Parabens are featured in more health and beauty products than we could ever name – think body lotions, mascara, conditioners and deodorants – you name it, they are in it! It’s also found in beer, soft drinks, jam, and all sorts of other food too. So, it’s not surprising that this ingredient has left many beauty-lovers scratching their heads. Throw in the term ‘paraben-free’ and it can be even more confusing. Well, fear not – there’s a very simple explanation…
What are parabens?
Parabens are a common antimicrobial preservative used to prolong the life of a product and to stop bacteria growing in our fave beauty buys. They were first introduced around the 1950s and quickly gained notoriety; however, nowadays more and more preservatives are becoming available giving customers a wider choice on the ingredients they put on their skin.
How can you tell if something contains parabens?
Simply look towards the end of the list of ingredients and you’ll see it. Bear in mind, it’s probably hiding behind a scientific name, like ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben or propylparaben. It’s also good to know that by EU law, only a teeny-tiny amount can be used – 0.4% of a product’s total volume, to be precise. Hardly anything, but it does the trick.
OK, so why use paraben-free products?
Parabens have gained a bad rep for potentially causing irritation and for penetrating the skin, however, it is important to know that research on the topic is continuous. If you prefer to go down the au naturel route, then you can find products that are paraben-free. Natural preservatives, like benzyl alcohol, are a great alternative to parabens and boast similar benefits. These preservatives are usually found in plants, tea leaves and essential oils like jasmine.
Superdrug stock a range of paraben-free products, just like these here, so whether you want products with or without them, you can make an informed choice when stocking up in our beauty aisles! Just take a peek at the product descriptions on our website to see if the item you’re eyeing up is labelled ‘paraben-free’. Alternatively, get to know the ingredients to be on the lookout for.