parabens in cosmetics
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The Ingredient Overview
Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturisers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution, makeup, and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.
Parabens are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, from which the name is derived. Common parabens include methylparaben (E number E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216) and butylparaben. Less common parabens include isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, benzylparaben and their sodium salts. The general chemical structure of a paraben is shown at top right, where R symbolizes an alkyl group such as methyl, ethyl, propyl or butyl.
All commercially used parabens are synthetically produced. They are produced by the esterification of para-hydroxybenzoic acid with the appropriate alcohol. para-Hydroxybenzoic acid is in turn produced industrially from a modification of the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction, using potassium phenoxide and carbon dioxide.
In individuals with normal skin, parabens are, for the most part, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. Parabens can, however, cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis and rosacea in individuals with paraben allergies.
Products at Find Your Funk
As a consumer health principle, we have volunteered to stay on the paraben-free side of this ingredient controversy, FYF conducts strict research into all products retailed here online. This includes working hard with our authorised partners to ensure that products retailed at FYF do not contain a certain range of synthetic ingredients, including prohibiting compounds such as:-