How Good Housekeeping surveyed 900-plus readers to find out which synthetic ingredients topped their list of concerns. Then we asked experts to weigh in on which are simply annoying (for example, merely skin-irritating) and which may lead to more serious trouble (endocrine problems, or even cancer). Unfortunately, because research in humans tends to be scant, the risks in many cases are not well-known. But here is what we do know, and what you can do about five of the ingredients that worry you most.
Listed on labels as methylparaben, benzylparaben, or other ingredients ending with the same word, these effective preservatives are used in cosmetics from lotions to lipsticks.
Since many parabens appear to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body, there's concern that they may affect the endocrine system (hence the term "endocrine disruptor") and lead to decreased sperm counts in men and even breast cancer in women. A much-debated 2004 study found parabens in a smallRead More »from 5 Scary Cosmetic Ingredients Explained