This year, in addition to my usual giving up of sweets for Lent, I decided to give up something a little more unusual. Parabens. Parawhats? Parabens. Science calles them preservatives, but in my imagination parabens are little elves that live inside your lotions, cosmetics, shampoos and pretty much everything else you use everyday. Their job is to use their magic elf power to keep all the bacteria out of your stuff so it doesn’t go bad. They sound like good elves, right? Well, not so fast.
Turns out that in addition to keeping your favorite foot lotion smelling fresh, these little elves might be raising your risk of cancer. Breast cancer specifically. A UK study led by molecular biologist Phillipa Darbre found that high concentrations of parabens were present in 18 out of the 20 cancerous breast tumors sampled for her study. I suppose it could be a coincidence, but I’m paranoid, so I thought I’d try giving up parabens for Lent. And maybe for good. Can’t be that hard, right? Wrong.
Parabens are everywhere. EVERYWHERE! My favorite Philosophy facewash, my fancy shampoo, my Laura Mercier foundation, even my Johnson & Johnson baby lotion. The biggest bummer of all? My supposedly wrinkle reducing night cream. Just when I thought I was going to get rid of these crows feet. Foiled again.
So whats a girl to do? Start reading ingredients I guess. I found a nice Kiss My Face lavendar scented body lotion to replace the lavendar baby lotion I loved so much. Also switched to less fancy (and super yummy smelling) paraben-free shampoo. But I’m just not sure if I’m going to be able to fiind acceptable paraben-free substitutes for Laura Mercier and Philosophy. I guess its time to invest in a maginfying glass and devote an afternoon to reading tiny letters in Sephora. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to stick with giving up sweets again this year.