Why Treat Parabens with Caution? THE BIG FOUR : methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben
Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic and hair products. I personally try hard to avoid products containing any of the big four, and if that's simply not possible then I go for products with the least number of parabens listed and check that they are right at the bottom of the list of ingredients. Studies are being conducted into whether there is a link between parabens and cancer -see http://www.reading.ac.uk/about/newsandevents/releases/PR476.asp. I don't think they are proven to be carcinogenic at this time, but I do think it is significant that they have been found to be present in so many samples of breast tissue and that studies need to be conducted which either officially condemn them or exculpate them altogether. In the meantime, my view is that they should be treated with caution - both by the cosmetic and hair industry and by the consumer. I think at the very least parabens are skin irritants and bad news for anyone with sensitive skin - see http://dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/parabens-allergy.html. Many big companies promote themselves as caring for the environment and promote expensive skincare which they say is plant derived and good for skin, but they fail to mention in their list of "main ingredients" on their websites that their products contain parabens [ amongst other stuff ]. And when you get the product you automatically discard the outer packaging and just keep a special place for the tube, bottle, or tub of wonder cream. But in fact the outer packaging which you've just discarded contains all the references to the hidden nasties. That's clever marketing !
It's a matter of personal choice, skin sensitivity, and possibly risk, whether you use products containing parabens. There's no harm in being safe. In this case being safe could be either side of the fence - the fact is that further studies need to be done.