabens in skin care and cosmetics. Let’s delve into the thick of things with the lowdown on the controversy.
Below these reviews we disclose all you want to know (and more) about paraben free and non-toxic makeup brands.
What Are Parabens And Why Are They Used?
Parabens are a special class of chemicals used as preservatives in a wide range of products from shampoos to makeup to food. Their purpose is to prevent and inhibit the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and fungi. And we’re talking some nasty stuff here like E. coli and Staphylococcus strains.
It’s easy to understand why we need something to do the job. Think of how you use makeup. Do you always wash your hands before applying them? Do you share cosmetics? And do you replace them frequently enough? Bad habits can affect the safety of any product that isn’t used correctly even paraben-free makeup.
Cosmetic companies use parabens because they’re effective and cheap. Most products are mass-produced, so manufacturers look for ways to keep their costs down while following federal regulations. But is that a guarantee of safety?
Are Parabens Harmful?
Parabens or any ingredient in any product you consume or use on your skin can hurt you if you are allergic to it. That’s why you’ll see labels with wording that encourages you to try something new on a small area of your skin first. A bad reaction can cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis. Symptoms include:
- Red, itchy rash
The best way to prevent these unpleasant and sometimes harmful effects is avoidance. It can be hard to pinpoint a precise cause with so many ingredients included in some products. That’s where we turn to the research for answers.
The concern about parabens in soap and other skincare products exist because of experiments done in yeast and mice cells that suggest estrogenic activity. That raised questions about whether those same effects could occur in people because the use of parabens is so widespread.
The problem rests not with a single exposure as much as it does with accumulation in tissues sensitive to this hormone. That’s why you hear it mentioned with breast cancer and male infertility. A study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology found traces in women with breast cancer who used paraben-containing deodorant.
However, they also detected it in women who didn’t use these products. All of this information leads science to a dilemma. The only way to establish a true link between cause and effect is to set up an experiment that would monitor participants who used paraben-containing products intentionally and then see what happens.
Doing so would be like asking someone to smoke to prove that it causes cancer. That, of course, would be unconscionable. Instead, science has to rely on observational data which can only reveal associations but not cause and effect. What we do know for sure is that more research is needed.
One other concern rests with skin absorption. That’s why you might consider using paraben-free makeup. Normally, the skin acts as a barrier to anything in the environment. Parabens are unique in that your skin can absorb them easier than other chemicals.
Why Hasn’t The FDA Banned Parabens?
You may wonder why parabens are still around if there is even a question of its safety. To put this issue into perspective, let’s begin with how federal regulation operates in the industry. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetics for their safety. However, there are several caveats to that statement.
First, its authority comes federal law. That places restrictions on what they can and cannot do. For example, cosmetic manufacturers and those producing dietary supplements do not have to get pre-market approval to sell their products like drug companies. Instead, they act in a reactive way to problems that occur or if something is mislabeled.
In other words, they don’t have the special authority to regulate preservatives specifically in cosmetics with parabens. Second, Congress has to get involved for that to change. Fortunately, help is on the way with the proposed Personal Care Products Safety Act that would give the agency more power to get involved with this issue.
If you’re still worried, you still have other options that you can consider. You can let your concerns be known with what products you purchase. That’s your power as a consumer. The matter doesn’t rest with legislation alone.
Parabens To Watch Out For
In the meantime, you don’t have to wait for science and Congress to figure out what to do. You can choose cosmetics without parabens and phthalates. We’ll first need to delve into some chemistry to help you make informed decisions.
Parabens come in several forms, depending on their use. Butylparaben is a common one you’ll see in cosmetics because of its antibacterial properties. Ethylparaben is a food additive. Manufacturers use propylparaben in water-based products. You’re probably see a pattern here.
Other derivatives you may noticeinclude isobutylparaben, methylparaben, and heptylparaben. You won’t see all of these in cosmetics, but you may find helpful to be aware of other forms that you may note are in foods, other skin care products, and pharmaceuticals.
Parabens describe a group of chemicals with a similar chemical structure. Look for that suffix when you review the ingredients to make sure it is indeed paraben-free makeup. Many compounds also have shortened names. In this case, you may see them listed in a letter-number combination like E218, E216, or E209.
Ingredients That Should Be In Paraben Free Makeup
Organic skin and hair care products are an excellent source for you to check out for paraben-free makeup. These brands are often cruelty-free, gluten-free along with their certification on their roundup of ingredients. Marketers know that people who purchase these products often care about parabens too.
Many of these products contain natural ingredients like plant extracts, essential oils, and a host of vitamins and other nutrients. Manufacturers will use sources like spices or coffee to add color rather than artificial ones. You will see others identified labels organic.The manufacturer must seek certification to use that term legally on its packaging. The FDA isn’t involved with that regulation. Instead, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service oversees this facet of the industry. Cosmetic companies must follow the same rules as food manufacturers.
Best Paraben Free Makeup List of Brands And Products
We understand how important it is to choose the right products for your skin. That why we tested out the best paraben-free makeup products on the shelves and came up with our own ‘best’ list to guide you when sorting through the myriad of natural makeup brands.
COVERGIRL LashBlast Fusion Mascara
- Fiber stretch formula
- Bigger, fuller, longer looking lashes
- Also available in a water resistant formula
The 3D Fiber Lash Mascara blew us away with how great it made our lashes look with no clumping. We loved the volume and length it added that you could use even if you wear contacts. The fact that the manufacturer doesn’t test on animals was another important factor in our pick.
The mascara is water-resistant rather than waterproof which makes it easier to remove without resorting to harsh makeup removers. It comes with a tube of mascara Gel, a tube of dry micro Fibers for touch-ups and a recyclable carrying case for an eco-friendly option.
Clarifying Face Toner
The Clarifying Face Toner provides a solid foundation for good-looking skin with a paraben-free and cruelty-free start to your skincare routine. It contains several natural ingredients you’ll likely know well including lavender, green tea extract, and tea tree oil. Edelweiss extract adds a layer of UV protection to keep your skin looking wrinkle-free.
We liked the fact that it is dermatologist-tested for the extra bit of assurance for safety. You can use it for all skin types even sensitive skin. Besides that, it smells great.
Best For: Facial Toner
Always Remove Your Makeup Before Bed
You should always follow proper skin care even if you use paraben-free makeup. One of the reasons that will influence the FDA’s decision to move forward on this matter rests with the concerns of having a viable alternative. Unfortunately, grapefruit seed extracts haven’t delivered on their promise of a natural preservative.
To prevent infections and other skin issues, remove your makeup before going to bed each and every night. Residual matters can increase your risk of eye problems because of the bacteria that can develop if you don’t remove it. Besides, your face won’t have that dull appearance from old makeup.
It’s especially important if you have sensitive skin. Failing to remove your makeup sets the stage for acne breakouts. And it may increase the risk of other issues too.
Bear in mind that makeup removers may contain paraben too. A couple of our favorite paraben-free products include La Roche-Posay Micellar Cleansing Water and Makeup Remover and Eau Thermale Avène Micellar Lotion. Use them at least once a day to make sure you’ve removed all traces of your cosmetics.
Non-Toxic Paraben Free Makeup Brands Are The Way To Go
It’s hard to know sometimes what cosmetics are safe. You’re in a better place to make good choices for your health as an informed consumer. Take time to read the product’s label before putting anything on your skin, especially something that you’ve never tried.
Take charge of your health and choose products from manufacturers who place a similar premium on living a healthy lifestyle. It all begins with awareness and getting to the facts. Never forget your power as a consumer.