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Parabens: What Are They, Why We Never Use Them & Why You Shouldn’t Either

Women applying paraben-free face cream to the check of her face with the sun radiating on face

Paraben-free. You see the label on a body lotion on a store shelf and think, Oh, that must be a good thing. But then you might ask yourself, What are parabens anyway? Because more of us understand that the skin is the body’s largest organ, people are asking questions about the bad guys of skin care, like parabens. 

If parabens are found in 80 per cent of skincare, what do you need to know about them and why do we steer clear of parabens at Om Organics?



Developed in the 1950s, parabens were adopted as a preservative for a wide range of cosmetics. Manufacturers used these synthetic preservatives to keep their products fresh and fungus free, which must have appeared to be a big win considering most cosmetics are stored in warm and damp bathrooms. 

At the time, people must have thought, What a wonderful invention. Now, we know better.



When cosmetics containing parabens first came out, significant research hadn’t yet been done to determine how parabens could impact our health. In recent years, several single-exposure studies have been conducted. 

Although these studies show that single-exposure events seem to be somewhat safe, they indicate using products containing parabens over and over again can cause health problems—big health problems. 

Heres the deal with parabens. They mimic estrogen in the body, which means theyre classified as an endocrine disruptor preservative. These disruptors can create hormone imbalances, and its believed they can lead to breast cell division, tumours and even cancer. Since parabens havent been thoroughly studied, we avoid them.

When we apply moisturizers and sunscreens to our face, we introduce the ingredients in those products into our bloodstream and our body. Parabens that don’t get absorbed into your skin dust your face like freckles—and when those parabens react with UVB rays from the sun, it can lead to increased skin aging and DNA damage.

If youve noticed sun damage on your skin that may or may not have been caused by parabens, try: Marula + Cactus Age Defying Face Oil. The carefully curated oils in this blend can increase firmness and elasticity and help defend your skin against free radical damage.   



Skincare products that dont contain parabens are called ‘paraben-free.’ However, it’s a balancing act to ensure that the naturally occurring preservatives used match the pH level of the product. 

As a creator of organic skincare products, its really important to have a broad spectrum of natural preservatives lined up in the apothecary.

Fortunately, oil-based products dont need preservatives, especially if they contain an essential oil as those additives bring anti-microbial properties. Thats just one of the many reasons why we love essential oils. 

Our water-based products require preservatives, but were very particular about which ones we use. One of our favourite preservatives is an anti-microbial peptide derived from radish root ferment, similar to Kimchi. At Om, we use a combination of anti-microbial agents such as glycerin, salicylic acid, benzyl alcohol and sorbic acid.

In an effort to skip pesky synthetic preservatives, like parabens, we also use distilled water and craft our products in small batches. This means you dont have to worry about our products spending a lot of time in a storage unit or on a shelf. When your favourite moisturizer lands in your hands, itll be just as fresh as it was the day we made it. 

Pro tip: You can better preserve your natural skincare products by storing them in a relatively cool and dark place and avoid getting water into the bottle or container.

Om products are certified clean & good for your skin

Were so proud to say that our green beauty products are certified by CertClean, North Americas standard for clean, non-toxic skincare. Whenever you see this label on a product, you can lather up knowing that the ingredients inside will not be harmful to your health and will make you feel amazing—inside and out!

Learn more about our formulations and the attention to detail that goes into every batch in our article What’s inside our pure, plant-based totally clean natural skin care? 


If youre worried about parabens popping up in your daily skincare routine, trust Om Organics. Our philosophy is deeply rooted in providing plant-based, non-toxic formulas for every skincare regime. Shop our totally clean skincare products online by skin type or by product type. 

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