Natural and organic companies love to play up the hype: Parabens have been associated in published scientific studies with increased breast cancer cell proliferation, found in breast tumor samples, and suggested to have estrogenic (hormonal) effects. Yet, if you examine the studies closely, you will find that most of the studies use parabens in nonsensical, almost laughable concentrations. In one study that tested parabens on fish and concluded parabens may be harmful to human health, parabens were ingested by the fish in doses between 100 and 300 mg/kg, which amounts to about 15000 mg of parabens for the average 74 kg American woman. Here are more reasons I am in support of parabens in products over paraben alternatives:
1.) Parabens are gentle.
Why am I so in support of parabens? For one, it’s harder to find a preservative that is more well-tolerated. Most people experience very low rates of irritation, if any irritation at all, from parabens in concentrations up to 0.25% ( theAmerican Journal of Contact Dermatitis). On the other hand, scores of paraben alternatives are not FutureDerm-recommended for sensitive skin. These include methylisothiazolinone, which has been associated with scores of allergic skin reactions (Contact Dermatitis, 2010) and benzoic acid, which penetrates the skin better than caffeine or testosterone (Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 2004). Benzoic acid can cause other substances used alongside it to penetrate the skin more deeply as well. Sometimes this is a good thing, as it is utilized as a penetration enhancer in some skin serums, but if the effect is unintended, it can result in widespread irritation, like when you use products containing benzoic acid before you use other products. I say, stick with products containing parabens or phenoxyethanol, which also has a low rate of irritation (The Anatomical Record).
2.) Parabens are cleared from your system every one-and-a-half days.
Yep, you read that right: Parabens are cleared from the body every one-and-a-half days (Cosmetics Design, 2008), so it’s not like they are accumulating in tissues and reaking havoc on you for years, like some natural and organic companies would have you believe. If parabens weren’t cleared from your system every one-and-a-half days, plain ol’ blueberries would probably kill you. Believe it or not, the little blue superfruit is a source of parabens! [Read more: The Real Dangerous Source of Parabens: Your Food?] So you are eating way more parabens than you are applying to your skin.
3.) Benzoic acid and other organic acids do NOT guard against fungal and bacterial growth.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, parabens are one of the only preservatives that are effective against bacteria and fungi. And while it might be debatable whether or not very low doses of estrogenic substances will harm your health, it is well-known that certain bacteria and fungal species will make you sick, every time. Last thing you want is these growing on you! The following paraben alternatives have been found to be effective against fungi, NOT many types of bacteria (Cosmetics and Toiletries, 2005):
- 1.) Benzoic acid
- 2.) Potassium sorbate
- 3.) Sodium benzoate
- 4.) Sorbic acid
These organic acids interact only with the cell wall of microorganisms. That does not kill the majority of bacteria, only fungi! By contrast, parabens will interfere with the metabolic pathways of bacteria (Cosmetics and Toiletries, 2005), killing them in an efficient manner, similar to many antibiotics.
Whether I am selecting products to test for the FutureDerm blog or formulating FutureDerm products myself, I am careful to use only parabens or phenoxyethanol as the preservative systems. Methylisothiazolinone is simply too irritating, and compounds like benzoic acid, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate simply don’t guard enough against bacterial growth for me to feel safe opening and closing my products and keeping them on the shelf for months (sometimes 1-2 years) at a time. So when selecting products, be sure to use only parabens or phenoxyethanol as the preservative systems! What are your thoughts? Let me know if comments below!
Try Our FutureDerm Products and Gift Sets!
|FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 The best retinol serum you’ve ever tried. We guarantee it.|
|FutureDerm Skin Reborn Facial Cleanser 8.31 A cleanser that feels like a serum!|
|FutureDerm Skin Reborn Gift Set One bottle of FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 (use in the morning) and one bottle of FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 (use at night).|
|FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 – Triple Set Get our best-selling retinol cream at a discount when you buy three at a time!|