Parabens are preservatives that are commonly found in cosmetics. Over the last several years, however, parabens have been targeted as a possible health hazard and consumers are seeking out paraben-free alternatives.
Why Parabens Are Used in Cosmetics
Parabens protect cosmetics against contamination and spoilage. Parabens are prevalent in cosmetics such as shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, self-tanner, moisturizers, deodorants, antiperspirants and shaving cream. Scan the ingredient list for the "paraben" suffix. Methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl-, isopropyl- and isobutylparaben are common parabens used in cosmetics.
Paraben Health Concerns
Research has shown that parabens display estrogenic properties, which would suggest a possible link to cancer. The FDA, National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society stipulate that research findings that indicate a possible connection between paraben and cancer are inconclusive, and that more research needs to be conducted. Both the FDA and the European Commission have declared parabens safe for use in cosmetics.
Paraben-free facial cleansers work especially well if your skin is sensitive to chemicals. Dr. Perricone offers a wide range of paraben-free cleansers, such as the Nutritive Cleanser, which defends against aging and free radical damage. Caudalie, Korres and Philosophy also offer gentle paraben-free cleansers as part of their skin care lines.
Eye Makeup Removers
The mucous membranes of the eyes are especially sensitive to chemicals and preservatives such as parabens. A gentle eye makeup remover made of pure and natural ingredients has become increasingly easy to find. Bare Escentuals, Kinerase, Josie Maran and Nude Skincare offer eye makeup removers that are formulated without sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and triclosan.
There are many facial moisturizers that no longer contain parabens. Grape seed extract and essential oils such as cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and tea tree are natural alternatives to synthetically produced parabens. These natural ingredients provide protection against the growth of harmful microorganisms and bacteria that lead to product contamination. Pangea Organics, Jack Black products and Boscia skin care offer several facial lotions and creams that are paraben free. Burt’s Bees and Alba Botanica also offer paraben-free skin products.
Eye creams have the annoying habit of drifting up into your eyes, causing stinging and irritation. A paraben-free eye cream has less chance of causing discomfort. Jurlique, Fresh and Skyn Iceland’s eye creams are all paraben free.
Alba Botanica’s facial sunscreens are paraben free, as are Boscia’s and Jack Black’s. Kiss My Face and Jason Natural Personal Care Products offer a wide range of paraben-free sunscreens for the face and the body.