On a certain discussion-board…


Do you actively avoid methyparaben?
Parabens Linked to Excessive Ageing of Skin,
Simon Pitman, The Organic Natural Health-Report Site (2005-08-29)


1. Interesting. I’d like to find a link to the actual study though as this page seems a bit bogus. If it is true well then that might be a good reason for moving over to paraben free products.

2. I think it’s best to avoid for anything you leave on the skin. Should be OK in a cleanser, but I try to stay as all natural as possible.

3. I avoid formaldehyde releasers more than parables personally. Irritation issues.

4. No: [link to] “Paraben-free claims continue to charm consumers; beauty industry profiting”  (

5. [the most popular answer, for whatever that’s worth]
No. I’d rather have parabens than bacterial contamination.
[+ Ginger continuation] used properly, within legal limits, until proven otherwise. I.e. by actual proper research; not by fear-mongering, hearsay, and ignorant public opinion. This is not a matter to be voted on and decided by majority feeling.

Certain parabens, however, have had their legal limits reduced and others have, in certain jurisdictions, been reduced to very little or indeed none in certain products and for specific reasons. Ex. Denmark: butylparaben and propylparaben in products intended for application to the skins of children under 3. For reasons of endocrine disruption when the skin barrier has not yet been fully formed.

But that is not a reason either to ban them for *all* products, or for adults with a fully-formed and -functional skin barrier not to use them. Again, within legal limits. Said limits having been set after research and deliberation by trained professional experts in the field. And not by vox pop.

There is, on the other hand, no reason not to keep testing parabens for their effects on humans (of all ages and conditions) and on the environment. And new evidence could lead to legislative change… in either direction. That’s quite normal and how science works. See for other examples, in the world of nutrition: red wine, eggs, chocolate, and the ups and downs of various oils over the years.

6. No, the green lobby has taken this too far.
+ blind belief in ill-informed gurus + mass hysteria + over-valuing of opinion = idiocracy


Did any of you read the link?


Some further comments:

1. This is, as far as I can see, a useful study. And worth being aware of and taking into consideration when choosing and using products.


2. One would need to read the full data (rather than this third-hand report) for example to see what the products used were, what interactions and other contributing factors might be, how these had been controlled for, what concentration and dose of methylparaben had been applied to skin, how closely that resembled standard use, and whether there were any local specifics to take into account.

3. The study was conducted in Japan; this online piece is from 2005; and the actual publication was from 2006. Here is a link:

Further questions:
what are the current legally-permitted levels of methyparaben?
In various jurisdictions (ex. Japan vs USA/FDA vs EU vs Canada)?
In 2014 (vs 2005)?
In view of answers to the questions above, is this study still relevant?

4. In order to properly evaluate the usefulness of this research, one would also need to read up on its reception:
what happened next, in the last 8 years?
How was the data received, discussed, and analysed in the scholarly community?
What follow-up experiments have there been, by that research group and by others?
On this last one, I’m not finding anything but do check for yourselves:

(I’m sorry but I don’t have the time to do more than ask open questions right now; maybe someone else does and can read, analyse, and report back on here?)

5. This is just one study. More evidence would be needed, including replicating the same results, and longitudinal studies. This is of course a well-known catch-22 of empirical science…

And also, in expanded direct answer to the original question:

I don’t actively avoid methylparaben. When deciding to buy and use a product, the presence or absence of methylparaben is very far down my list of priorities. Higher up: evidence for something doing what it claims to do, absence of ingredients known to irritate my skin, no reactions when patch-tested on my skin, and other practical considerations. Which will include “does this contain a decent preservative, if needed in this sort of formulation?”

Most products fail the higher-up tests way before I get to “are there any parabens, and if so, which ones and how much?”

I’ve used products that contained methylparaben.

As it so happens, nothing I am currently applying to my skin contains methylparaben. I just checked as I wasn’t sure and because this is not an ingredient I deliberately, intentionally avoid. Even though I have in practice passively, unintentionally avoided it. Which doesn’t count. So no, I don’t actively avoid methylparaben.

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