Are parabens in lube bad?

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Here are our latest discoveries on a common lube ingredient: parabens. With this article we provide an objective answer to the question: “Are parabens in lube bad?”

Latest news on parabens (chemical used in skincare), which are presumably also a harmful lube ingredient, are all gathered within this article. All our findings regarding the toxicity of parabens are going to be revealed in the continuation. Parabens are a hot topic in skin-health department, but this ingredient is also used in personal lubricants and may very well affect your sexual well-being.

You can find various opinions online (blogs, forums, etc.), some people claiming parabens toxicity is deadly, while others are saying that parabens are not such a big deal. So, which one is true? Is hype justified or is toxicity regarding parabens just a myth?

Are parabens in lube bad?

Here’s our answer, which is based on an in-depth research of parabens and their toxicity: Parabens are indeed harmful in regards to (male and female) sexual well-being. This ingredient is proven to be the cause of multiple health issues, some of which are: vaginal irritation , skin irritation, skin sensitization, possible cause of infections, proven to promote growth of carcinogenic tumors, … these are just main health concerns regarding parabens and their negative effects on one’s sexual wellness.

If you’d like to know, how we’ve established this (objectified) opinion on toxicity of parabens, you should continue reading.

At the end of the article, you may also find a coupe of recommendations of high quality, ingredient-friendly lubricants, which will bring great pleasure to your sexual life without posing any harm to your skin and intimate parts. On the contrary, the recommendations included in this article, are proven to be medicinal and beneficial to your health.


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Parabens turn out to be just one of the many harmful ingredients you can find in personal lubricants. If you’d like to see our full list of 20 toxic lube ingredients which you should avoid at all costs, then you should definitely take a look at this related article.

Now let’s make a closer inspection of what exactly are parabens and how exactly are they harmful. We will take a methodological approach to answering are parabens in lube bad? – We will present facts, and we will try to remain unbiased in expressing our own opinion.

What are parabens?

what are parabens in skincare and are they bad

Parabens are chemicals, which name ends with “–paraben”. Parabens are commonly included in various products (skin care products, cosmetic products, personal lubricants, shampoos, hair conditioners, etc.). Their main function is preservation (extension of product’s expiration date).

Some of the most commonly used parabens are:

  • methylparaben (E218); chemical formula C8H8O3
  • propylparaben (E214); chemical formula C10H12O3
  • ethylparaben (E216); chemical formula C9H10O3
  • heptylparaben (E209); chemical formula C14H20O3
  • butylparaben (E209); chemical formula C11H14O3

Lesser known parabens are:

  • isopropylparaben; chemical formula C10H12O3
  • isobutylparaben; chemical formula C11H14O3
  • benzylparaben; chemical formula C14H12O3
  • phenylparaben; chemical formula C13H10O3

All these chemicals possess similar features and work as preservatives. With one word we call all the above ingredients “parabens”.

They also cause similar effects to human well-being. Are parabens in lube bad? Well, not only in lube also in other skin care products. You should go now and check all your inventory of various bottles and creams you keep in your bathroom if they include the above mentioned chemicals.

Also check baby products if you are nourishing your babies skin with something that is commercialized as “being healthy for the baby”. And then, after more in-depth check, you find out there’s formaldehyde included in that powder you are using on your child.

This is serious issue. Applying parabens to your skin can have terrible consequences in a long run. Let’s take a look at some!

How bad are parabens in a lube?

Even the basic research (without exploring clinical studies) shows us that parabens are no good, and should probably be avoided. As the “fast method” for checking ingredient safety, you can always do a quick check for any compound basic information and concerns at EWG Skin Deep [1] and PubChem [2].

The first and the second source, both define parabens as a health hazard. Mainly due to parabens being connected with these concerns:

  • Irritation;
  • Endocrine disruption;
  • Human skin toxicant or allergen;
  • Interference with gene expression (biochemical or cellular level changes);
  • Developmental and reproductive system toxicity;
  • Wildlife and environmental toxicity.

