What are Parabens

Author Bri LaFluer / Sleepy Cotton Content Writer / Feb-15-2020

What are Parabens?

The current market is flooded with personal care products that are advertised as all natural. Are they truly beneficial to our health? Considering the ingredients many of them don’t advertise; it is not likely. Unfortunately, most of them are just deceptive marketing strategies.

To find products that you can truly trust, be sure to check all of the ingredients before you buy them. Make sure that there are no irritating chemically made harsh ingredients. This includes parabens, SLS/SLES, phthalates, formaldehyde, and also mineral oils which are all potentially harmful to the body.

But what are parabens and how can they affect us? Parabens can be a harmful risk to humans as well as dogs; especially ones with skin sensitivities. Like many other ingredients, most researches mainly focus on finding the links between parabens and the human body. However, with more fragile skin, dogs could be even more susceptible to symptoms from contact.

Key Points
  • Parabens are cheap chemicals that manufacturers add in cosmetics, medications, and food products to preserve their shelf life while reducing bacterial and mold growth.
  • Parabens have been linked to reproductive issues, tumor growth, as well as disrupting hormone function.
  • Because of the harsh properties, parabens can penetrate through skin layers easily.
  • This preservative is known to be a common allergy to dogs and cause contact dermatitis.

What are Parabens and Their Purpose?

Parabens are synthetic chemicals commonly used in a variety of everyday goods to reduce microbial growth. You can find them as an included ingredient in many cosmetics, medications, and food. They are "derived from para-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, cherries, carrots, blueberries and onions" as stated by Chemical Safety Facts. Since the 1920's, this inexpensive chemical has been used to preserve products and extend shelf life to consumers. They allow products to survive for a long period of time up to years to prevent and reduce bacteria + mold. You can find parabens under the ingredient names of butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, benzylparaben, ethylparaben, and isopropylparaben.

Are Parabens Bad?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization consider paraben chemicals safe at low levels. Although, parabens have been linked to reproductive issues, tumor growth, as well as disrupting hormone function.

Some people may be more sensitive to parabens than others will be. Because they are easily absorbed, parabens are stored within the body and can be found remaining within tissues. This can increase the reaction people may have if they are allergic to parabens.

Others who don't notice any irritations when using products with parabens may be able to tolerate it better. But since it is such a common ingredient, people are likely to use products with parabens on a daily basis. The concentration percentage of the chemical will build up in our bodies. This leads to a higher risk of harm since we should not exceed "safe" limitations.


Parabens have also negatively affected the environment over time. Scientific studies have found paraben chemicals in the bodies of aquatic life. Researchers believe that products we use with added parabens being washed away into the sewer systems are then released into the natural environment.

Parabens in Dog Grooming

Dogs have highly sensitive skin. This means that harsh chemicals are likely to irritate them more than they irritate us. Their skin layers are drastically fewer than humans, making ingredients able to absorb into their bodies faster.

Chemicals in products that you apply to your dog’s coat will eventually be absorbed into their skin and lungs, then make their way into the bloodstream. Remains of the chemicals will also end up in their internal organs and digestive system.

Parabens are even an allergy to some dogs causing irritation to their skin, and are actually known to "commonly cause contact dermatitis" as acknowledged by Wag! Symptoms include rashes, dry flaky skin, red bumps, and uncomfortable itching.  

When looking at grooming products for your dog, you will notice that parabens are primarily found in almost all pet shampoos. For choosing a shampoo for their bath time, you'll want to look for safer "paraben-free" labeled products to benefit your dog.

Sleepy Cotton's All Natural Choice

All Sleepy Cotton Spa / Bath products are made with natural preservatives and naturally derived ingredients that benefit your dog’s skin, coat, and overall health.

By proudly providing a full ingredient list, we keep things simple and honest. All our Spa / Bath products are made in the USA with 100% US made ingredients. Absolutely no harsh chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, dyes, synthetic fragrances, SLS or SLES.

Closing Thoughts on Parabens

Although parabens could be causing long term damage to all of our health, people are continuing to produce and consume products including parabens.

Because of their harsh properties, parabens have been linked to reproductive issues, tumor growth, as well as disrupting hormone function. Since they are so easily absorbed, parabens are stored within the body and can be found further remaining within tissues.

Now that we know the answer to what are parabens, shall we eliminate them from our daily routine?

Related Articles

What is SLS? This chemical ingredient helps clean well, but is it too harsh for us? Humans and dogs can both become easily affected by this skin irritant.

What are some ingredients to avoid in shampoo? Certain chemicals can be harmful and unnecessary for you, your dog, and the environment.

Bath time for you and your furry friend can be a dreadful time for both of you, or a fun bonding spa experience! But how often should you bathe your dog?

What is guar gum exactly? This bean of the guar plant offers many healthful benefits. It is used in medications, food, and cosmetics for its versatility.


Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out


Brianna LaFluer
Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart