Are Parabens really bad for you?

I see more and more products saying they are paraben-free and I know several people who are allergic to parabens so I naturally want to avoid them. However I have also been told by several organic experts that parabens are actually pretty essential to making products and that to remove them means replacing it with worse things. What's the truth?
Asked by lopo5

6 answers

Top answer
You should avoid parabens in the products you buy (they can be found in all of your personal care products, from deodorant to shampoo to body cream to sex lubes) because they can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. It is a known carcinogen and they have been linked to cancer, immunotoxicity, and organ system toxicity.
Dr. med. José Infantes
Specialist in Natural Medicine


Thank you Dr. Infantes. It sounds like parabens are best avoided but I guess what I am trying to understand is whether the alternatives are much better and what alternatives should we really be looking for? We recently had an article from Geraldine Howard, the head of Aromatherapy Associates ( which talked about Parabens but also highlighted the issues with their substitutes (benzoic acid and benzyl alcohol). Do you have a view on this?
A few years ago the dangers of using products laced with parabens came into question in my mind. I decided that since I already had all the necessary basics around my house, I immediately replaced such products as toothpaste, deodorant, antiperspirant, mouthwash, skin cleanser, and many others with H2O2.
It has literally been a life-saver for my home. So now I blog about the advantages of using H2O2 rather than dangerous and toxic products produced b companies whose only aim is to pad their bottom line and rack up profits, regardless of the harm they may be inflicting on our society.
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For starters, Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Do you really want to take the chance that they might do so? In the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology , Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.” If that is not enough to avoid a product that can easily be avoided, I don’t know what is! There are a lot of other reports available all over the internet, but most of them are all related to reproductive health in some way or another. Not really something to mess with, huh?
The jury is still out on how and why parabens might affect development and growth of both babies and adults. But I have decided to get rid of any products that have it and replace them with products that don’t. There is no harm being careful with this kind of stuff…remember, things that were deemed safe in the past then came back to bite us all when we were told that they actually caused all sorts of diseases. And when they are safe alternatives available, I would rather not take the chance that my children develop strange reproductive problems from using a product that was avoidable in the first place.
Alternatives to parabens: Stabil, Plantservative, Sodium hydroxmethyglycinate, Enzymes, Olive leaf, Oregano, Tea tree essential oil, Thyme essential oil, Grapefruit seed extract, Bitter orange extract
Parabens are alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives. A large range of these ingredients can be found in body care products. Look for: ethyl, butyl, and methylparaben. Adding one or more of these preservatives to a product, is an inexpensive way to increase shelf life. Scientific studies have confirmed that parabens have the potential to cause cancer because of their estrogenic activity. Because the liver needs to work harder to detoxify these excess estrogens, these chemicals may contribute to other illnesses, as well.
Continue to read labels, identifying and understanding ingredients that should be avoided. And, beware of products that claim to be natural, when they actually are not.
Parabens are a preservative to give products a longer shelf life, they do not belong in the human body, there has been research linking parabens to oestrogen dominance due to them synthesizing bad ostrogens that cause lots of symptoms and can lead to cancers. There are a lot of other preservatives that can be used safely, mainly coconut based or essential oil based organic products - I use Pure Fiji, essentially yours, Jason or Toms of Maine. Can be sourced in a good health food shop or online, more and more companies are are popping up all of the time now. What we put onto our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstreams why would we want to poison ourselves. Also perfumes and what we wash our clothes in can get into the bloodstream. Lots of information on the internet now!
Hello, Parabens do not help to make the product. They serve as a preservative. Parabens unfortunately have detrimental effects to one's health. Products that are paraben free is the way forward but there is the probelm of how to keep the shelf life of the product. If you have any more queries on this I have more info on it.


Thanks.. that is helpful. So what do product companies use to preserve the shelf-life of products if they don't use parabens? Are those products safer?