On naturally-occurring parabens

At a recent industry conference, I gave a talk about one of my favorite topics, namely “controversial” ingredients. At that particular talk, I remembered why I love to speak at conferences, which is that I always learn something. During that presentation, I learned that there are such things as naturally-occurring parabens.  Indeed, these very controversial ingredients exist in nature, and specifically are found in blueberries, which is one of Alchimie Forever’s signature ingredients. Here is what I have since then learned on the topic:

–          Parabens do occur in nature

–          Naturally-occurring parabens have similar preservation properties as synthetic parabens; indeed, they are present in these plants to help them defend themselves against various micro-organisms

–          Not all plants have been tested for naturally-occurring parabens, so it is impossible to know if all plants contain these molecules or not

–          Most plants that have been tested for the presence of naturally-occurring parabens contain specifically methylpraraben and sometimes etyhlparaben (remember parabens are a family of various molecules)

–          Honeysuckle is one of the plants that is richest in naturally-occurring methylparaben

–          Other plants known to contain naturally-occurring parabens include: blueberries, carrots, olives, strawberries

–          In cosmetics, the labeling requirements for plants is to list the plant itself, the part of the plant that is used (leaf, flower, etc.), as well as the solvents and preservatives added to the plant extract; as such, naturally occurring parabens in plants would not be listed as parabens on the ingredient listing

–          The % of naturally occurring parabens in plants tends to be extremely low. For example, while in a cosmetic preparations parabens might make up to 0.3% of the formula, naturally-occurring methylparaben in blueberries is less than 0.003%

A final note about parabens: We at Alchimie Forever have decided to reformulate our products to remove parabens. Not for scientific reasons (we continue to believe that scientific data proves these are the safest and most efficacious preservatives), but for commercial reasons (in this case, perception has become reality, and the consumer has won). We will, of course, continue to use blueberries, and other powerful plant extracts. While they may extremely low concentrations of methylparaben to help defend themselves against various micro-organisms, they also contain quercetin, anthocyans, phenolic acids, and many more antioxidant molecules, which make them a powerful tool for both the repair and the prevention of free radical damage.

3 thoughts on “On naturally-occurring parabens

  1. Hi,

    I appreciate the above information in the article titled, “On naturally occurring parabens.” I was wondering if you could provide the citation for the reference to blueberries containing less than 0.003%.

  2. Found the article interesting and currently doing a college paper on this. I have searched throughout google for any reference pertaining to the .003% of parabens in blueberries and cannot find anything on it. I am too interested for the reference of it especially since it wasn’t posted on here, but was just suggested to be emailed to the person. Can you please let me know? Thank you!

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