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Summer 2022 special
Thursday, September 22, 2011News

Parabens: why so much hatred?

©L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

The 2011 Beyond Beauty Paris session, an exhibition and conferences dedicated to cosmetics, was held 12 to 14 September. Laurence Wittner, a co-founder of CosmeticOBS-L’Observatoire des Cosmétiques, has given a conference about a topic of current interest: parabens. A question is the main thrust of your argument: how did parabens go from "the best available preservatives" statute to the "ingredients that shall be totally banned" one in France…The room, full beyond its theoretical capacity ten minutes before the beginning, has left many people unable to attend the conference. Should you missed it, you may get the full text underneath.

Reading time
~ 26 minutes

First of all, keep in mind; there are not A paraben, but SEVERAL parabens, different, chemically speaking, by the length of their alkyls chains.

Among the most widely used in cosmetics, the Parabens may be classified after the length of their alkyl chain, from the shortest to the longest: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, and Isobutylparaben.

All are antibacterial preservatives . Thus, they are used to prevent bacterial and microbiological proliferation, which may be a concern for the right preservation of a cosmetic product and for the health of consumers.

Parabens are widely used since beginning ‘30s.

They are renowned for their efficiency, their easiness of use in formulae (especially as they are not detrimental to the textures). They are considered as safe: their allergenic potential is low, anyway much lower than many other preservatives ’.

As for any preservative , their use is restricted by the regulation on cosmetics.
Thus, the maximum allowed content is
• 0.4% of the finished product, if used alone
• 0.8% of the finished product, when used as a blend (the most current occurrence).

A guess is that, some years ago, they preserved 80% of the cosmetic products .

Nevertheless, despite their favorable properties, …

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