The above concerns are just the main ones pointed out by previously mentioned sources. However, if you dig deep into studies you can find a lot more health hazards related to this ingredient. So, are parabens in lube bad? It is hard to imagine that manufacturers are featuring something this harmful within their intimate products.

Let’s check some visual warnings we get when searching for different types of parabens.

Parabens toxicity – tabular overview

If you don’t know the EWG Skin Deep score card, it ranges from 1-10 with 1 being safe and 10 being the most toxic. It also uses visualization, where rating 1-2 are green (considered safe), and ratings from 3 to 10 being orange and red (indicating health hazard).

On the other hand, PubChem uses simple pictograms, which indicate some main issues with the compound. And as we can see from the table above, all parabens are marked with either the:

  • Irritant pictogram;
  • Corrosive pictogram;
  • Health hazard pictogram.

When you check for ingredients that are actually safe, you will not get these images displayed – that’s a fact. The EWG will be green, and the PubChem will have no warning pictograms.

By seeing all these orange / red / irritant / corrosive / health hazard signs, we already get that first impression regarding the safety of parabens in personal lubricant.

Are parabens in lube bad? – If your personal lubricant would have the above pictograms all over it, would you be applying it to your intimate parts?

An example of parabens in a lube

We would like to show you an example now. We will present a lube that contains parabens (whole bunch of them not just one type).

The worst thing about this specific case is that manufacturer is advertising this lube as: HERBAL CREAM FOR MEN.

But when you check ingredients, they are all synthetic, and harmful.

lube with parabens and urea - skin care danger

5 types of parabens. As if one isn’t already enough. And the inclusion of UREA confirms this example to be one of the worst we’ve ever witnessed. Urea is an ingredient that releases formaldehyde.

Looking at the image below, it is amazing how they advise “prolonged use”. The fact is that this is exactly what makes parabens so toxic – repeated use. And many chemicals, which are proven to be harmful, show their worst effects after months or years of repeated use.

lube safety - are parabens in a lube bad

It also says in description, that you will feel nice, gentle warming sensation. It will probably be more like “burning sensation”, with all these irritants included.

What studies are saying? – Are parabens in lube bad?

Here we will go through clinical research studies on parabens and their toxicity. We are going to take a look at what studies have to say about parabens.

So far, we’ve determined that authority health sources, are warning against parabens, due to their harmful effect on human skin and overall health. But let’s also check what just how bad are parabens in skin care and personal lubricants, according to the studies. Are parabens in lube bad? – Here’s what science is saying.

Parabens case study #1

are parabens in lube bad - comprehensive study of parabens in personal lubricants
Source 1: Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumours; P. D. Darbre, et al.

So, what you are looking at here, on the above image, does partially answer your question: “are parabens in lube bad?”

The above image is from the 2004 research study of parabens concentration in human breast cancer (tumors). 20 real human cancer patients were studied. It can be seen that methylparaben was measured as the highest value.

This does not necessarily mean that methylparaben is the most dangerous one. Because it can also mean that it was the ingredient that the person was applying to herself the most (quantitatively speaking).

What did this 2004 study prove?

  • Parabens are in-fact present in carcinogenic tumors.
  • It was not proven that parabens actually caused tumors or promoted their growth.

This study does not prove that parabens are the cause of the cancer. It simply proves these chemicals are present in human breast tumors (along with many other chemicals). However, the 1st doubt on safety of parabens is established.

Parabens case study #2

2016 paraben study - Parabens cause cancer
Source 2: Methylparaben stimulates tumor initiating cells in ER+ breast cancer models; Cydney Nichols, et al.

You can here see a study from 2016, focused on researching the carcinogenicity of parabens – to be more precise Methylparaben (mePB).

If the 1st (2004) study confirmed the presence of parabens in human breast tumors, this (2016) study confirms the effects. Methylparaben was found to contribute to proliferation of breast cancer tumors. We believe this study answers are parabens in lube bad?

