Tag Archives: safe skincare

More internet scare stories: Anti-freeze in skincare?

Internet Scare Stories: Is there anti-freeze in skincare?

Is this something you need to worry about? Propylene Glycol investigated.

safe or not safe? Skin Essentials by Mariga explores controversial skincare ingredients, wexford
I was sent a tweet asking me about propylene glycol in cosmetics.

The question specifically was whether there are any skincare products on the market which don’t contain propylene glycol.

Reading between the lines on this I imagine that the questioner has read the scare stories that abound on the internet. These usually relate to the fact that propylene glycol can be found in anti-freeze products such as airplane de-icers.

While this may sound alarming, it is like saying that there is also water in both anti freeze and cleanser thereby concluding that water in skincare products must be bad for you!

Remember, anyone can post anything on the net, when you come across something like this, always consider the source. Peer-reviewed scientific studies are the only reliable source of information on topics such as these.

If you are not familiar with propylene glycol, it is a clear, odourless liquid which is often used in cosmetic formulations, foodstuffs, fragrances and, yes, anti-freeze. (Of course the concentrations vary widely between applications).

It functions as a solvent for other ingredients, an emollient to add ‘slip’ and helps other ingredients penetrate the skin barrier. It also acts as a humectant, absorbing water from the air. It has been approved as safe to use by all the relevant government bodies here and in the US. (See links below ).

A quick check on wiki will give you links to other reliable sources, all agreeing that PG is non-irritant to skin even in higher concentrations than are commonly used in cosmetic preparations. It usually appears in concentrations of less than 5% in skincare.

So, are there any skincare products on the market which don’t contain PG? There are, if that is what is important to you just check the label; it is required by law to list all ingredients.

Sorry, I don’t know specifically which ranges, I don’t carry that much info around in my head!
My Skin Essentials by Mariga range doesn’t contain propylene glycol.

I hope this answers your question, please keep sending them in, I love to hear from skincare fans.

What other internet scares have you worried? Discuss in a comment!




Parabens in skincare – an updated summary of safe preservatives.

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: