Propylparabens are synthetic chemicals that are members of the paraben family. Propylparabens, along with three other kinds of parabens (butylparaben, methylparaben and ethylparaben) are common ingredients in many types of foods and cosmetics. The chemical functions as an antimicrobial, a preservative and a flavouring agent. Various dangers are often associated with use of propylparabens, although there is insufficient scientific evidence and research to back up the speculation.
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Propylparaben, along with the other parabens, is classified as being "estrogenic." This term means that propylparaben functions similarly to oestrogen, which is the female sex hormone. As a result, propylparabens may risk tricking the body into thinking that is actually oestrogen. Excessive accumulation of oestrogen could lead to possible side effects such as weight gain and fluid retention. Another possibility is interruption of the hormone system in general, which could negatively impact fertility and pregnant women with developing male foetuses inside of the body.
Since propylparaben is used topically in beauty products, it is also often believed to lead to possible allergic skin reactions, particularly for individuals who have especially sensitive skin. Propylparaben has also been linked to dermatitis, which is a skin inflammation disorder that is characterised by rashes and reddened, itchy and swollen skin.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some common products that contain propylparaben include shaving products, hair products (such as shampoo, conditioner and hairspray), moisturisers, lotions and make-up (such as foundation, powder, eyeliner and mascara). However, the majority of major antiperspirant and deodorant brands do not use propylparaben to manufacture their products. The FDA states that in 1984, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review deemed propylparaben safe for use in any personal care products at levels of a maximum of 25 per cent. In general, propylparaben is used at levels that go from 0.01 up to 0.3 per cent.
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