Thursday, July 25, 2013

Makeup Tip #16 - Paraben Free is Really Better?



Photo courtesy of Monkey Doodle Photography

I originally wrote this blog on July 23, 2012, but I really want people to know about parabens and the truth about their replacement ingredients, so I am reposting again.

I am all for the quest for healthier and more natural ingredients - especially in products we slather on our faces.  However, I was recently made aware of a preservative issue and I really want to spread the word.
Apparently, somebody, somewhere, became so outraged about the use of parabens as a preservative, that companies had to look elsewhere for an alternative.  However, the alternative ingredient is actually worse than the parabens we started with, but I don't see or hear much press on this.
Preservatives are needed to stop the growth of bacteria, so they are in moisturizers, foundations, cream cosmetics, shampoos, and even in vaccines.
I never knew, or cared about these preservatives, until a dear friend told me she could not wear foundation anymore because she could not find one without the ingredient phenoxyethenol.  She had discovered she was highly allergic to this ingredient when she did allergy testing, but after reading product labels, she realized, her options were greatly limited.
I happened to mention my friend's allergy to my husband.  His job is to separate water out of crude oil.  I never would have guessed that my husband would have an opinion on the matter, but he had a very quick response for me.  He said "phenols" are highly toxic and he happened to have a jar of crude oil he was attempting to "break down".  He showed me how dark, dense and thick his sample was.  He said nothing can live inside "phenols” (which is why it makes a great preservative), but it is very dangerous.
My husband said "parabens" are much safer and he didn't think it was wise for cosmetic companies to discontinue their use.  However, he's not at the FDA, nor does he work for any cosmetic companies, so his opinion has never been heard before now.
My friend said she had been to Whole Foods, but products there had phenoxyethenol in it.  I tried to call a person I had done some networking with, as she represented an "all natural product line", but her products had the preservative, phenoxyethenol, in them as well.  Thankfully, I have found one foundation for my friend to wear, but it is a matter of time before the product will be discontinued or it will be reformulated.
I do pick up "all natural" products & read the labels from time to time.  Sure enough, if the product is a liquid or cream cosmetic, phenoxyethenol is most likely in the list of ingredients.
Since "phenolsare found in oil, a natural product of the earth (just like "parabens"), "all natural product lines" really aren't making an unfounded claim.  However, the "phenols", like every other ingredient (including water), have to be processed (based on FDA guidelines) before they are considered "cosmetic grade” and useful in the manufacturing of products.
I don't understand why cosmetic companies & the FDA exchanged one supposedly "bad" preservative for an even "worse" alternative without more thought.  “Phenols” are known to cause irritancy and allergies and the toxicity is not a secret in the oil field.
I am especially surprised the group(s) that started the "parabens are bad" chant didn’t catch this “slight of hand” move by manufacturers.
Please read your labels and let me know what products you find that DO NOT contain phenoxyethenol, as I would like a list for my friend!  
If you know people on the "parabens are bad" bandwagon, you might want to educate them on the "phenols are worse" issue.

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