You may have seen skincare products, shampoos and conditioners labelled “Paraben Free” recently and wondered what parabens are.
What are Parabens?
Parabens are man-made, cost effective preservative chemicals used by manufacturers in a variety of domestic products, such as cosmetics, lotions and moisturisers, shampoo, shaving, and tanning products to provide protection against micro-organisms for an extended period of time.
First used in the 1920’s, parabens are thought to disrupt membrane transport processes of some key enzymes in bacterial species, with some parabens being stronger than others. However, parabens also enter your body through your skin when you use these products.
Here are some of the common parabens used that you should look out for: Methylparaben (E218), Ethylparaben (E214), Propylparaben (E216), Butylparaben and Heptylparaben (E209).
Are Parabens Safe?
Over the past few years, a debate has been building among scientists, product safety regulators and cosmetic manufacturers about whether these chemicals may be harmful for your health.
Most studies on paraben toxicity data are from single exposure studies on one paraben type in one product (e.g. parabens in deodorants). This is believed to be a negligible risk to the endocrine system.
However, as we are exposed to many types of parabens in many types of products every day, further studies are required to provide conclusive risk.
For people with sensitive skin, parabens have been known to cause contact dermatitis, rosacea and other skin irritations.
In recent years, awareness has increased as to the role of parabens in producing potentially serious health side effects.
In 2010, Denmark announced that it will ban propylparaben and butylparaben from lotions and cosmetic products for children under 3. In 2014, the European Commission banned further parabens for use by babies and young children
The concern about endocrine disruption has led to an increase in the use of paraben alternatives.
What Paraben Alternatives Exist?
There are natural and other synthetic alternatives to Parabens, such as using oils and extracts from plants, or more benign chemicals and consumers are more frequently seeking out paraben-free alternatives.
Paraben based preservatives have been replaced with natural substances that are gentle on our systems, environmentally friendly and have effective preservative qualities like plant extracts and oils. Paraben free preservatives include Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Neolone, OptiphenPlus, Hydantoin, Glycacil, Natrulon and Benzethonium Chloride. Not as strong as the man made parabens above, they are often used together with the below natural paraben alternatives:
Phenoxyethanol - The most widely used paraben alternative, phenoxyethanol is an effective and very stable antimicrobial. This is not able to fully prevent growth of fungus and mould on its own, so it is often combined with an anti-fungal preservative such as potassium sorbate or diazolidinyl urea.
Potassium Sorbate - Approved by Australian Certified Organic (AOC) for use in organic skincare products, potassium sorbate inhibits moulds and fungus, but only kills a few bacteria, so it is often combined with phenoxyethanol. It is non-toxic and non-sensitizing.
Natural Preservatives - There are natural alternatives that offer limited antibacterial protection. Grapefruit seed extract, essential oils of thyme, oregano and tea tree, as well as rosemary and neem extracts are protective against some strains of bacteria and rancidity. Unfortunately, on their own they don’t protect from all forms of bacteria and fungi.
At Kadee Botanicals, armed with this knowledge, the answer was clear. Where debate exists as to the safety of man made parabens as preservatives and there are safer alternatives, rather than wait for the conclusive studies, we choose to use paraben free and safer ingredients.
Our aim is to create a luxurious beauty routine that takes care of your skin, without the risk of future harm.
Absolutely not! Kadee Botanicals skincare range is made using natural ingredients your skin will love. They are full of antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins from plant-based super ingredients that have been used for thousands of years. Our products do not contain parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, artificial colours or fragrances.
If you have any questions about skincare ingredients, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org