What is Methylparaben?
Also known as Methyl Paraben, Methylparaben is an anti-fungal preservative that has been used in cosmetics for some time now with an increasing rise in popularity.
Chemically speaking, Methylparaben belongs to a larger group known as “parabens” that include similar substances, such as Ethylparaben or Propylparaben, among many others. All of them are actually parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid -also known as 4-hydroxybenzoic acid.
Possessing important preservative properties, this substance is widely used in the world of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics as it helps to preserve the formulas upon which each product is based.
A Story to Tell
In the past, more natural compounds used to be part of the preservation agents, for example, grapefruit seeds. However, with the passing of time and the speedy evolution of technology, these natural alternatives proved to be ineffective. Consequently, specialists began to explore new chemicals that would serve the purpose of preserving products more efficiently.
Even when the substance occurs naturally; these days, most of the Methylparaben used in the cosmetic industry is synthetically produced. The process is quite simple really: through the esterification of para-hydroxybenzoic acid with the right type of alcohol, for example, methanol, ethanol or n-Propanol, the first substance is industrially transformed by using potassium phenoxide and carbon dioxide.
Methylparaben and Its Benefits
Part of this substance’s popularity stems from its capacity to effectively absorb into the human skin. Consequently, it is used in combination with most other beauty ingredients, especially in the manufacturing of body lotions, emollients and other creams. Despite its highly effective anti-fungal properties, this substance is most often considered non-irritating and even safer than other similar products.
Used as a preservation agent, it has been proved to help beauty products enhance their qualities. Moreover, products containing Methylparaben are much longer-lasting and their qualities are kept intact for a longer time as well.
The public should learn however, that Methylparaben is rarely found in isolation, but in combination with other parabens, as well. Most products containing such combinations include toothpastes, makeup, hair care products, moisturisers, lotions, shaving products and many more.
Methylparaben: Its Side Effects
In recent years, the matter of Methylparaben and its safety caused a lot of controversy, especially after a study revealed that they may have been a link between certain cases of breast cancer and the excessive use of Methylparaben in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. This affirmation stems from the fact that parabens imitate the function of estrogen and may lead to the creation of excessive breast tissue.
Medical research however, has not been able to effectively link any of these cases with the use of this substance.
Even so, even when the substance has been regarded as safe by the FDA, still a warning is issued regarding the amount of Methylparaben that a person should be exposed to.
Medical recommendation then, considers that products containing up to 0.4% are safe to use on an everyday basis. Similarly, in recent years the cosmetic industry has developed novel types of substances that are regarded as safer than Methylparaben.