While shopping for anti wrinkle creams, have you noticed some packages stating the products are “paraben free”? Or maybe you heard of some controversy surrounding parabens and you are worried about having them as ingredients in your anti wrinkle cream. There are some facts you need to know.

First, what are parabens? They are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Parabens are included in your anti wrinkle cream, as well as in most cosmetics, because they help protect against microbial growth in the product. The common parabens found in skin care products are methyl-, propyl-, or butyl-parabens.

Parabens are preservatives. In 1984, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of parabens and decided they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Normal levels of parabens in skin care products are between 0.01 to 0.3%. In 2003, the study was reopened but it was decided the safety levels did not need to be changed.

Parabens hit the news when a study published in 2004 (Darbre, in Journal of Applied Toxicology) found parabens (from her deodorant, she concluded) in breast tumors. Further research showed parabens, when metabolized, could mimic estrogen and could lead to more estrogen receptors on cells. This led to growing fear that parabens caused cancer.

What the FDA believes is that there is no need to raise public concern about parabens. The Darbre study was a very small one, and it has not been repeated with similar results. While Darbre showed parabens in breast tumors, she neglected to show at what levels parabens are found in normal tissue, for comparison. Some non-related experiments showed parabens were about 100,000 times weaker than estradiol, and this was only after using a concentration of parabens that is above and beyond (25,000 times) what is found in products. Thus, the FDA concluded parabens pose no health risk.

There are a small percentage of people who have reported having an allergic skin irritation reaction to parabens. For the most part, to date parabens have proven to have a low toxicity profile. Of course, we still cannot report on what are the long-term effects to exposure to parabens because no one has paid attention to them until recently.

Based on the evidence you just read, you could feasibly agree with the FDA that parabens are safe. However, there are those who choose to take the “guilty until proven innocent” approach when it comes to parabens. Whatever your choice, just remember if you choose an anti wrinkle cream that is paraben-free, you should watch out for contamination. Without preservatives, the anti wrinkle cream may spoil quickly, so be aware of any changes to texture, smell, and color.

Author's Bio: 

Mark is an anti aging products critic. His opinions of paraben free wrinkle cream, as well as those that contain parabens have been published on numerous blogs and review sites across the internet. The readers of Mark's reviews have commented that they found them useful, honest and unbiased.