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Skin and Hair Care Products That Contain Parabens

skin hair care parabensApproximately 75 to 90 percent of standard cosmetics contain parabens, a commonly used preservative in personal care products. David Suzuki reports that parabens easily penetrate the skin and have been linked to breast cancer. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has parabens listed as a category 1 substances and says they are endocrine disruptors.

Parabens are also known as: Methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, ethylparaben, polyparaben and isopropylparaben.

Parabens Used in Facial Moisturizing Cream

While the Mayo Clinic recommends using a facial moisturizer to keep the skin soft and smooth, some people with sensitive skin may not be able to use standard facial moisturizers. Dr. Alan Rockoff suggests people with sensitive skin use Vaseline instead, which is petroleum-based.

Parabens are used in facial moisturizers to preserve the quality of the product and help it obtain a longer shelf life. Often, more than one type of paraben will be present in facial moisturizing lotions.

Anti-aging Creams Contain Parabens

Used by many women to minimize and prevent wrinkles, anti-aging creams are usually applied twice a day to the facial skin. No product can claim a guarantee of results and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t check them for effectiveness.

Parabens, among other ingredients are used in anti-aging creams. Anti-aging creams may cause side effects such as skin irritation, redness or rashes. The Mayo Clinic recommends people to avoid the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and to use lotions with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

Liquid and Powder Foundations Contain Parabens

Foundation is a cosmetic product used by many women. Women use foundation to cover up blemishes and make the face appearance smooth and even in tone. It can come as a liquid, a loose powder or powder in a compact form. Parabens are often used in foundation to help them have a longer shelf life. Newer foundations such as mineral wear makeup can sometimes be found containing no parabens. Not all mineral wear makeup is paraben free though.

Hair Conditioners Contain Parabens

Used to protect the hair from harsh weather, styling damage and UV rays, hair conditioners also contain parabens. Parabens help preserve the product and allow it to remain on store shelves longer.

Some hair conditioners are left on the hair for a couple of minutes after shampooing and then rinsed out while others are left in the hair all day.

Fragranced Products Can Also Contain Parabens in Ingredients

Another “industry secret” is that of fragrances containing parabens. Labeling regulations do not require manufacturers to list their fragrance ingredients as fragrance recipes are considered to be trade secrets. Often, parabens are in the list of fragrance ingredients but not many consumers are aware of this fact. Manufacturers must put “fragrance” on the label and consumers can only guess whether or not it contains parabens.


MedHelp. "Dermatology" (accessed September 23, 2010)

David Suzuki Foundation. "Parabens" (accessed September 23, 2010)

Mayo Clinic: Wrinkle creams. "Your guide to younger looking skin"(accessed September 23, 2010)
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