What are parabens and why are they in cosmetics?
Parabens are used as a preservative, they keep bacteria from forming. Basically they keep the item from "going bad". They can be found in anything from shampoo, makeup, skin care items,etc.
How can I tell if my product contains parabens?
Parabens can be listed on products as butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben. Basically the word paraben is in the name of the ingredient.
Are parabens bad for you?
Parabens received a lot of negative press when a study was released where supposedly parabens were found in sample breast cancer tissue. The link to that study can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14745841.
There is a lot of debate over whether or not parabens are bad for you. The fact that parabens are present in the samples doesn't necessarily mean that parabens cause cancer.
On the Paula's Choice site located here. The article talks about parabens and talks about how organizations like: The American Cancer Society; The FDA; Canadian FDA, etc. all find that parabens are safe for consumers.
Parabens also have estroge-like qualities and can cause hormonal imbalance.
Now I personally don't know for a fact if they are bad for you. But parabens appear to be bad for me.
Parabens and Allergic reactions
Parabens affect different people in different ways. According to online articles, parabens can be an irritation for the skin, especially for those with existing skin problems or sensitive skin. I suffer from eczema. My skin gets dried, red, itchy, and occasionally I get the itchy red bumps.
As you know I have purchased two recent types of Korean face wash the Missha Aloe and Strawberry latte cleansing foam. I saw that it had parabens and knew parabens had some negative light on it, but the price of the product was good, it looked good, smelled good, and I already bought it so I decided to use it.
After a couple of days of using the Missha Strawberry Latte Cleansing Foam. I broke out like I was on my period (so some claims about it affecting hormones might be true). I also started getting these bumps on my face, that wasn't acne. They were just large round bumps like zits, but didn't hurt when you touched or pushed down on it. I knew it was being cause by something I was using when I started getting them on my hands as well, usually after I washed my face. But on my hands it was just one or two bumps and would disappear within an hour or so. On my face it stayed for... well as long as I used the product I suppose and it took at least three or more days after I stopped using the product for it to clear up.
They went away after I stopped using the cleanser. So I am blaming it on the cleanser, which when comparing the ingredients to other cleaners I have used, the only difference in ingredients seem to be the parabens. So no more parabens for me.
Well the Aloe one won a Memebox award, which did encourage me to buy it because I assume a lot of people liked it and it worked for them. Sadly, it doesn't work for me.
What is really surprising is that I went through all the other products I used trying to see if there were parabens in it (thereby proving whether or not parabens was causing the skin condition). The only American product that I used which had parabens in it was the Biore microscrub. I used it again today and noticed the slight skin irritation on my finger which went away in less than a minute (the effect was so brief I usually thought it was caused my the fact I like to wash my face in relatively hot water). So I suppose I am allergic, but it because the paraben was listed so low in the list (usually meaning there is less of it in the product) and that I only use the scrub 2-3 times a week I didn't have a severe enough reaction to know I was allergic. Whereas using the paraben cleanser on my face everyday, twice a day, just killed it.
I haven't done like a search at American products to see if a lot of American beauty products contain parabens, but from personal experience and the items I have bought, it seems that parabens are present in a LOT of Korean beauty products. At least more so than in American products.
Which is super sad beacuse I just recently ordered this from Memebox.
The Memebox USA Special Must Have Skincare BOX: Spring Edition
Just to do the ingredient search afterward and to find out some of the stuff has parabens in it. Why? Holika Holika? I loved your wine mask so much (which by the way has no parabens). I can't even find ingredients for at least 2 of the other products in the set. But since it is ordered I will give it a try and see how it goes.
I will admit I'm a little lerry of the Missha and It's Skin Korean brands after this experience. Also it is probably me. The struggle with acne prone sensitive skin continues.