Updated: FEBRUARY 6, 2017
Parabens are a common type of chemical preservative used in a variety of personal care products, including personal lubricants.
While the Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization claim parabens in lubricants are completely safe, some nations have banned their usage amid safety concerns. Paraben allergies are also well documented.
More About Parabens
Parabens deter microbial growth in lubricants so that they last longer. However, there are non-paraben alternatives that can also give lubricants an extended shelf life.
The Food and Drug Administration is among the notable organizations to insist parabens in products like silicon pose no health risk to humans. However, it’s important to note that human testing is not mandatory because much of their research concerns the impact on animals. Concerned citizens say results on human may differ. The critics are particularly concerned at the way parabens mimic estrogen.
Like estrogen, parabens may be stored in the human body and build up over time. It’s unknown what these parabens may do, but as parabens have been found in the tissue of malignant breast tumors, some fear these chemicals could cause breast cancer.
There’s also concern that the estrogenic effects could cause havoc within our endocrine system, lowering the male sperm count and increasing the risk of testicular, breast, and ovarian cancer. Parabens may even be a factor in premature aging.
For people with paraben allergies, these chemicals are an immediate concern. They can make the skin irritated, sore, and swollen. While these effects are temporary, they can make sex difficult or impossible.
Many silicon-based and water-based lubricants don’t contain parabens, so they can be a good choice for anyone concerned about these chemicals. However, to be sure it’s best to read the list of ingredients before purchasing lubricants. Parabens always end with the word paraben. Butylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben are some of the most common. Most lubricants containing parabens use a number of these chemicals.