Why Black Women (Especially) Need to Avoid Parabens

I know how it is. You’re at the drug store, and you need to pick up some lipstick, lotion, and conditioning cream for your hair. You’re on a budget–you oscillate between the $1.99 lipstick and the $10 one. You opt for the one just under two bucks and make similar decisions for the other items. While this may seem like a win, if that lipstick, lotion, and hair cream contain parabens, the health ramifications can cost you big time in the long run.

What are parabens? Parabens are a type of preservative used in cosmetics and skin care products, and has been used since the 1950’s. The problem with parabens is that the mimic the female hormone, estrogen, and has been linked to early puberty, reproductive problems and breast cancer. According to some reports 85% of cosmetics have parabens.

Here’s how you can identify if a product contains parabens: basically anything that ends with “paraben” like butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. You can usually spot them towards the bottom of the ingredients list. Don’t be shortsighted when it comes to your health–saving a few dollars now and then losing your good health and undergoing costly medical treatments to save your life isn’t a logical payoff!

My mother is a breast cancer surviver. Much of her cosmetics and personal items (deodorant, lotion, face creams) contain parabens, and over time, most likely contributed to her cancer diagnosis. But while she’s cancer free, the medication has taken it’s toll. It aged her 30 years in appearance. Her hair has never grown back from the chemotherapy meds.

I’ve eliminated ALL cosmetics that contain parabens, and I urge you to do the same. Now that there is more awareness about the dangers of this preservative, many companies have provided products that don’t contain them. Here are a few:

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