Monday, September 14, 2015News

Parabens as seen by consumers

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CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques conducted a survey of its web users on controversial cosmetic ingredients in June 2015. Are parabens well-identified? What are they reproached for? Has the debate on these substances been efficiently conducted? Should they be banned?… Here is an update on what consumers think about them.

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Well-known ingredients

Due to the media coverage following the shock caused by the Envoyé Spécial show on French TV in 2005, and the recent European regulatory measures that led to ban some and limit the use of others, parabens, a large family of preservatives, are now the most well-known cosmetic ingredients, and those the most spontaneously mentioned by the public as controversial ingredients. It comes as no surprise that 98.5% of survey respondents have heard of them.

Well-identified in the list of ingredients
If they have been the main topic of conversation for several years and have been covered by numerous reports in the press, the claims on most beauty product packaging indicating their absence in the formulation (‘0% parabens’, or ‘No parabens’) did play a role in popularizing their French and INCI names – though they are actually easier to remember than methylisothiazolinone or phenoxyethanol. As a consequence, 73.8% of the people surveyed declare they can recognize them in their cosmetics lists of ingredients. And 85% of them can name them perfectly well, or almost perfectly: all names ending with the ‘paraben’ suffix.

Well-understood functions
If, by widely covering them, the media have been damaging the image of parabens, …

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