What is Syn-Coll; least problematic preservative

May 1, 2006

Q. What is Syn-Coll? It is being touted as the new anti-agingmoisturizer ingredient.

Q. What is Syn-Coll? It is being touted as the new anti-aging moisturizer ingredient.

A. Syn-Coll is one of the new peptide additives that has gained tremendous popularity over the past year.

Q. What is the least problematic preservative?

A. Preservatives have been given an undeserved, unfortunate bad reputation. They are some of the most important chemicals ever invented. Imagine having to buy your hand cream weekly, just like milk and eggs, so that it would remain fresh and not develop an obnoxious rancid odor.

On the other hand, imagine what the world would be like if milk and eggs could sit at room temperature on the counter perfectly fresh for a year until completely used. Hand creams have this type of stability. Why? Because they have extremely effective preservatives that milk and eggs do not!

Probably the best skin care and cosmetic preservatives are the parabens. They are a family of three known as methyl, butyl and ethyl paraben. Typically, they are used together as a preservative cocktail and prized for their ability to eliminate microbial growth from creams and lotions in an affordable, safe manner. For all the bad press they have received in the contact dermatitis literature, the incidence of true allergic reactions to parabens is low. Thus, in my personal opinion, parabens are the least problematic of all preservatives for topical skin application.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a clinical associate professor of dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., and primary investigator, Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, N.C. zdraelos@northstate.net