The Dangers of Parabens

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser contains harmful parabens

Familiar with this "gentle" skin cleanser? Since 2011, Denmark has BANNED such products from use on children under 3 years old.

What is a Paraben? Parabens Meaning

Parabens are a common preservative found in lotions, shampoos, body wash and many cosmetics. Parabens meaning.

Since 2011, some countries have started to ban products containing parabens. Denmark was the first to outlaw parabens in products made for young children in 2010, with the rest of the EU announcing in Oct 2013 that it would follow suit. Read on to find out why these countries are taking action.

Are Parabens Bad? Health Risks Linked to Parabens

A common misconception is that parabens are bad for skin. In fact they are far worse. Parabens don't just have side effects. They can cause serious health issues.

Parabens are endocrine disruptive chemicals which are absorbed into the bloodstream and affect many of our body's natural functions.

The endocrine system consists of glands that produce and release hormones which control important body functions such as our ability to convert calories into energy for healthy functioning of cells and organs.

The endocrine system also affects your heart beat, bone and tissue growth, as well as your ability to reproduce. Endocrine disruption can lead to many health problems such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disease, sexual dysfunction, infertility, and numerous other hormone-related disorders.

Parabens have also been linked to breast cancer in several studies.​

Parabens Can Harm Babies and Children

Babies and young children are especially susceptible to the effects of endocrine disruption. Exposure from a young age can result in greater disruption to their growth and development, such as learning disabilities and growth disorders, in addition to the other health risks.

Parabens and Pregnancy Precautions

According to Dr. Michele Brown, a Connecticut obstetrician and gynaecologist, women should be concerned about the estrogenic activity of parabens. Parabens prevent the breakdown of estrogen, she says. “The placenta makes a lot of estrogen. Here, you’re applying products that also have estrogen in them.” Brown is especially troubled by the lack of knowledge regarding how parabens and other chemicals affect the developing fetus. “There’s no aisle in the pharmacy where pregnant women can go and say, ‘Aha, this is safe and effective for both myself and my child.’”

Paraben Free Skincare Products

At The Soap Haven, all our soap is paraben free. It’s one of the reasons we specialise in soap bars instead of liquid soap. Bars do not spoil easily and therefore do not require preservatives such as parabens. We think it’s worth the small change in habit to switch from liquid to bar soap once you realise the dangers of parabens to your health.

How to Check For and Be Paraben Free

Parabens used in skincare

Check to see if these parabens are in your skincare products.

Check the ingredients list of your body wash and shampoo for parabens. Some common parabens include:

  • ​Butylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Methylparaben

These are sometimes listed by their chemical names such as Butyl Hydroxybenzoate and Propyl Hydroxybenzoate.

Both Butylparaben and Propylparaben are on the Danish and European Commission danger list.

Cetaphil, QV and many other branded commercial cleansers are guilty of using methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.

To make things worse, they also contain Propylene Glycol which is a chemical to help absorption through the skin into the body. This means even more of the parabens and unwanted harmful chemicals in these products are absorbed into your body system when you use these chemical-laden cleansers!

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Ingredients include 3 Parabens

Cetaphil contains 3 parabens plus SLS that can be absorbed through your skin into your bloodstream.

If you look at the list of Cetaphil ingredients, it's just water with 7 chemicals. And 3 out of 8 are parabens together with SLS!

Safe Soap and Skincare with No Parabens

  1. Switch to a chemical free soap BAR. Why? Many commercial LIQUID soaps and shampoos use Parabens as antimicrobial preservatives in addition to SLS (sulphates) and Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) which causes skin irritations including eczema. (FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ECZEMA HELP here)
  2. Restore your skin natural immune system with All Natural Products. In the same way you won’t eat highly-processed or artificial food to stay healthy, you should also not let your skin eat and absorb such stuff in your soaps, cleansers, cosmetics.
  3. Find out more about good vs harmful skincare at Soap Facts and get crap-free soap at The Soap Haven's Soap Shop.

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  1. Time Magazine: Parabens Outlawed in Childrens’ Products in Denmark | (
  2. EU to ban selected parabens in cosmetics (!EU-To-Ban-Selected-Parabens-in-Cosmetics/oupyl/56c582e90cf2c75daa845b0f)
  3. Stricter EU Rules on Parabens | ScienceNordic (
  4. Endocrine Disorders | WebMD (
  5. Avoid Preservatives in Skin Care (
  6. European Commission Press Release | Consumers: Commission improves safety of cosmetics (