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The Current State of Preservatives

By: Ahmed Abdullah, MD
Posted: July 1, 2013, from the July 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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  1. D Sasseville, Hypersensitivity to preservatives, Dermatol Ther 17 251–263 (2004)
  2. EJ Routledge, J Parker, J Odum, et al, Some alkyl hydroxl benzoate preservatives (parabens) are estrogenic, Toxicol Appl Pharmocol 153 1 12–19 (Nov 1998)
  3. PC Darbre, A Alijarrah, WR Miller, NG Coldham, MJ Sauer and GS Pope, Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours, J Appl Toxicol 24 5–13 (2004)
  4. MG Kirchhof and GC de Gannes, The health controversies of parabens, Skin Therapy Lett 18 2 5–7 (Feb 2013)
  5. R Golden, J Gandy and G Vollmer, A review of the endocrine activity of parabens and implications for potential risks to human health, Crit Rev Toxicol 35 5 435–458 (Jun 2005)
  6. (Accessed March 26, 2013)
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  8. Final amended report on the safety assessment of Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Benzylparaben as used in cosmetic products, Int J Toxicol 27 Suppl 4 1–82 (2008)
  9. S Khanna and PD Darbre, Parabens enable suspension growth of MDF-10A immortalized, non-transformed human breast epithelial cells, J Appl Toxicol 33 5 378–382 (May 2013)
  10. P Amato, S Christoph and P Mellon, Estrogenic activity of herbs commonly used as remedies for menopausal symptoms, Menopause, 9 2 145–150 (Mar/Apr 2002)
  11. AC De Groot, IR White, MA Flyvholm, et al., Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy, Contact Dermatitis 62 2–17 (2010)
  12. V Cogliano, Y Grosse, R Baan, et al., Advice on formaldehyde and glycol ethers, Lancet Oncol 5 9 528 (Sep 2004)
  13. (Accessed on March 26, 2013)
  14. MD Lundov, T Krongaard, TL Menné and JD Johansen, Methylisothiazolinone contact allergy: a review, Br J Dermatol 165 6 1178–1182 (Dec 2011)

Ahmed Abdullah, MD, is author of the book Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin: A Back-to-Basics Approach (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2012), founder of Lexli International, Inc., and formulator of the Lexli® line of professional skin care products. A board-certified plastic/reconstructive surgeon and a leading aloe researcher, Abdullah is an associate clinical professor in plastic surgery at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and a member of the International Aloe Science Council (IASC).

Editor's note: Be sure to check out David Steinberg's Preservatives for Cosmetics, Third Edition and Linda Walker's The Skin Care Ingredient Handbook for more information on preservatives and other skin care ingredients. You can purchase both at


Interested in Cosmetic Preservatives and Regulatory?

Preservatives for Cosmetics is updated with new chapters including regulatory and controversial parabens. If you are interested in cosmetic preservatives, order the book from Alluredbooks.