Decoding labels: What does "Paraben-Free" mean?

In a world with rising consumer awareness, we ought to know about the ingredients that we put on our faces as well. ‘PARABEN-FREE’ is what many skin care products claim to be and what most of us know so far is ‘paraben-free’ products are certainly good for the skin.

Parabens are popular but controversial preservatives widely used in the beauty industry to increase the shelf-life of personal care products. They prevent the growth of bacteria and so the products last longer. It is very common to find either a list of parabens in the ingredients of products such as shampoo, lotions, cleansers, etc. or products labeled as 'paraben-free.


In a study, parabens were linked to cancer, although it is still not evident. Nor these studies apply to the small fraction (1% or less) of parabens typically used in cosmetics. However, the paper did prove that parabens are able to pass through the skin barrier and into our bodies, and hence, they've got a bad reputation.