Is it worthwhile to advise patients to purchase paraben-free products?

Mar 09, 2017, 5:00am

Many skin care products are now advertising the “paraben-free” claim, however the parabens must be replaced with another preservative.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D.Many skin care products are now advertising the “paraben-free” claim, however the parabens must be replaced with another preservative. It is not possible to formulate water-containing products without some type of preservative. Most manufacturers are replacing parabens with another family of preservatives known as Kathons. Kathons are also known as methylchloroisothalizolinone and methylisothalizolinone. These preservatives have demonstrated an increased incidence of allergic contact dermatitis, especially in leave-on products, such as moisturizers. The incidence of allergic contact dermatitis was so high in Europe, where the preservative was first introduced, that Kathons are no longer allowed in leave-on products, but can still be used in rinse-off products, such as hair shampoos and conditioners. It is debatable whether Kathons are safer than parabens