What Does Paraben Free Mean?

Oftentimes, you will notice that companies who claim to be all-natural will also make a point to claim that they are paraben-free. Considering that being “all-natural” might not include being paraben-free, it is important to look for the specificity in these claims. 


For example, to Fièra Cosmetics, being all-natural means paraben-free, cruelty-free, BHA & BHT-free, and fragrance-free. 


In this article, we will discuss specifically what it means to be paraben-free, and why it is important for the wellbeing of your skincare routine.

What Is a Paraben?

A paraben is a synthetic chemical compound that acts as a preservative. You might be more familiar with the concept of preservatives in your food – this is the same idea. Parabens are used in cosmetics to aid in the longevity of a product’s shelf life. Some companies might even disguise the paraben ingredient by listing it as its scientific name. The scientific name for the derivative of a paraben is PHBA, otherwise known as para-hydroxybenzoic acid. It might also appear as names such as Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylparaben or Ethylparaben.

Are Parabens Bad for You?

Preservatives are known to be bad for your health, whether they appear in your food, your haircare, or your cosmetics. Because it is rather unnatural for this ingredient to have a place in these items, it can also have concerning side effects. Studies are still tracking the relevance of parabens as a cause of cancer, as well as the concern over parabens acting like the estrogen hormone. But the primary problem remains: we simply don’t know enough yet to assess them as safe. 

Are Parabens Harmful to the Skin?

The short answer is that parabens are bad for you because they are not naturally occurring chemicals that belong in your body. While the FDA does approve small uses of parabens in foods, cosmetic companies do not need FDA approval to sell their products, and therefore paraben levels in your cosmetic products might be well beyond proper usage. 


If you’re less concerned about the unnatural chemical part, perhaps you’ll be more concerned about its effects on your skin. Not only does your skin absorb parabens at a speedy rate, the parabens also stay in your body tissue (especially breast tissue), and your bodily fluids. One study has also found that parabens can exacerbate sun damage done on the skin.

How Typical Are Parabens In The Market?

Unfortunately, paraben usage is still common among many skincare brands, even though the risk of paraben exposure is not a new revelation. In fact, in 2016 UC Berkeley released a study in which they tracked the paraben levels in teenage girls when using cosmetics that have parabens, versus cosmetic products that do not. In their study, they proved that the girls who used all-natural cosmetic products had much lower levels of exposure to the harmful chemical. 

How To Avoid Parabens

Your skincare and makeup products should be responsible for keeping you safe and healthy. Unfortunately, in many cases, it is up to the consumer to stay vigilant. That’s why Fièra Cosmetics is committed to being all-natural: paraben-free, fragrance-free, BHT & BHA-free, and cruelty-free.

For more details about what it means to be all-natural, visit the Fièra Cosmetics blog.

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