Paraben “alternatives” sprout every day, as parabens become more and more “yesterday” in cosmetic business. I have received a question from a reader who told me about such paraben “alternative” – a chemical compound called “fenilight”, which was touted as safer than parabens. A quick research proved that this so-called “paraben alternative” contained not just one but two parabens, namely, propylparaben and ethylparaben, along with phenethyl alcohol (also known as phenylethanol, a popular synthetic aroma of rose) and glycerine, for sheer measure.
Many skincare products now bear labels that they are “paraben-free” but not many labels specify what preservatives the parabens are replaced with. Replace one synthetic preservative with another? You will never know unless you have a degree in chemistry because new preservatives are easier to mask under neutral names. So here’s a little ”touch base” on parabens.
Parabens are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Their most common salts are propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens. Parabens in cosmetics are used to preserve products from microbes, germs, fungi, and signs of oxidation. Basically, all preservatives work as antibiotics, and the more the product is loaded with preservatives, the longer it will smell and look fresh. Nearly all synthetic preservatives, including parabens, have a long and well-documented history of side effects. Parabens in particular are linked to breast and uterine cancers, not to mention allergies, allergic dermatitis, eczema and acne.
As public becomes more aware of dangerous side of parabens, smart manufacturers begin to replace these preservatives with other preservatives which are not necessarily safer. For example, many popular “paraben alternatives” (such as methylisothiazolinone) are known as formaldehyde releasers; some others work as “free radical magnets” increasing cellular damage to the skin; others are plain irritating to the skin.
Fenilight by Sinerga is just another example of paraben mimicry. Other so-called alternatives to parabens which are in fact a mixture of parabens and less toxic chemicals:
Sounds like a list of pesticides from your local garden store, doesn’t it?
Going “paraben-free” is a commendable practice but manufacturers should always say what is used as a substitute. Consumers are so knowledgeable today, you must be honest with them.