Preservatives in Cosmetics: Are Parabens Safe for Use?

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Are Parabens Safe

Many products that are geared toward the natural hair market, make a point to state that their product is paraben free. Why is it exactly that parabens are so bad? Many of us have heard it all through the grapevine, but why is this so? Are parabens safe?

What is a paraben?

Parabens are preservatives that are used in hair, skin, and or beauty products. The most common parabens that you will find on your ingredient labels will be methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Why are they used in our cosmetics?

They prevent microbial growth or in other words prevent products from becoming contaminated to protect the consumer and maintain the stability of the product.

Why are parabens viewed as being harmful; why are they so taboo?

“A study conducted in 2004 detected parabens in breast tumors (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology). However this study left many unanswered questions, the main one being do parabens cause cancer?  This particular study could not even explain why parabens were found in the breast tissue in the first place. In 2005 the Cosmetic Ingredient review decided to re-open its safety assessment for parabens and again came to the conclusion that there is no evidence to support that this ingredient is harmful to consumers.” Beauty
What does the FDA say about parabens? 

FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens”

Are there other options as opposed  to parabens?

Yes, there are other ingredients that can be used in place of parabens to preserve products such as grapefruit seed extract, phenoxyethanol , potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, tocopherol (vitamin E) , vitamin A (retinyl) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid).


You have to make up your own mind on whether or not you think that parabens are harmful. Regardless of whether or not you choose to use a product that contains parabens some sort of preservative must be used to prevent bacterial, mold, and yeast growth.

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