Can Parabens Affect Our Health?

For years, parabens have been used to extend the shelf life of personal care products. If parabens are so safe, why is there an influx of products stating, “paraben-free” on the label?  Is it because research has linked parabens to breast cancer?  Naturally, we turned to the expert, David Hanen for answers.  Mr. Hanen is the owner of Innovative Salon Products Inc and he’s a strong advocate for breast cancer research.  Over the last four years, his company has supported such causes as the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

According to Mr. Hanen, parabens have been around for a very long time and they had been considered safe; as well as an effective preservative system. Mr. Hanen stated, “You’ll find that parabens are used in some food, but the majority of parabens are found in personal care products.   Products such as lip balm, foundation makeup, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion and mascara usually contain parabens.  However, parabens over the last five years have gained an unpopular reputation.  According to Mr. Hanen, parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen in the body, which means you’ll have excess estrogen in the body and parabens have been linked to breast cancer.  Mr. Hanen stated, “Now there’s not specific science that proves or disproves it, so you’ll find positive and negative arguments on both sides of this issue.”  But again the question is, “why expose ourselves to an ingredient that has a negative long-term effect or a perceived negative long-term effect for breast cancer?”  Mr. Hanen stated, “My eight year old daughter, she’s nowhere near products that contain parabens.  When my daughter is in her late 20’s or early 30’s, I don’t want her to run into the possibility of developing breast cancer.”   Although we know that breast cancer has been linked by family history and other risk factors, but if we can take ingredients out of our personal care products that are harmful and still have a product be preserved, then why not?  Mr. Hanen stated, “I don’t want to expose my daughter or anyone else’s daughter to carcinogens.”  Mr. Hanen stated, “From a health perspective a lot of these ingredients proven by science are now being linked to health conditions such as birth defects, infertility and other issues.” However; Mr. Hanen wanted to clarify, he didn’t say,”parabens directly cause these conditions,” “but science is leaning towards them being the cause.”

According to Mr. Hanen, a lot of consumers believe just because the product states,” paraben free” it’s safe.  However, there are preservative systems that are being used that are equally perceived just as harmful as parabens.  What the consumer should look for when it comes to a healthier preservative system are food grade preservatives.   For example sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate these are basically food grade preservatives that are being integrated into personal care products. Mr. Hanen stated, “Now when the pH is balanced in these products, these preservatives are equally as effective as parabens.”  And the shelf life is the same, anywhere from 3 to 5 years.  Mr. Hanen stated, “As a manufacturing company, we’ve moved basically into what is classified as, ‘food grade preservatives’ and we’re receiving the same effectiveness without the harmful side effects.”  Food grade preservatives are gentler, milder and safer.

Mr. Hanen advised, with any personal care products, they need to be kept in a temperature control environment.  When a person lives in a hot environment and they purchase in bulk and they store these products in their garage, by storing personal care products in a warm environment over time you’re challenging the preservative system.  According to Mr. Hanen, the maximum heat for any preservative system should reach no higher than 90 degrees.   Mr. Hanen stated, “In our test ovens we conduct longevity and shelf life testing.  Our ovens are generally between 100 and 110 degrees, so if you store products in your garage in excessive heat for three months, it’s a breeding ground for mold, bacteria and yeast.”  Mr. Hanen stated, “It’s been a long time since we’ve used parabens as a preservative for our products.  We transitioned into a safer, gentler and milder preservative system that’s equally as effective as long as you don’t challenge it with heat.”

For more information about David Hanen and Innovative Salon Products Inc., you can visit their website at or contact them at  For more information about the ingredients found in the products you use, visit

This entry was posted in beauty, hair-care-products, health-conscious, natural-conditioner, natural-shampoo, parabens and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Can Parabens Affect Our Health?

  1. Nice article thank you for sharing. I agree with the argument presented, if there is a chance that they might lead to breast cancer and they are not necessary then why not avoid them. My personal hair goals for this year is to find my holy grail of products that does not include silicone, sulfate, paraben, mineral oil or petroleum. I am alreay mineral oil and petroleum free, I am working on eliminating the the other three.

    • You’re welcome. I’m glad that you liked the article. And it’s good that you are looking to achieve your personal hair goals. I hope you achieve them and my content helps you to make that happen.

