• Dry Cracked Skin
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Preservatives and Safety in Skincare


Parabens may not have a great reputation in consumer circles, but according to Dr. Zoe Draelos, they’re still the safest preservative for skincare products.

Marketing efforts have convinced many consumers that paraben-free skincare is safer for the skin. While parabens may have a social stigma, according to Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, parabens are the safest tested preservative available for use in cosmetic products.

That’s because parabens have an extremely low incidence of allergic reaction and contact dermatitis irritation and are highly effective at killing bacterial contaminants in low concentrations.

When companies claim their skincare products are paraben-free, says Dr. Draelos, often they are replacing it with methochloroisothalizolinone (Kathon-CG).

Unlike parabens, Kathon-CG has a much higher incidence of allergic contact dermatitis, so much so that it is only to be used in rinse-off products in the EU.

According to Dr. Draelos, this means paraben-free products may actually be less safe.

More details on preservatives in skincare can be found at “How safe are cosmetics?” in our sister publication, Dermatology Times.

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