Like many high quality skincare lines, Solvaderm don’t use parabens in their products. This will come as a relief to those who know what parabens are, but for many of us this is one more item to add to our checklist of things to avoid. In recent years, the term “paraben free” has started to pop up everywhere, but not everyone is sure exactly what parabens are; why they are included, or excluded, in cosmetics and best skincare products, and what harm they can potentially cause. 

What Are Parabens?

Put simply parabens are preservatives for your cosmetics. Like the food we put into our bodies, the products we use on our skin often have natural ingredients that need to be kept fresh during storage. Parabens, which come with the catchy names methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl and isobutyl, prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in your cosmetics. Although naturally occurring, parabens used in manufacturing are synthetic and have been in use as a skincare preservative for decades. Which begs the question, if they’ve been in use for so long, why are companies like Solvaderm making paraben free products? 

Why Are Parabens Considered Harmful?

Firstly, a 1970’s US study identified parabens as an allergen, aggravating dermatitis and other skin conditions for a small percentage of the population. Secondly, a 2008 Japanese study indicated that methylparaben, often used in moisturizer, may react poorly with UVB and cause ageing damage to the skin. Finally, a 2004 study in the UK Journal of Toxicology raised questions about the presence of parabens in breast tumors. This gave rise to the public perception that parabens, in particular their use in antiperspirants, were linked to breast cancer. The American Cancer Society later determined there was insufficient evidence to make this link, although it resulted in further studies which indicated they may disrupt the endocrine system. With this in mind, companies such as Solvaderm began to investigate alternatives. 

So What Are the Alternatives?

As we move towards a healthier society, people are more concerned with what they put in their body. Natural cosmetics are seen as the equivalent of getting your ‘5 A Day’ for your face. While a small number of people are happy to concoct homemade cosmetics, we still need preservatives as, for most of us, ‘freshly squeezed’ face creams are not practical. Alternatives available include tinctures derived from plants, herbs, and fruit extracts which have natural antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. While Solvaderm are committed to using these safe alternatives to parabens, they are not in the majority.

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Why Doesn’t Everyone Use Natural Alternatives?

The bottom line is that while there is no conclusive evidence that parabens aren’t harmful, there is no conclusive evidence that they are. Natural preservatives are more costly and can slow down production. For large manufacturers, this can affect their profit margin. Solvaderm however, who are “committed to upholding the highest standards”, believe that using natural alternatives leaves no room for error in their priority to deliver “the highest quality skin care products.” This philosophy means they don’t believe in taking risks with your skin, and neither should you.