Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Methyl paraben or methylparaben is just one of the chemicals called parabens which is a methyl ester of p-hydrobenzoic acid. There are many uses for methyl paraben; in cosmetics, as an antifungal agent and also as preservatives in many personal care products.
Methyl paraben is naturally found in fruits and since it is all natural, there is no evidence that it is harmful in any way at all to humans. It is biodegradable and easily metabolized by the gastrointestinal tract as well.
History and Origin
Methyl paraben has a nomenclature Methyl 4- hydroxybenzoate and has many names in the manufacturing industry. It is commonly found in fruits specifically in blueberries. Despite many researchers recognizing its safety in the use for cosmetics and personal care products, there are also some experts that disagree to its use.
The specific known use of methyl paraben is nonexistent during ancient times but from where methyl paraben is derived, fruits specifically blueberries, they are used as food in many cultures. Berries are picked and eaten raw and some are also used for the treatment of minor gastro intestinal illnesses like stomach pain, diarrhea and gastric irritation. Blueberries were also used treatment for other respiratory illnesses and to strengthen the immune system.
In modern times, the discovery of methyl paraben ushered the dawn for more stable and increased shelf life of many skin care products and cosmetics. In the cosmetics industry, methyl paraben is used as a preservative along with other chemicals such as butylparaben. Moisturizers, eye makeup, blush and moisturizing creams are the most common cosmetics with methyl parabens. Toothpaste and shaving products also use methyl paraben as a preservative.
There are also medications that use methyl paraben as a preservative and to prevent contamination by bacteria and other microorganisms. It is an ingredient in topical antibiotics, steroids, eye medications, herbal supplements and remedies. Parenteral and oral medication also has methyl paraben as a preservative as well.
In the food industry, methyl paraben is great in preventing the growth of molds, yeast and bacteria. It is also found in pastries, jellies and jams as a preservative. It is also an ingredient in vegetable oils, in food flavorings and seasonings and also to stop bacterial growth in dairy products and also in commercially prepared beverages.
There is no evidence regarding the harmful effects of methyl paraben in cosmetics and in personal care products. It is also considered safe to use as a preservative in food as well as in beverages and food additives. It is readily absorbed in the human gastrointestinal tract and in many studies, oral and parenteral administration of methyl paraben is also considered safe.
In persons with extra sensitive skin however, methyl paraben can cause minor allergic reaction and studies have shown that if applied on skin and react with UVB it can significantly increase a person’s ability to have skin damage and aging.
Products with methyl paraben are safe for very young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan