Paraben is a group of preservatives that are often added to inhibit bacterial growth. It is a common ingredient in foods and skin care products like shampoos, moisturizers, deodorants etc. It is naturally found in certain foods like blueberries.
The chemically synthesized paraben has same molecular structure as the natural but is different from natural one in many ways. When consumed, paraben is broken down by the digestive system, thereby nullifying its potential to induce hazardous effect.
However, paraben used in skin care products is directly absorbed by the skin and is not broken down. This may lead to several health problems. Owing to the health concerns associated with it, paraben-free products are being introduced in the market.
Why to Go for Paraben-free Shampoo
Paraben is very cheap and effectively controls the growth of microbes. Until now, it was also considered safe ingredient for skin care products. This explains the wide use of paraben in several products. However, as mentioned, it is a potentially hazardous ingredient.
It disrupts the endocrine function by mimicking the estrogen hormone in the body. Hormonal imbalance can play havoc in the body. It is also known to invoke allergic response in some people. The most dangerous effect of paraben comes in the form of cancer. It is known to have been found in the tissues of breast tumor.
Thus, its association with breast cancer has rapidly declined the demand for paraben shampoos and other products. Needless to say, people are now opting for paraben-free versions of shampoos and
Alternatives for Paraben
Preservatives are essential to lengthen the shelf life of a product. Even organic paraben-free products consists of preservatives, else its shelf life would reduce to days. Hence, shampoo without paraben does not imply that it is preservative free.
These shampoos often use various natural ingredients, which alleviate the problems associated with paraben use. Grapefruit seed extract, sorbic acid, vitamin E, Germall plus, potassium sorbate are the ingredients that effectively replace paraben in these shampoos.
Vitamin E is used in shampoos that target damaged hair, whereas grapefruit seed extract is more suitable for color treated hair to protect the color. Most paraben-free products use a combination of these ingredients to produce better results.
How to Find a Paraben-free Shampoo
Paraben-free products, though popular, may not be easy to come across. You may have to do an extensive label reading before you spot a shampoo without paraben. On the label, you will find paraben listed as a single word along with its combining alcohol, for instance methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
The label that does not include any of these compounds can be taken for a paraben-free product. If you do not wish to go for a laborious job of label reading, you can simply buy a shampoo from a reputed company that is known only to use natural ingredients.
However, the credibility of the company matters a lot in this case, as you would be blindly going for the name of the company. While looking for a shampoo, also look out for one which is free of artificial preservatives.
Buying only a paraben-free shampoo is not enough. Make sure that the alternative ingredients have the least potential to induce allergies or irritation.