The Truth About Parabens

A real gent takes time to take care of himself. Grooming should be an essential part of your daily routine. By now, I expect that you’ve applied the excellent tips on moisturizing this blog has already shared with you. 

The unfortunate reality is that some of the chemicals found in skincare products are potentially bad for you. You’ve seen warnings about chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants before on the blog. Recently, parabens have been getting a lot of negative press. Before you throw away all your deodorants, skin moisturizers, and shaving creams, take some time to dig into the truth about parabens.

What Are Parabens?

Essentially, parabens are chemical preservatives. They are added to cosmetics to maintain the product and to prevent the growth of bacteria. Some of the most common paraben compounds that you may see on your deodorant’s ingredient list are:

  • methylparaben
  • ethylparaben
  • propylparaben
  • butylparaben
  • heptylparaben

If you want to know the nitty-gritty scientific details, Wikipedia has the chemical compounds for you.

Are They Safe?

Parabens have been in regular use since the 1950’s. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed three common compounds in 1984 to determine whether they were safe. The conclusion? Yes, in concentrations of up to 25%. Your typical skincare product uses them in ranges of 0.01% to 0.3%. (FDA)

Why The Concern?

A number of medical research studies have looked into the possible harmful effects of parabens. Why?

Parabens have been found in breast tumors. A 2004 study of British women with breast cancer found parabens in 19 of the 20 tumors analyzed. This, however, does not prove any relationship between parabens and cancer. For example, non-cancerous tissue near the tumor was not analyzed to check if parabens were also present in the normal, healthy tissue.

Parabens are absorbed through the skin and can accumulate. Some of the organizations and individuals speaking out against the use of parabens claim that the issue is accumulation. They believe that, although concentrations are very low in most skincare products, the constant use of these products over the course of decades leads to an accumulation of parabens in the body.

Parabens mimic estrogen in the body. Butylparaben is the most potent estrogen imitator of all the paraben compounds. Research has shown that estrogenic activity in the body is related to some types of breast cancer. However, parabens affect the body 10,000 to 100,000 less powerfully than real estrogen does.

What Should You Do About Parabens?

Though there is no definitive proof that parabens cause cancer or harm the body in any other way, more research needs to be conducted.

Clever Gents steer clear of danger instead of just hoping for the best. Why not make sure you never have to worry about parabens?  Switch to deodorants, skin creams, shampoos, and other cosmetic products that are paraben-free now. Besides, the brands making paraben-free products are the same brands that produce some of the finest men’s skincare products available. Here are just a few:


Burt’s Bees

John Masters Organics 


Gents, take good care of your skin. Make the switch to paraben-free products to avoid any possible health risks of these ubiquitous chemicals.

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