Monday, April 4, 2011

why have i been avoiding parabens?

What a good question.. Why have I been avoiding parabens?

Olive's diaper cream, lotion, shampoo & soap are all free of parabens. Our toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner, body lotion, deodorant, face wash, and hand soaps are free of parabens as well. But why?

What are parabens?

Parabens are a type of compound used in food, pharmaceutical products, and cosmetic products because of their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They get absorbed through the skin and through the intenstines. Parabens mimic estrogen and they can bind to estrogen receptors in your cells. Some parabens are found naturally, such as in blueberries, but all parabens used in products are synthetically made.

What's so bad about parabens?

Parabens have been found within biopsy samples of breast tumors as well as in urine samples in almost all samples analyzed in adults in the US. It is not yet known if parabens have a causal relationship with breast cancer. Because parabens mimic estrogen it is thought that parabens can potentially encourage the growth of tumors, as some estrogens do.

Few people are illergic to parabens and have reactions such as rosacea or contact dermatitis.

So why do I, personally, avoid them?

Recently I've become more conscious of what I consume and what I put on my body. While I can't avoid all toxins in the world because, unfortunately, they're everywhere, I can avoid some pretty easily. There are numerous "all natural" and "organic" self care products available void of parabens and other potential toxins so I buy them! (But be careful with the "all natural" label.. the word "natural" is not regulated) While pregnant I was worried about toxins entering my body in various ways that could potentially influence Olive's development as well as influence my own health. I still feel the same now as I don't want my breast milk to contain anything yucky and I don't want to, for example, put toxin filled lotion on my body or my hands and have Olive ingest them since babies enjoy mouthing everything.

Like I said, it's impossible to avoid all of the toxins in the world, but if there is something that I can easily avoid, I will. The small link between parabens and tumor growth, specifically in breast cancer, is enough for me to try to avoid them. I wonder if estrogen has anything to do with the dramatic increase in prostate cancer? Hmm.

Info gathered from sources such as and

Do you avoid parabens? Or any other toxins? What are your thoughts on this stuff?


  1. I also stay away from frangrances and dyes. And last summer I found out how toxic dryer sheets are.

  2. Do you use anything as an alternative to dryer sheets? I usually use about 1/6 of a sheet in our laundry and I don't use it in Olive's. If I don't use it in ours there is so much static!

  3. I stopped using them all together. I heard tennis balls and balls of foil work, but I haven't tried either yet.

  4. Balls of foil? Hmm, I should look into that.