By the way, doctor: Are parabens dangerous?
Q I notice that parabens are found in many cosmetics and skin care products. I heard that they're carcinogenic. Is that true?
A Parabens (short for p-hydroxybenzoic acid esters) are preservatives that are used in shampoos, lotions, cosmetics, and many other personal care products. By hindering the growth of microorganisms, parabens give products a longer, more stable shelf life. These chemicals, which include methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben, also have weak estrogenic effects.