Parabens and skin care products

Dr. Irwin, I'm 62 and I've been using SkinCeuticals Emoillence moisturizer as recommended by your office; however I see that it includes parabens. I've read that parabens are unhealthy. Do you recommend avoiding products that contain them?

Parabens are used as a preservative in skin care products.  Almost all skin care products contain preservatives because otherwise they would grow bacteria, yeasts and moulds – something none of us want.  I think the question is which preservatives are the safest.

 I don’t know of any "organic" preservatives that really work.  And, many of the other preservatives used are "formaldehyde releasing" preservatives which seem worse to me and have a higher chance of causing allergic reactions.  On the top 10 list of chemicals that cause skin problems, there were 5 other preservatives, but not a single paraben.

 Sometimes I think this is a lesser of several evils issue.  So my sense is that the parabens in the very small amounts in most skin care products are safer than most of the others.  Not a very satisfactory answer , I know!!  If anyone out there knows of an organic, fabulous preservative that really works, please write me.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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