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Let’s talk about parabens

With the rise of the Internet comes a wave of savvier, more informed shoppers, but the more information we have at our fingertips, the more misinformation we are also subject to. Chances are, you’ve heard about parabens, but what does that word really mean?

In essence, parabens have been used in skincare products since the 1950s to prevent bacteria growth. Inexpensive and effective, their popularity has meant that parabens are used in the vast majority of skincare products, and until the 1990s they were deemed entirely safe.

The question mark

However, at that point it was considered that parabens can mimic oestrogen in the body, possibly causing disruption to the natural hormone cycle. This was exacerbated in 2004 when British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., found parabens present in malignant breast tumors.

The result has been a recommendation to limit paraben levels in cosmetic products, although the direct link between parabens and cancer is inconclusive. There’s an added complication of course in that while some preservatives have been used for a long time and are generally proven to be safe, newer ones have less of a proven track record.

All in all, advice is to be mindful but not overly anxious about parabens, but of course the prospective danger is really quite frightening for most of us. So how can we go about being careful? says: “if you want to play it extremely safe, use a few oil-based organic products that don’t contain water (which calls for a preservative). They often come in dark containers with a pump so that light and air don’t degrade them quickly.”

That said, many products are now taking the advice very seriously and, as a result, have launched collections of paraben free skincare to put our minds at rest.

Paraben free spa products:

Natural Spa Factory

Natural Spa Factory was started in 2009 by husband and wife team Emma Webber and Jeremy Smith. Based in the World Heritage city of Bath, they use botanically sourced ingredients derived from nature like herbs, plants and flowers. All products are free from Parabens, SLS, MCI and Methylisothiazolinone, are not tested on animals and are made either in the UK, or in the home of scent, France. All products are inspired by the seasons and good food, the result is a collection of natural and beautiful products that inject goodness and wholesome nourishment into body and skin

Made for Life Organics

Originally developed from an orthodox medical background, Made for Life Organics products have been developed by combining dermatological science with the strength and purity of botanicals. Since their conception, the formulations have evolved with dermatological research and that of the incredible power of nature. Formulations are created using the synergy of organic herbs and flowers to be effective and uplifting. In 1999 Made for Life Organics (then known as Spiezia Organics) was the first UK company to achieve 100% organic certification across the entire collection from the Soil Association, and it has strived to help them create and enforce Accreditation for beauty products in the UK ever since.


An ancient Sanskrit word for Mother Earth, ila is a beyond organic skin and heart care brand which aims to do something very simple, but also completely revolutionary. Founder Denise Leicester’s vision was to create a range of highly potent and sacred products, which channelled the raw remedial power of Nature, using her most ancient and purest sources of energy - plants, flowers, and herbs - and proving that results-driven products and spa treatments can go hand-in-hand with the highest standards of natural and ethical integrity. ila products and treatments are designed to promote palpable biological and emotional change in those that experience them - both through touch and smell. So every cream, oil, scrub, mask, candle and fragrance designed by ila hopes to nourish and balance the deep and sacred essence of the individual, providing a path to peace and inner joy.

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