Monday, March 25, 2013


Parabens are effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal preservatives widely utilized in the cosmetic industry. The most common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Their low cost and low incidence of contact dermatitis have greatly increased their popularity amongst cosmetic manufacturers.

Parabens, however, have been named in a heated controversy since a study was released in the U.K. linking parabens to cancer. According to the study, parabens were found in breast cancer tumors and a study further established that parabens may mimic estrogen when absorbed into the skin and bind to estrogen receptors, may influence estrogen levels, and may accumulate over time in body tissues. It is important to note that it has never been established that parabens were the cause of the breast tumors that were tested.

In 2007, a French study revisited the controversy and volunteers applied parabens to the skin’s surface continuously over a 36 hour timeframe. It was found that these repeated applications obviously increased quantities of parabens on the skin's barrier for the first 24 hours, however, there was no cumulative effect 36 hours later. What does this mean? This study concluded that parabens do not accumulate in the skin after 36 hours and therefore do not accumulate in the body's tissues.

The FDA declared that parabens in the concentrations found in skin care products pose no logical risk to consumers. The European Union took a hard look at parabens and declared them safe to use. There are many alternatives to consider when buying skin care products, but do not worry, what you can count on is that more tests are being conducted and the educated war for increased awareness rages on . . . thankfully.