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The Truth About Parabens In Skincare

Ah parabens, they’ve long been a controversal ingredients in skincare. Widely used in ‘conventional’ synthetic skincare but avoided at all costs in the Organic and Natural beauty world. And for good reason. They’ve been linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, skin irritation and allergic reactions world wide.

If that’s the case, why do brands use them in their beauty products? Well, as always, they are cost effective, cheap even, to produce. So they are a popular choice for manufacturers large and small in some cases.

They are used to preserve a product that contains water. Which is very important. Even with the rise of ‘preservative free’ products, preservation of water based, and in some cases, non water based products is a necessity. Unpreserved water based or water containing products can at best go ‘off’ very quickly and at worst have been known to cause severe skin issues, blindness and even, dare I say it, death.

Skincare side effects are a nightmare for any brand and unpreserved products are a lawsuit waiting to happen. This is one of the reasons why so many smaller brands do not use water in their formulations.

However, they’re missing a trick because there are so many wonderful natural preservatives on the market.

For a consumer, the outcome of an unpreserved product could be even worse.

So, preservatives are very good, but parabens much less so. But they are not the only choice for brands and manufacturers so it’s frustrating that they are still used at all given the data widely available on their potential toxicity.

There are so many wonderful alternatives to parabens on the market that are used in natural cosmetics. Ingredients such as Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Lactobacillus Ferment and Benzyl Alcohol (that we use in our toothpaste) are all good places to start when you are are looking at INCI lists for the preservative. Many of these are used together in readily built preservation systems sold by ingredients suppliers.

An unpreserved water containing skincare, body care, dental and hair care product will grow mould and bacteria, which I don’t know about you, even without knowing the seriousness of this it sounds rather icky to me.

So whilst parabens are a no go for any natural product lover, preservatives are still one of the most important ingredients needed in products that contain water. For consumer safety and efficacy of the product.

Let me know your thoughts on parabens and preservatives below.

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