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Preservatives are an integral part of the vast majority of skin care products and cosmetics. Preservatives are routinely added to formulas to prevent the growth of microorganisms introduced into products through their use (or anticipated misuse).
Without preservatives, most skin care products would quickly succumb to mould, fungi and countless bacteria, transferred mainly by contaminated fingertips.
Unfortunately, preservatives are a common allergen for rosacea patients, whose compromised skin barrier leads to increased skin reactivity, producing common rosacea symptoms such as burning, stinging and redness.
More concerning, recent studies have also implicated commonly used preservatives as endocrine disruptors, contributing to photo-damage and increased incidences of cancer.
Examples of Commonly Used Preservatives
In 2002, a highly publicized study  identified high concentrations of parabens in breast cancer tissue and identified estrogenic effects of methyl paraben.
Thereafter it became increasingly common to see products marketed as being "paraben free" however it is important to note that alternatives to parabens have not been shown to be safer, nor do they have the long history of use of parabens.
Certainly some patients are more allergic to paraben alternatives.
Ideally, patients use skin care products free of preservative chemicals.
Burning, stinging, itching and redness from skin care products and cosmetics is often alleviated by replacing conventional skin care with high skin tolerance alternatives which are free of all preservatives.
We avoid the use of preservatives in our products by virtue of one or more of the following:
David Suzuki Foundation — Parabens In Cosmetics: "Methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage [Ref: Paraben Preservatives and Sun Damage]... Parabens occur naturally at low levels in certain foods."
Some general skin care paraben-free brands: "While you are out shopping for a safer, less toxic skin care product to replace the paraben-filled ones you have, keep in mind that natural and organic does not necessarily mean paraben-free or non-toxic."
Vogue Australia Magazine Discussion Forum: Paraben Free Skin Care.
The Guardian UK: Paraben-Free Products.
Author: Peter Wilson.
Reviewed: Sunday, November 24, 2013.
Further Information: Preservative-Free Products :