What Are Parabens?

Article Read Duration 7 min read

Parabens are preservatives used in some cosmetics to preserve product quality and ensure consumer safety by preventing the growth of microbes. Most hygiene and beauty products contain water, which makes them prone to the growth of harmful pathogens (fungal and bacterial) which could lead to mould, the breakdown of the product and more. Parabens have been used in medicine and cosmetics for close to a century. They help prevent microbial contamination and ensure the product is safe for consumers.

What are parabens in skincare?

Parabens in skincare have a mixed reputation due to a few non-clinical studies suggesting that a certain type of parabens (long chain parabens) might cause endocrine disruption and breast cancer. However, the most widely used group of preservatives in cosmetics are short-chain parabens. They are safe, gentle, and efficient preservatives.
But despite this, many people wish to build a skincare routine free from parabens. This article will cover everything you need to know about parabens, as well as recommendations for a minimalistic paraben-free skincare routine from our Toleriane range. 


Types of parabens

In order to understand what’s contained in the products you’re using, it’s important to recognise the different forms of this preservative. There are four main types of parabens in skincare that are most commonly used. Methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben are the most used in cosmetics. 


How to identify whether a product contains parabens

It’s important to check the ingredients list, as every product is required to label any mention of one of these types of parabens.

What is the meaning of paraben-free skincare?

What is paraben-free and what does it mean for your skincare routine? Countless products are now formulated without parabens for those who wish to avoid them. Advances in science mean that new formulation and preservative options are more common, which means that formulators are no longer as reliant on parabens for product preservation.


What are the natural preservatives for skincare?

There are many alternative skincare preservatives aside from parabens, including both synthetic and natural preservatives. Highly regarded natural preservatives for skin prone to sensitivity include Ethylhexylgylcerin (derived from glycerin found in plants), Caprylyl glycol (found in coconut and other plant oils) and Pentylene Glycol (from sugar beets and other plants). 

Paraben-free skincare recommendations:

If you have sensitive skin, we recommend opting for a minimalistic paraben-free skincare routine to minimise the risk of skin prone to irritation. Read on for some specially selected recommendations from our Toleriane range, designed with a minimum of ingredients for sensitive skin.


Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser

Our Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser acts as a dual makeup remover and facial cleanser, with a nourishing formula enriched with La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water to help comfort sensitive skin.


Toleriane Ultra Light Sensitive Moisturiser

Our Toleriane Ultra Light Sensitive Moisturiser provides long lasting comfort to easily irritated skin. This hydrating moisturiser is formulated with Neurosensine to help visibly reduce redness and is also allergy tested.


Toleriane Ultra Eye Contour Sensitive Cream

The eye area can be especially sensitive, which is why our Toleriane Ultra Eye Contour Sensitive Cream is formulated with skin prone to irritation in mind. This eye cream has ultra-light, non-comedogenic texture combined with intense moisturising properties. This formula is also enriched with niacinamide to help comfort sensitive skin.


Now that you have a better understanding of what parabens actually are and how to look out for them, you may wish to learn more about why skin becomes sensitive. Read our guide to Sensitive Skin Causes: Internal and External.