You may have noticed that one of the main selling points of organic or natural skincare products is that they are Paraben and SLS free, amongst others. Apart from the fact that these are said to be toxic ingredients suspected of being carcinogenic because of their ability to penetrate into our system with long term usage, how exactly are they damaging for our skin? Let’s find out with some information I’ve gathered from various sources.
What’s wrong with Parabens?
Put it simply, parabens are presevatives used to inhibit bacteria growth and lengthen the shelf life of skin care products. It is said that not only are parabens toxic, but they can also speed up the aging process in the skin, causing premature aging. In fact, a research conducted at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine has shown that parabens can react with the sun’s UV rays in a way that may actually accelerate the aging process of skin.
Skin treated with parabens, methylparaben specifically, showed a 16 percent increase in skin cell fatality when the skin was exposed to a regulated amount of ultraviolet rays as opposed to untreated skin. Researchers believe this increase in the rate of cell death may contribute to wrinkles, dark spots and diminished skin tone, thus making the skin look older. (source)
And you may like to know that Parabens comes in five common types - Methylparabens, Ethylparabens, Propylparabens, Butylparabens or Isoparabens.
What’s wrong with SLS?
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a cheap, harsh detergent used for its cleansing and foam-building properties with an approximate pH of 10 in its concentrated raw material form which is very alkaline and drying to the skin. SLS cleans by corrosion and can be drying for the skin if used as part of a formula that was not pH balanced. Skin becomes dry from stripping the protective lipids from the surface so it can’t effectively regulate moisture.
Should we avoid them?
I believe that doing without these two ingredients will do our skin good long term as I’m starting to notice that my arms aren’t as dry as before and I have lesser blackheads as well. I’ve also read from the forums that many ladies have reported a huge improvement in their skin conditions and texture with less skin clogs and thus lesser blackheads and whiteheads after switching over to paraben and SLS free facial products.
So even if you have no intentions of going organic, you might want to consider using skincare products without Parabens and SLS for the sake of your skin. Afterall, less may actually be more.