Parabens The information on parabens is similar to what we know about phthalates -- which isn't much, unfortunately. "Parabens are preservatives that are used universally and have been used in foods for over 40 years," says Graf. "They are used in minimal amounts in skin care and cosmetics with minimal risk. At this time, the benefits of including parabens in skin care far outweigh the risks of not using parabens. Namely, bacterial, mold, and fungal contamination, which can be harmful to the skin."
Companies are working on paraben-free preservative systems, but it may be a while before they discover something that works just as well. In the meantime, if you're going to use natural products, be sure to check the expiration date, and toss it six months after opening it.
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