When Parabens Won The War

If you look at the cosmetic industry's top 10 list of most commonly used preservatives in the world, you will find 5 parabens present.

Not only that, the 5 parabens are actually among the top 6 on the list.

There are over 6 parabens used in cosmetics.

The war on parabens, it would appear, is over.

And Ethyl, Methyl, and the rest of the Paraben family members can (finally) get back to doing what they do (and maybe celebrate just a little).

Sorry Fearmongers – But the Truth Will Out

This is undoubtedly devastating news for the scaremongers who, for the past several years, have been working non-stop to try and convince the world that parabens are going to kill off everyone and destroy the planet.

Sorry fearmongers.


I'm really not the least bit sorry.

The Unbeatable Track Record

During the Big Paraben Scare, many companies scrambled to replace the paraben preservatives in their products in an attempt to avoid loosing sales.

For some companies, it wasn't even their own choice. For example, every company under the Nordic Swan label was required to reformulate their products and remove ALL parabens if they wanted their products to continue sporting the Swan label.

Yes, really.

Not wanting to lose sales is understandable, but letting scare tactics dictate policy is not exactly the cleverest thing to do. As a matter of fact, it's downright idiotic and has every chance of backfiring.

Some of the non-paraben 'replacement' preservatives don't have the track record that parabens do.

Well, let's get real – no other preservatives have a track record like the parabens. They've been around for over 80 years in both foods and cosmetics and have been tested every which way you can imagine.

And they still are being tested – continuously.

And they still pass muster every time. And they are still approved for use in cosmetics and foods by the FDA, SCCP and more.

For over 80 years.

Ingredients Under Fire

As the Big Paraben Scare gained ground, the cosmetics companies who had replaced the parabens in their products vigilantly advertised their products as 'paraben-free'.

Other ingredients were under fire too.

Ads with 'SLS-free', 'SLeS-free', and 'anything-that-happens-to-sound-even-a-little-bit-scary free' saturated the media.

There were even ads for products that were 'chemical-free' (?!).

Consumers had become convinced they were on a road to certain death and destruction if they used any product that contained the targeted ingredients. Fear-based advertising had gotten completely out of hand.

And finally, things shifted.

The 'Free From' Nonsense

The EU ruled that from the beginning of 2014 it would no longer be allowed to advertise what a product didn't contain.

Thank goodness.

The 'free-from' ads were not only completely ludicrous and misleading, but their fear-based messages were scaring the living daylights out of consumers.

I do still see the odd 'paraben-free' sign here in Denmark, but the majority of companies have stopped this ridiculous practice.

Mark My Words 

It won't be long before a scaremongering finger is pointed at one or more of the (newer) 'paraben-replacement' preservatives and the media's focus will shift.

Why do I sound so sure of myself?

Because of the saccharin scare in the 1990's.

Remember that?

Have you checked the ingredients label on anything low-cal lately?

I rest my case.

More Info, Links, and Stuff That May be of Interest

SCCP's Extended Opinion on parabens, underarm cosmetics and breast cancer
Most common cosmetic preservatives - by Perry Romanowski
Overview of posts about parabens on this blog
The Nordic Swan Label - Can it Be Trusted?