You've probably head about parabens — and you're certainly exposed to them every day. Parabens are a preservative commonly used in cosmetics and personal products. They're regarded as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but some researchers continue to eye them as a possible cancer risk. That's because parabens are easily absorbed through the skin, and may imitate the hormone estrogen in the human body.

While there's no firm scientific data demonstrating this is actually a problem, it's getting easier to avoid parabens altogether. Look for products marked "paraben free." It's also simple to spot the various kinds of parabens listed on product labels. Hats off to the companies working to replace parabens with plant-based alternatives!

Copyright Lighter Footstep 2009

The beauty of paraben-free is more than skin deep
Parabens are commonly used in cosmetics, but some researchers still view them as a cancer risk.