Parabens refer to a group of chemicals, mostly synthetic, that are commonly found in health, beauty and personal care products. They act as a form of preservative, preventing the growth of potentially harmful microbes such as bacteria or fungus, thereby increasing shelf-life.
Some studies have shown that parabens may be harmful to the human body if used in large amounts. These concerns include breast cancer and a decrease in reproductive hormones in men, as parabens are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking oestrogen. Too much oestrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumours, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.