Paraben Risks

by Christina Dambra

About Christina Dambra

Christina Dambra is a licensed esthetician with several years of experience in dermatology and cosmetology and holds advanced certification in microdermabrasion, lasers and chemical peels. She specializes in holistic health counseling, with expertise in organic skin care and whole food supplementation. Dambra holds a degree in business administration and is a writer for eHow and LIVESTRONG.



Parabens are used in personal care products all over the world. Parabens are used as a preservative to stabilize ingredients in products and inhibit microbial growth. Consumers should be aware that the use of parabens in personal products on a regular basis could be a risk to health. Checking product labels for ethyl, butyl, isobutyl propyl, isopropyl and methylparaben, can help consumers make smarter personal care product decisions.

Estrogen Mimicking

Parabens are known to mimick weak estrogen-like properties in the body. Parabens influencing estrogen levels could have a direct link to certain estrogen-fueled cancers. The ability to mimick estrogen may also mean that parabens could cause birth defects in infants, especially males. Any disruption in the hormonal system could mean adverse health risks to the body. According to an article from the Breast Cancer Fund, measurable concentrations of parabens have been identifyed in biopsy samples from breast tumors.

Allergic Reactions and Dermatitis

Parabens could cause an allergic reaction in some people, and they are present in many cosmetics, according to the Skin Therapy Letter, a website from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Although allergic reactions from parabens on people with normal skin are rare, parabens can cause skin irritations and rosacea in individuals with sensitive skin or people with paraben allergies. Parabens should never be applied topically to broken or inflamed skin, as it could cause more irritation to the affected area.


When people use parabens in personal care products, eventually they are transferred into the environment. For example, if a shampoo contains parabens, when you rinse off the shampoo, the parabens are then washed down the drain and make their way into the water supply and the general environment. Though some microorganisms are killed in the water supply through chlorination and other methods, parabens are not microorganisms and can maintain their stay in the water supply.

Photo Credits:

  • bottles of creams. beauty fluid. hygiene. make-up image by L. Shat from

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or