  2. Pingback: Pure’ity Blog Recap: August 29th – September 3rd | Pure'ity Blog

  3. Karen says:

    It’s great to hear that more companies are actually looking at the long term effects of their products, especially personal care products that we use on a daily basis…almost all enter our bloodstream when applying them. I’ve turned away from all chemicals in all products and have noticed a dramatic increase in our health….little to no sickness, more alert, energy, etc.

    It truly is “buyer beware” so you are best advised to use certified organic products to be certain that you are getting the most pure form in food grade quality. I have been using some amazing products. We all need to educate ourselves…no one else is looking out for your health. Be an advocate for you and your family!

  4. Bhumii R Parwani says:

    I have been hearing about paraben free cosmetics….i believe that if there is a slightest chance of long term negative impact on the phsiology, it should be avoided…it is better to be safe than sorry!!!

  5. Victor says:

    I did a similar research some months ago and the idea was on the other side. It is not about if there is a possible negative term I will not use it. As per the feedback that I have had the researches done till now prove that Parabens are safe, there are no researches that can prove that are risk for your health. Also, the safety institutions, that are suppose to do test and now more about this than us confirm the acceptance of the use of the components.
    Again due to the feedback that I have received the “bttle against paraben” it was created by some cosmetic brands (will avoid name) to find a niche in the market of course by creating “terror”.
    I certainly can understand after the researches that Parabens are health and as per the last articles, the Eu is it suppose to prohibit the use of words “paraben free” in cosmetic products as its creating a misunderstanding to the users.
    Frankly speaking, my father died of cancer and I am concerned about this but I have heard a lot of things and what I know is that if I totally wants to avoid any contact with some component that can produce cancer, first I would do is not use my car and not go to the cities due to the pollution and second not smoke. We are talking about some components that are proved there have no risk for health but some lobbies put them in the middle of the “terror” and we do not mind that much in confirmed signs that produce cancer such as car or smoke.

  6. I read the article on parabens and the comments with interest. My view is that one should avoid if at all possible ALL artificial chemicals in beauty products. Although this is not always completely possible, I think that the fewer chemicals we ingest into our bodies the better and we should look for products containing ones which are ‘nature identical’ or are as near as possible to their natural form. I would be interested how the preservative phenoxyethanol is viewed by the researchers? This is an artificial preservative which is supposed to be safer than parabens and is ‘allowed’ by many of the organic certification bodies. There is so much confusion over what is safe and what is not!

  7. People should realise that the research on parabens involved animals being fed thousands of times more parabens than anyone could ever get on their skin even if it were plastered on. So the animals didn’t have their fur shampooed with the stuff – they were FED it.

    If you fed any creature thousands of times more vitamins, or even 100 times more water, you’d have adverse outcomes and of course deaths.

    People read that some badly-designed and flawed piece of research has resulted in adverse outcomes and immediately blame the ingredient. Blame the stupid scientist who didn’t understand the basics of sound research principles.

    If you do a thorough review of the scientific literature regarding parabens, you will see that the scaremongering is totally unjustified.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the article… and I agree! It’s better to be safe than sorry, but like everything you need to have a measured and balanced response!

    In my beauty boutique: I’ve been able to source some great ‘clean’ products; those which avoid most of your common ‘nasties’. These ranges tick the ethical boxes, performance boxes and the health boxes; and they perform beautifully and are formulated as scientifically as your mainstream rivals. There is a choice and for me that is what is important.

  9. Vipin Dhand says:

    I fully agree with the article its”Better To be Safe Than Sorry “. Our company ( Brillare Science) has just launched a product called Moisture Mask – Water- a Face & Body Moisturiser which is 100% Non Comedogenic, Fragrance, color & PARABEN FREE in India.

  10. Thank you for your article! As an owner of a cosmetics business, I can tell you that it is difficult to find a product that does not contain Parabens, although the vast majority we have considered have them listed at the very last of the ingredient list. Because our cosmetic line carries a majority of organic, natural cosmetics, and a great number of our customers have skin sensitivity concerns, we have steered away from items that contain Parabens and have opted with products containing food grade preservatives.

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