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What is the meaning of “paraben-free”?


Imagine you are walking to the store to buy a suitable shampoo for your hair. There are some products with the label “paraben-free,” which people prefer. But why? What is paraben, and why shouldn’t it be used in formulations?

What is paraben?

Parabens are a group of chemicals that play an important role in extending the shelf life of products. Actually, these preservatives are the reason why you can use a moisture cream for about a year. This strong preservative is able to inhibit harmful bacterial and fungal growth.

Parabens are derived from a chemical known as “para-hydroxy benzoic acid”. This material exists naturally in fruits and vegetables like carrots and onions. But the fact is that most of the cosmetic industries use the one that is synthesized in laboratories.

Which products contain paraben?

We can find it in products such as sunscreen, shampoo, lipstick, lip balm, and moisturizing cream. Briefly, we can find paraben in skin care products a lot. If you want to check if the item you are going to buy contains paraben, look for these chemicals on the ingredient label:

  1. Methyl paraben
  2. Propyl paraben
  3. Butyl paraben
  4. Isopropyl paraben
  5. Isobutyl paraben
  6. Ethyl paraben

If you are looking for a paraben-free product, these chemical names should not appear on the ingredient label.

Is it safe?

Researchers are still trying to figure it out, but due to the present evidence, parabens may cause many health issues in the human body. How?

Parabens can easily be absorbed through the skin. This group of chemicals can disrupt endocrine function and change the balance of estrogen levels in the body, which is why paraben may be able to cause breast cancer and reproductive problems.

“Safety questions about the use of parabens in cosmetics center around parabens’ potential to act like estrogen, a hormone that can be associated with the development of breast cancer. Studies have shown, however, that parabens have significantly less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occurring estrogen.”


Paraben free products

Nowadays, there are health and cosmetic products without parabens. “Paraben-free” means that the product doesn’t contain paraben in the formulation. In fact, industries are able to use other preservatives instead of paraben. However, it is important to note that paraben-free products may have a shorter shelf life compared to products that contain paraben.

Paraben free Paraben substitutes

Industries can use other ingredients to increase the shelf life of the product. However, they might not be as strong as paraben, but they don’t have any health risks. For example, industries use essential oils in paraben-free cosmetics. Some of the best paraben substitutes are as follows:

  • Sodium benzoate

Sodium benzoate is a great alternative for paraben in cosmetic products. It is not toxic, and it can also increase the shelf life of the products.

  • Potassium sorbate

Potassium sorbate is considered a safe preservative in the food and cosmetic industries. It doesn’t have any detectable taste or smell, but it makes the product last for a longer period of time.

  • Methylisothiazolinone

However, a large amount of methylisothiazolinone can cause sensitivity, but it is safe to use it as a preservative in low amounts.

The bottom line

Parabens are a group of chemical compounds that play an important role in increasing the shelf life of products. Parabens are likely to change the balance of estrogen hormones in the body and cause health issues such as breast cancer. But there is still not enough evidence to approve it. But you can use paraben-free products that contain other preservatives.

Frequently asked questions

What are parabens?

Parabens are able to extend the shelf life of products. Actually, they are the reason why you can keep a face cream for about a year and not need to change it each month.

Why paraben is harmful for skin?

Parabens can easily be absorbed from the skin, and they can change the balance of hormones such as estrogen and cause health issues.

What are parabens and why are they bad?

Parabens are strong preservatives, but they can cause health problems such as breast cancer and reproduction control.

What is the benefit of paraben free products?

Paraben-free products are safe, and they don’t cause health problems.

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2 thoughts on “What is the meaning of “paraben-free”?

  1. Emily says:

    Is paraben-free same as sulfate free?

    1. china chemicals says:

      No, they are not the same. Parabens are preservatives, but sulfates are surfactants.

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