Concerned about parabens? You are worrying about the wrong preservative.
We all see so many’paraben-free’ products on the market that it would seem logical to assume that there is something dangerous, toxic or just plain wrong with parabens. Have you ever chosen ‘paraben-free’? Do you know why? Was it just vague feeling that you read something icky about parabens? Perhaps you remember the scare in the mid 2000’s that erroneously linked parabens to breast cancer tumour tissue? That story stuck in so many people’s heads and it was really unlucky for the skincare industry and skincare consumers that it did. No matter that the author of the study publicly disassociated themselves from the media hysteria or that they emphasised over and over that there was no conclusive link between parabens and cancer in the study. No matter that parabens had been safely used in food and cosmetics for decades. No matter that parabens were so widely used that there was no viable alternative available on the market to keep products mould-free. Some reporter on a slow news day quoted the study out of context and a scare was born. No need to let the truth get in the way of a good story! The upshot was that consumers started demanding ‘paraben-free’ and the industry scrambled to provide it. With the poor misunderstood paraben having been the mainstay of preservatives for so long, there was no tried and tested replacement readily available, so a few alternatives were quickly incorporated into skincare formulas, one of the main ones being:
DEF: Also called MI or MCI it is a preservative used for it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Here’s the problem with rushing to change an ingredient and putting sales over safety – MI was already known to be a skin sensitiser in some people, so it wasn’t used as it just wasn’t a viable, safe, skin-friendly alternative to the paraben. But now it got called into play to satisfy a stroppy media and confused customers. How much better would it have been for skincare companies to simply educate consumers and maintain the integrity of their products/reputation, instead of pandering to a shouting section of society?
What happened next? Well, fast forward a decade or so and we now have real problems with international dermatological groups reporting MI causing sensitivities and allergies in as many of 10% of people. In July this year MI was banned in Europe from all leave-on cosmetic preparations. It has even been called an ‘epidemic of contact allergic dermatitis’. Read more details, along with what to do if you suspect you are suffering from an MI-induced allergy here:
Is MI present in Skin Essentials by Mariga products?
No, we stick to tried and trusted preservatives with decades of proven safety in any of our products that need them, including the humble paraben! (see link below).
Lesson: always get your information from a trusted, educated source. Do not take skincare advice from non-professionals!
Link to a recent safety study on parabens: