Parabens

SCA does not endorse products with the Allergy Certified logo, that contain more than <1% Propyl & Butyl Parabens for leave-on products or <3% wash-off products. Products containing Parabens should have a Safety Warning "do not apply to broken skin" and "discontinue use if irritation ocurrs" - Propyl & Butyl Parabens should not be used on children 3 years and under.

CLASSIFICATION

PROPYL CAS No: 94-13-3 & BUTYL CAS No: 94-26-8

HOW IS IT USED?

Parabens are a synthetic preservative system for an array of cosmetics and personal care products: known to cause skin irritation and sensitivities when applied to broken skin.

Propylparabin “There is no evidence of accumulation. Acute toxicity studies in animals indicate that propyl paraben is relatively non-toxic by both oral and parenteral routes, although it is mildly irritating to the skin. ... Propyl paraben is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or clastogenic.” NCBI continues “Propyl paraben is readily absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract and dermis. It is hydrolyzed to p-hydroxybenzoic acid, conjugated and the conjugates are rapidly excreted in the urine. There is no evidence of accumulation. Acute toxicity studies in animals indicate that propyl paraben is relatively non-toxic by both oral and parenteral routes, although it is mildly irritating to the skin.” - www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Butylparaben , human toxicity expert “was a skin irritant in man. Experimental studies in volunteers failed to uncover any sensitizing potential, but sensitization to butylparaben has been demonstrated in dermatitis. HUMAN EXPOSURE STUDIES/ Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben were each applied to the backs of 50 humans at concentrations of 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15% in propylene glycol. Test compounds were applied daily for 5 days, and patches were then removed and the sites scored. The concentrations of individual parabens that produced no irritation were methylparaben, 5%; ethylparaben, 7%; propylparaben, 12%; and butylparaben, 5%. Higher concentrations produced some evidence of irritation. patients.” - www.toxnet.nlm.nih.gov

RESEARCH - WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY

  • Parabens and breast cancer; "A new study has found that chemicals called parabens can spur the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells" - WebMD.

  • "Parabens are chemicals that have been shown to have estrogen-like properties, and estrogen is one of the hormones involved in the development of breast cancer." - Dr Mercola.

WHAT ARE PARABENS?

  • Parabens get a bad name because they are synthetic, In an article for Allergic Living, Dr Sandy Skotnicki, Dermatologist, advises that they are safe to use on normal healthy skin. "The one area where parabens can cause problems is with inflamed skin. This is known as the “Paraben Paradox”. In essence, parabens almost never cause a problem on normal skin, but can cause allergic dermatitis when used on active skin disease, such as wounds or eczema. This is why parabens are never used to preserve topical hydrocortisone creams or antibiotic ointments."

  • Parabens prevent bacteria from growing in products like moisturisers that repeatedly come into contact with germs from your hands as you apply it to your face. "The American Chemical Society estimates that parabens are in about 85% of personal care products -- everything from shampoo to shaving cream. Researchers believe most of us get our greatest exposure from these products as they’re absorbed through the skin." - Brenda Goodman, MA

In an article for Healthland.time.com it is noted that "[T]he SCCS considers the use of Butylparaben and Propylparaben as preservatives in finished cosmetic products as safe to the consumer, as long as the sum of their individual concentrations does not exceed 0.19%"

RESOURCES & RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:

Amina Kitching