What Are Parabens?
Parabens are a very common group of organically synthesized preservatives used in cosmetics, as well as many drugs and foods. As a group of multiple compounds, they include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, and butylparaben. Like most preservatives, they are antimicrobial, meaning they prevent the growth and reproduction of bacteria, mold, and fungi. This attribute allows parabens to keep products safe for repeated consumption. All daily use, personal care products formulated with water must contain some form of preservation and parabens are a common form used in these products.
How Nu Skin Uses Parabens
Nu Skin uses parabens at extremely low levels (usually between 0.1% to 0.8%) to maintain product freshness because of their proven safety record and low irritation profile. Nu Skin formulates its products within these guidelines for the beneficial qualities and safety that parabens provide to prevent bacteria, mold, and fungi.
FDA and CTFA Proclaim Parabens Safe for Cosmetic Use
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Personal Care Product Council (PCPC), formerly the Cosmetic Toiletries and Fragrance Association, have thoroughly researched the use of parabens in cosmetics. The FDA regulates product safety, and the PCPC provides specific ingredient safety through the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board (CIR). The CIR is an independent panel of renowned physicians and scientists that reviews ingredients used in cosmetics since 1976. Both organizations continue to review research on parabens and, as recently as 2007, proclaimed them safe and effective for use in cosmetic formulas.
Nu Skin's Commitment to Safety
Nu Skin actively monitors scientific research on all our ingredients, including parabens, to ensure our distributors can offer safe and effective products. The majority of paraben research for the past 50 years supports the safety of parabens in consumer use. However, recently circulated misinformation about paraben studies has caused undue concern that parabens may have weak estrogenic effects. Putting these study results into perspective is important as we determine whether or not parabens are safe for use in cosmetics. There are many other common substances, such as soy, that have more substantial estrogenic properties, but because these substances have been used culturally for centuries without harmful effects, they do not raise concern. Additionally, the recent paraben studies were conducted with exaggerated levels of test material ingested or injected into test animals rather than applied topically. The conclusion that parabens, even at extremely low levels in a topical application, would produce a similar outcome as an exaggerated use test, is unfounded and lacks necessary evidence to support the claim. Since cosmetic products have very low levels of parabens, it is unrealistic to assume they could be absorbed through the skin in any significant amount to create adverse effects. In fact, to date, there are no scientific studies that show a causal link between topical products that contain parabens and adverse side effects.
Nu Skin is committed to protecting product integrity and providing the best results for its customers. The long history of paraben use in cosmetics, backed by the continued, careful research of the cosmetic industry, FDA, and other qualified sources, reassures our pledge of using "all of the good."
In the Future
Though the leading regulatory bodies continue to confirm the safety of parabens, Nu Skin is aware of the environment that is surrounding this issue and we also realize that distributors are faced with the difficult task of answering questions regarding paraben use in our products. Going forward, Nu Skin has several initiatives focused on addressing distributor concerns about this emotional (not scientific) issue. First, when possible, all newly formulated products will be paraben-free. Second, the Epoch and Galvanic Spa products are slowly evolving into subsets of Nu Skin products that are paraben-free. Finally, the Nu Skin legacy products are under review for possible paraben removal and, if and when available, safe substitutes are found. These initiatives, of course, are lengthy tasks. Nu Skin will continue to actively monitor ongoing research of ingredients and the regulatory environments within our markets.