Those Pesky Parabens

This is from a series I wrote about many different types of endocrine disrupting chemicals. To find out what the hell an endocrine disruptor is click on the Link highlighted in blue.

Parabens are a class of preservatives widely used to prevent bacteria growth since the 1950’s, commonly found in cosmetics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals. Most common are butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben, also listed as Alkyl parahydroxy7 benzoates. In the early 1990’s studies deemed parabens as xenoestrogens (mimics estrogen in the body), causing estrogen disruption and commonly linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

“Ingestion of large doses of butylparaben may cause irritation to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Contact with the eyes… can be absorbed and retained in body tissues based on concentrations of paraben esters measured in human breast tumors.” ~National Toxicology Program

Today there are a wide range of “Paraben-free” products available, these products will often contain phenoxyethanol (naturally derived ether alcohol) or ethylhexylglycerin (plant-derived). If you want to be sure you are using a chemical free product look for an oil-based organic product that does not contain water (which calls for no preservatives). Pure products and products that contain pure essential oils will be found in dark amber or blue bottles (best if glass) so that sunlight cannot get in and degrade the medicinal value. Parabens easily penetrate the skin. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed parabens as Category 1 priority substances, based on evidence that they interfere with hormone function.

“Patients with contact dermatitis caused by paraben allergy present with long histories of intractable dermatitis which continues to flare regardless of the corticosteroid cream prescribed. Once the proper diagnosis is recognized and a paraben free medication is applied, these patients make a rapid and complete recovery.” Cited from JAMA. 1968;204(10):859-862. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140230017004

Paraben-free Brands That I Use

 Rasayana Essentials is the company I started using the products i have been making at home for myself, friends, family and clients. It is now available to the public.

Tate’s Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner

ILIA Organics Lipstick                                       

John Masters Organics Hairspray                                

Dr. Hauschka Makeup (Free from Parabens, phthalates & harsh chemicals surfactants)

Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer (Free from Parabens, phthalates & harsh chemicals surfactants)

Butter London Polish (Free of parabens, formaldehyde, toluene & dibutyl phalate)

Tarte Natural Eye Palette (Free from Parabens, phthalates & harsh chemicals surfactants)

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara (Free from Parabens, phthalates & harsh chemicals surfactants)


Heptylparaben is a paraben which is the heptyl ester of p-hydroxybenzoic acid commonly used as a preservative.


Heptyl p-hydroxybenzoate                                        Heptyl paraben   

Heptylparaben                                                            Nipaheptyl

n-Heptyl 4-hydroxybenzoate                                    n-Heptyl p-hydroxybenzoate

Heptyl para-hydroxybenzoate                                  E209


A common “fragrance” ingredient and preservative in the pharmaceutical, food and personal care companies. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential endocrine (hormone) disruptors.


4-Hydroxybenzoic Acid                                              Methyl Ester

4-Hydroxybenzoic Acid                                              Methyl Ester

Potassium Salt                                                              Benzoic Acid

4-Hydroxy                                                                     Methyl Ester

Sodium Salt                                                                   Methyl 4-Hydroxybenzoic Acid

4-Hydroxy                                                                     4-Hydroxy-Methyl Ester Benzoic Acid 

PHENONIP: a mix of preservatives Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, and Isobutylparaben.

Look for “Paraben & Sulfite Free”, cosmetics, personal care items, lotions, creams, make-up, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen. When reading, ingredients scan them quickly and any word ending in Paraben is a sure sign not to purchase that item. There are a ton of paraben and sulfite free companies now and this is largely due to supply and demand. People stopped purchasing from companies that used parabens and the industry started to change. I have watched this happen over the last 14years or so, since I was first made aware of them. 

Article and Scientific Studies on Parabens

Paraben Allergy

Contact urticaria to Parabens

Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumours by Darbre et al. (2004).

Significance of the Detection of Esters of P-Hydroxybenzoic Acid (Parabens) in Human Breast Tumours

Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast


Endocrine Disruptors

Disclaimer: The strategies, suggestions and techniques expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The Author, Kira Miller, is not rendering medical advice nor is she trying to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, condition, illness or injury.

If you are under the care of a physician, it is imperative that you consult their advice before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

Kira Miller claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss or damage alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application or interpretation of the material presented here.

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