Choosing an effective Paraben-Free Shampoo
Alternatives for Preservatives
The debate surrounding the use of parabens in hair products and
cosmetics goes back to 2004 when a study by Philippa Darbe, PhD
published in the Journal for Applied Toxicology suggested parabens could be related to breast cancer. This has spilled over and created a demand for paraben-free shampoo.
The study showed accumulation of paraben-like substances in breast
cancer tissue. While many experts feel the study is based on thin
evidence and that parabens are generally safe, Darbe's study set-off a
scare and debate withing the beauty industry as to the safety concerns
As a result, some manufacturers have introduced lines targeting the increasing demand of paraben-free products.
The background of the problem
As a bit of background, parabens are preservatives. Preservatives are needed for extending the shelf-life
of many products - from toothpaste, to groceries, to cosmetics.
Interestingly, most parabens are organic or natural-based, leading to
more confusion on the part of the public.
And, it is these preservatives that allow even a short life to be
available. Products that promote "100% organic" have a shelve life of
only days OR, they are using some form of alternative.
Concerns for Hair Health
Regardless, at least in the cosmetic and hair care industry, there
has been a growing wave of concern that these preservatives are
responsible got many scalp and hair problems people face.
In particular, it is believed by some industry experts, that their
use can cause biological damage to the follicle. Stripping of protective
coatings, fading color, reducing sheen and gloss (shine), increasing
brittleness and slowing growth have all been listed as expected effects.
Effective options for shampoo and conditioners
However, in 2005 the Cosmetic Ingredient Review
(CIR) reopened a review of parabens and their alternatives and found
that their use proved no harmful effects. Indeed, the use of
alternatives presented some problems as well.
With that said however, many manufacturers have begun using alternatives for extending the shelve life of products...namely:
Grapefruit seed extract
As a response, several companies, including Healthy Hair Plus®
have developed entire product lines that offer paraben-free shampoo as
well as conditioners. The use of these alternatives provide an option
to parabens, yet offer equal or superior preservation of efficacy and
staying power of the formulation.
Products such as Sfree® sulfate-free and paraben-free shampoo and conditioners
are natural-based and intended for the paraben and sulfate-free market -
making them especially useful for color-safe targeting.