Preservatives prevent spoilage in both food and cosmetic products.* Without preservatives, many skin care gels, creams, and lotions would become contaminated with bacteria. Cosmetic companies ensure their products have a long shelf-life (some upwards of seven years!) to prevent products from becoming contaminated. If you mistakingly use a contaminated product, whether store-bought or homemade, it can cause serious infections.
The paraben family–listed on cosmetic labels as methyl-, ethyl-, propyl- or butylparaben–is a commonly used preservative. Unfortunately, studies have linked parabens to decreased sperm counts and increased likelihood of cancer.
How to avoid chemical preservatives in cosmetics:
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