With companies increasingly moving towards paraben-free cosmetics and skincare and even beginning to market their products with Paraben-Free labelling, what is a paraben?

Parabens are group of chemical compounds from para-hydroxybenzoic acid typically used by skincare and pharmaceutical companies as a preservative methylparaben (E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216), propylparaben (E216), butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben.

Some parabens are found naturally in plants and animals, however for commercial use the ingredients you will find in your skincare are most likely synthetic ingredients.  While they are considered safe for use by the industry concerns have been raised about their links with several health issues and diseases, including breast cancer and reactions from sun exposure causing skin damage and accelerated ageing.  Methylparaben in sun care products is getting much bad press at the moment.

You’ll find these ingredients in many products you may already be using – many people are now eliminating products with these ingredients from their skincare routines and are turning to companies that have a policy to not include parabens in their ranges, such as Green People and Arbonne.

Looking for labelling such as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘pure’ can be misleading – the key and active ingredients may indeed be natural, organic or pure, but that does not necessarily mean that the products are free from parabens – Simple for example.  And just because one product has a paraben in the ingredients list won’t mean the whole range has, such as Elemis.

If you have any concerns at all check the full ingredient list of the product you are choosing.

Keep in mind too that parabens are just a small group of chemical and synthetic ingredients used – we’ll be bringing more information on ingredients in the coming months to help you choose the products that are right for you.


Companies with paraben-free ingredient policies include:



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