Parabens are a family of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products. Preservatives may be used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, in order to extend the shelf life of many products in our local stores.
We avoid ingesting parabens in the food products we purchase. We don’t want to eat parabens, so why would we put it on our skin that will absorb into our body and digestive system? That is just as bad as eating it.
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market!
This means they are allowed to be untested as long as there is no evidence of it being harmful. That allows new chemicals to reach consumers before anybody could even do enough research to test the effects.
The parabens used most commonly in cosmetics are Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, and Ethylparaben. These parabens have a lot of controversy surrounding them, with not enough evidence to ban them but have shown in some cases to affect hormones, DNA, and spur allergic reactions. There have also been studies linking some parabens to cancer, but there is currently not enough evidence for the FDA to restrict these chemicals. Parabens have also been restricted in parts of the EU due to these concerns.
We have been conditioned to think that personal care products have no expiration dates. The use of parabens make these products last basically forever. But the reality is that there should be some form of expiration if a product truly is natural. Backyard uses real ingredients and no parabens. We give a recommended expiration date once opening, but our products should last long past that date. After enough time you will know if an oil-based product is no longer good because it will lose a certain freshness, smell will dissipate or change, and the benefits can become less effective.
As the tides are changing and we think about what we are putting on our own skin and absorbing into our bodies, we should include our pets into those purchasing decisions.