Accepting Food Labels? All About "Accept" Food & Nutrition

Label Logic: What are Parabens?

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Joann Klinkner
Written by Joann Klinkner

Label Logic by Joann DiFabio-Klinkner is all about awareness of what is in the food you eat. How does this tie in to the Identity mission? Joann educates us in everyday language on ingredients so we can easily remember what is harmful to our bodies and what is okay for our bodies. What we eat can, in the short term, affect our mood and our energy, and in the longer term, have a major affect on our health. That’s why it’s an important part of helping you to Feel Beautiful Everyday!™

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Label Logic by Joann DiFabio-Klinkner is all about awareness of what is in the food you eat. How does this tie in to the Identity mission? Joann educates us in everyday language on ingredients so we can easily remember what is harmful to our bodies and what is healthy for our bodies. What we eat can, in the short term, affect our mood and our energy, and in the longer term, have a major affect on our health and nutrition. That’s why it’s an important part of helping you to have a healthy diet and to Feel Beautiful Everyday!™



What the heck is going on in the world of health and beauty aids (or, as I like to call them, HABAs)? Products labeled “paraben-free” are popping up all over the place. I’m not sure about you, but it makes me wonder how unhealthy parabens are if brands like Neutrogena® are boasting a line of products that are paraben-free. What the heck are parabens?


Simply put, parabens are a class of chemicals that act as preservatives in HABAs to prevent bacteria growth. Parabens have been used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies since the 1950s partly due to their efficacy and low cost, and partly due to the ineffectiveness of other more natural preservatives, such as grapefruit seed extract.

Parabens have been the subject of much controversy lately because of possible links to breast cancer. In research conducted in 2004 by British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., parabens were found in low concentrations in 20 sampled malignant breast tumors, sparking the controversy that parabens contribute to the development of breast cancer. However, healthy breast tissue was not tested for parabens. Though no concrete scientific evidence exists to directly link parabens with breast cancer, it is believed that the ability of some parabens to slightly mimic estrogen, a hormone which plays a key role in the development of breast cancer, might be a contributing factor in the development of breast cancer.

Parabens have also recently come under scrutiny for contributing to the increasingly younger age at which girls are hitting puberty. Their ability to slightly mimic estrogen has been blamed for this. Again, there is currently no scientific evidence linking parabens to early puberty in girls.

All of this speculation leaves consumers wondering about the unknown. There is evidence of possible health hazards, but these theories have not been scientifically proven. What’s the bottom line? Parabens have been used as preservatives in products since the 1950s, so they have longevity of effectiveness. The FDA and the WHO (World Health Organization) have deemed parabens safe for use at low levels. As a consumer, a woman, and/or a mother, it’s probably best to be mindful (but not obsessive) of the products you and your family are using and the amount of parabens in them until research proves on thing or the other.

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About the author

Joann Klinkner

Joann Klinkner

Identity writer Joann DiFabio-Klinkner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ramapo College in Communication Arts and is currently employed at Torre Lazur McCann, a pharmaceutical advertising agency, where she is a digital imaging associate. Having a long-standing interest in health and wellness, Joann has developed a passion for and deep knowledge-base of food and nutrition over the years. She currently writes the Spotlight On… and Label Logic articles for Identity, and enjoys cooking in her free time.

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