parabens: the truth is out there (1)

This was a sad case. Unfortunately, the original post has been deleted; it was a mix of bona fide rant by someone who’s been affected second-hand by cancer, and copy-pasted PR on a certain product.

So they say, anyway: and in the absence of any reason not to believe them, I believe them. Put it this way, in game- and utilitarian terms:
(1) if it’s a lying trolling git, I look foolish for thinking them sincere, but they’re a horrible excuse for a human being for lying about a serious thing like cancer.
Result: Honour, virtue, decency, human values, and all things positive = 1-0 to Ginger.
(2) if they’ve been affected by cancer and I’d not believed them (and maybe even been… ooh… sarcastic… or worse…): I’m a horrible non-person and their hurt is made worse.
Felicific calculus: Ginger : injured truth-teller = 1 dolor each, and no hedons for anyone 😦


Post flagged, content removed, account now deleted.



that was not a nice thing to say, my mother passed away last year from cancer, my sister in law has cancer so I know quite well what the procedures are, it is a shame that you say this and a shame you have flagged me being a newcomer and sharing my beauty rituals, if this is what makeupalley is then it is not a good board at all, people avoiding to share their experiences is ridiculous.


I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve lost friends and family to breast cancer too, and to other cancers.

That does not alter the facts of the matter.

What you posted up
(a) is a misrepresentation of actual research, and thus dangerous misinformation;
(b) utterly weird: I’ve never heard such a thing, on two continents and in several countries.
(c) looks like copy-pasted marketing materials from a skincare manufacturer (complete with fear-mongering). Looks very much like shilling. It fits a common pattern.

You’re not shilling? Please do prove it!


Very strange, as well my dad, my mother, my sister in law they all got that advise.
I am not from the US though.
I can’t post at the board anymore, do not know why.
But read this
Studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin may react with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage
A recent study found that parabens, when applied to skin, react with an enzyme called SULT. In simplified terms, SULT is the enzyme that helps the body flush out estrogen. So, when SULT enzymes are deactivated, estrogen levels increase. Parabens were found to deactivate these important enzymes. The study states “…these results suggest chronic topical application of parabens may lead to prolonged estrogenic effects in skin as a result of inhibition of estrogen sulfotransferase activity.” Supporters of parabens are always talking about how little parabens are absorbed and how weak their estrogenic activity is–but with this study in mind, absorption and estrogen receptor activity really are moot points. It’s a reaction with parabens in the skin that increases overall estrogen levels in the body. Many reproductive cancers are estrogen-dependent and tumor growth is fueled by an excess of estrogen. Uterine fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, irregular menstruation–all of these reproductive problems are caused by an excess of estrogen. So why would you want to apply these compounds to your skin!?


I am against parabens because the research which makes you think it is harmless is not done sufficiently and thank god there are people who do more research and do stop research, I am quite pissed of that I have been flagged away by mentioning a very good product which is without parabens,and other harmfull ingredients ,but it is your decision, can’t do anything about that.have a nice day.

I composed a reply (and myself), but alas, when I popped over to MUA mail to send it, my correspondent had been deleted or had self-deleted. I’m putting it up here as an open public letter: hoping it’ll still be useful to someone out there, and maybe even to viva, whoever she is, if she’s reading here:

Hi again,

OK. Deep breath.

1. This is not the advice given by medical doctors, in all my experience, in the following countries: [… list of places: inc. Canada, USA, various European countries]

2. I know that when you get a cancer report (and when someone reports that back to you), it’s a traumatic experience and you may well not remember all the details, or be fuzzy (or indeed faint). Been there, done that. It’s quite normal.

But it’s dangerous and irresponsible to go around spreading scares. Even if you’re scared exactly because you’ve experienced cancer first- or second-hand.

3. The site you cite is neither an accurate and scientific information source, not impartial. It’s the blog-end of Bumble and Bee. (This is a company that sells many fine products; but also some greenwashing ones; and it’s still a company, with commercial interests to protect.) I’d read their post before, it’s been circulating around the web quite a lot in the last few months.

4. It’s very easy to be misled by more-or-less clever marketing and advertising. And to end up effectively doing free publicity for a company. The more so if you’re in a vulnerable situation. This is not a criticism of you, but of the people who misled you. It’s a bad / wicked thing about the company/ies concerned. Exploiting and abusing people is wrong. It’s sad that we have to beware of that, but that’s the way the world is. One of the best things about MUA is protecting people by offering criticism (in the balanced both-sides judgement sense: not just dissing), and showing how to do research, find other information sources, encourage scepticism, and educate and empower people.

5. On parabens: yes, one approach is to avoid them until all research states they’re 100% safe. And that would be a sensible thing to do with young kids, for skin-barrier reasons; or anyone else with skin barrier issues.

But not for normal healthy adults, with a fully-functioning skin barrier.

Second “but”: that’s not how science and the scientific method work: you set up a hypothesis and leave it open to refutation. Unlike anything setting itself up as 100% right and trustworthy: pseudoscience and cults. For more on this, see:

More on the actual research:

6. On flagging and deletion: I’m not in charge of MUA. Several people must have flagged you for your post to have been deleted; this is a community.

You can always start up a new profile… as many others have done, not just for nefarious reasons (trolls and PR agents) but for more reasonable ones too (misunderstandings, arguments, boredom, wanting a break and a change).

Hope that helps. Above all: my sympathies for your situation, both on cancer and for having been duped.


time for a nice cup of tea: peace out!

See, this is something that turns up a lot. Hence bookmarking the posts in question. You’ll recall oh dear: not the EWG (2).

The following is (until further information is available) my standard response. I’ll be copy-pasting the contents of all the links in the summary below and jiggling them around into a follow-up to this post, Part The Second.


A. The main actual research re. parabens: as misread, misrepresented, & generally abused by way too many consumer “protection” and “information” organizations: should know better, should do better, irresponsible, and of course stupid. Tsk. C/o here:

B. Links for discussion of parabens on MUA boards++

1. Discussion on the skincare board: you’ll have to go through these references yourself, but as you’ll see, there’s plenty to get through:
etc. for ethylparaben, butylparaben

2. Discussion on green board (where I wave angry fists around crusading for truth, justice, and sanity… especially on stuff like this…): (I linked to the then main studies…)

3. Recently on SCB:

Care to reply?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s