Your grooming routine might be packing a punch below the belt: Common additives found in personal care products might be wrecking your sperm, a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests.
In the study, researchers collected sperm and urine samples from 325 men with normal sperm concentrations who attended an infertility clinic in Poland. They tested the sperm for measures of quality, and the urine for levels of five parabens, man-made chemicals used as preservative in personal care and grooming products: butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.
They discovered that men with higher urine concentrations of the parabens were significantly more likely to have abnormally-shaped sperm and sperm that doesn’t move as well as it should. Plus, higher levels of butylparaben were linked to greater chances of DNA damage in the sperm, too. (Here are 7 things you do everyday that could wreck your sperm.)
Parabens act like endocrine disruptors, the researchers believe. That means they interfere with your normal hormone process, or even trigger inappropriate hormone activity. This can affect testosterone levels and sperm production, possibly causing you to have trouble getting your partner pregnant.
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Problem is, parabens are found in tons of personal care and grooming products, like toothpastes, sunscreens, lotions, face washes, hand soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. And it’s not quite clear yet how much of it can be harmful—more research must be done to give more clarity on the link before any firm recommendations can be made.
But in the meantime, if you are worried about your sperm, take a look at the label for your personal care products. Butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben are among the most common you’d see listed.
It might take a little searching, but you can find some products that are paraben-free. For instance, Tom’s of Maine Botanically Bright Toothpaste and Natural Beauty Bar soap, and Cetaphil Fragrance Free Moisturizing Lotion. Parabens Can Hurt Your Sperm Quality