Methylparaben is widely used in skin care and personal care products. A number of intimate lubricants include methylparaben as a preservative. And now we are here reading that studies have concluded that methylparaben is cancer causing. This is quite concerning don’t you agree?

What did we establish by including this study in our article? – That parabens seem to be very bad, not only are they an irritant ingredient, they also contribute to tumor growth.

Parabens case study #3

parabens skin irritation
Source 3: What are parabens and why don’t they belong in cosmetics; Tasha Stoiber, PhD, Senior Scientist

If we check the tabular overview, we can see that every type of paraben is marked by PubChem as an irritant. So there’s no surprise that studies confirm skin irritation properties of parabens.

Applying parabens to your skin may therefore result in redness, itchiness, and can pose even bigger threat when applied to the most sensitive areas on human body.

There’s also evidence of skin sensitization – an allergic reaction to parabens. Allergic contact dermatitis is a reaction common when applying harmful chemical substances to your skin.

We should all be aware that we are here talking about personal lubricants. Personal lubricants are not the same as other skin care products. Lubricants are used on most sensitive intimate parts of our bodies. That is why it is so much more important that a lube does not contain any irritant ingredients, because the consequences may be far worse.

This same study (by Tasha Stoiber, PhD) also shows that parabens have negative effects on reproductive system, meaning they affect fertility and can pose harm to an unborn child.

Are parabens in lube bad? – We believe that our overview of 3 different research studies shows just how harmful parabens can be, and that parabens shouldn’t be used in skincare and cosmetics, and most definitely not in personal lubricants. Parabens are a compound that should be avoided at all costs.

Paraben free lube – Healthy recommendations

If you are searching for an ingredient-friendly lube that contains no parabens (or other harmful ingredients), here are your best choices.

Not only are these personal lubricants healthy, they also provide maximum pleasure by never getting sticky. The performance of all the below recommendations is simply astonishing.

Water-based lube

Best water based lube

Silicone-based lube

best silicone based lube

Olive oil lube

Best olive oil for sexual lube

Coconut oil lube

extra virgin coconut oil for lube

By clicking the image you will be taken to Amazon from where you can purchase any of the above recommendations. These lubes are the best, trust us. We’ve been in this game for a while now, and had a chance to test various personal lubricants, and this is best of the best.

The lubricants above are not only free of parabens but also contain:

  • no glycerin (connected to yeast infections);
  • no urea (formaldehyde releaser – irritation and cancer);
  • no dmdm hydantoin (formaldehyde releaser – irritation and cancer);
  • no butylphenyl methylpropional (synthetic fragrance, connected to infertility);
  • are natural without any sweeteners (artificial flavors).

These lubricants are our top choice and will provide for additional pleasure of your intimate activities. At the same time, they will also work medicinally as they carry health beneficial properties that will provide positive effects to your skin and general health. These lubes are all edible and 100% safe.

Are parabens in lube bad? | Conclusion

One should always care about their sexual well-being. With all the products today it is quite hard to recognize those that are of top quality, and those that will result in negative aftermath.

As an independent authority source in the field of personal lubricants and sexual wellness, we at lubeforsex.com try to create helpful content based on which you’ll be able to decide whether you want to grab a specific lube.

There’s no point in studying brands or looking for correlation with the price. The most expensive lube, does not necessarily mean, that it’s also ingredient friendly. Same goes for skincare products. Skin care is a topic where one must know the ingredients and chemicals used.

Once you get to know the compounds, and once you are able to determine the quality of a skin care product based on the list of ingredients, then you are the winner.

The process of learning all these ingredients is however slow. That’s why we are here. To help you understand the effects of a certain ingredient, and to help you chose your perfect product – let it be a lube, or any other skin care product.

And finally, yes, parabens are bad, avoid them. As you will have better sexual experience if you pick a lube that is paraben free and ingredient-friendly. Take care of your private parts, and make sure your sexual life is both healthy and enjoyable.

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