Paraben in hand lotion

Meet the Parabens: Methyl-, Ethyl- and Propyl-paraben

No, the Parabens are not a family that just moved into the neighborhood. If they were, you might hear a chorus of "NIMBYs" from the residents once they discovered who the Parabens really are. For those who don't know, NIMBY stands for Not In My Backyard. It doesn't usually refer to families, but to an undesirable industry or commercial enterprise-anything from the Chinese restaurant or the proposed power plant-that tries to move into "the neighborhood" or town.

So what are the parabens?

Parabens, aka para-hydroxybenzoic acids, are preservatives that are used in many moisturizers, shampoos, face cleansers, and body washes to inhibit microbial growth. The most commonly used parabens include methyl, ethyl, butyl, and propyl parabens. In most cases these and other preservatives are found at the bottom of the product's ingredient list and account for a tiny percentage of the total product.

A small percentage of the population is allergic to the parabens. Then again, a small percentage of the population is also allergic to peanuts. It also appears that the parabens may be weakly estrogenic, although when compared to the actual estrogen produced by the body such as estrodiol, it appears they have little affect.

Source: Medline

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