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Overly Sensitive Skin? Try Paraben Free Products

Updated on May 5, 2012

Look for "No Parabens" on the Label


Us laymen and laywomen know what we mean when we say we have “sensitive skin” – easy to breakout, swollen red bumps from minor scratches and bug bites, as well as rashes from contact with a variety of elements such as environmental irritants. Regards of whether or not you have always had sensitive skin or it is a condition that developed over time, one of the things that can really aggravate allergic reactions and skin conditions is all the parabens that are in everything from shampoo to soap to detergent to moisturizers. I have very sensitive skin to the point where lotions, soap and makeup make me breakout and get red bumps all over. Paraben free products have really helped me get my skin under control.

What are Parabens?

Parabens are basically chemicals that are in a variety of products that work to act as preservatives to keep out mold, fungus and bacteria from taking over and ruining different products. Such chemicals keep your soap and lotion fresh so to speak. Look for any ingredients with these names: methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben or butylparaben.

The Controversy

There is controversy surrounding whether or not parabens cause breast cancer and other health problems. Parabens mess with estrogen levels, so there have been many studies, but still some dispute on the long-term impact of parabens. Regardless of if you believe that parabens can lead to cancer, there is no argument that parabens are unnatural and manmade substances that fail to exist in nature. As a result, it is possible that they are not 100% safe and that people could possibly have allergic reactions or adverse impacts from something unnatural. And, that people with overly sensitive skin could benefit from using more paraben free products.

A Word about Paraben Free

It is not so easy to find paraben free product. And yes, most of the time and like most “natural” products, they cost a little bit more than your cheap and loaded with chemicals product. However, I find the aggravation I save from itchy, bumpy and red skin has made the extra costs worth it.

When looking for paraben-free products, it is important to remember that just because a product says “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it is automatically paraben free. Paraben free products usually say so right on the label so that there is no confusion.

Where to Start?

It is hard to be 100% paraben-free. But, here are some ways you can get started:

  • Body Wash/Soap: Since you hopefully bathe or shower regularly, you probably use a lot of soap. Soap comes in contact with your skin on a daily basis. It seems like a great place to start your paraben free journey. I use African Black soap or shea butter body wash. Both can be found in a natural form that is paraben free. Read the label to make sure, as there are many types that are processed. A site like Soap Hope can give you an idea of the variety of paraben free soaps on the market.
  • Shampoo: Harsh shampoos can irritate scalps. There are tea tree oil soaps for itchy, dry scalps, soy and green tea shampoos as well as moisturizing shampoos with natural oils. I personally like tea tree oil shampoos because it can help heal any sores or bumps that are on the scalp area.
  • Detergent: Chances are that you wear clothes most days. Detergents can be very irritating to the skin. Paraben free laundry detergent is hard to find. Free and clear isn’t the same thing as paraben free. Free and clear usually means no perfumes or dyes, which is a start. Dapple laundry detergent and Green Clean are some that are paraben free. Seventh Generation comes close but still has some parabens. To be honest, I often use free and clear detergents over paraben free to just save money, and they still really help reduce skin irritation.
  • Makeup: Makeup has tons of parabens. A lot of people find makeup very irritating and the cause of breakouts. Paraben-free makeup can really help you still wear makeup without breaking out. There are many types of paraben-free cosmetics on the market (
  • Protect Your Baby: Why not get your baby started off healthy. Here is a great list of baby products that are paraben free

Obviously, there are many other types of products that you can switch to paraben free such as lotion, shaving gel and dishwasher detergent.


There are some difficulties to the paraben free lifestyle. Some organic products have short shelf lives, so you want to make sure you read labels carefully and look at expiration dates. Harsh products such as anti-aging creams are still hard to find that are paraben free, making these products very expensive to purchase.

The Good News

As the knowledge about parabens increases, there will be more and more products available that are paraben free. There are already so many more products to choose from than even 10 years ago and easier to find through online searches and online stores.

I still have allergic reactions when I get bitten by a mosquito. However, I have fewer rashes since using paraben free products and can wear makeup again. This strategy is one that has worked for me, and I hope going paraben free helps heal your skin as it did mine.


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    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Sure thing @Suzie HQ. And thanks for your kind comments.

      I think there is more awareness these days heidithorne and hopefully more products will come on the market.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      5 years ago from Chicago Area

      I'm always on the lookout for paraben, phthalate and sulfate free products and I agree, it's quite a challenge. But, hopefully, as more of us consumers demand these products, we'll see more on the shelves. As you've noted, there are already so many more of these products available than even 10 years ago, even 5 years ago... and from mainstream manufacturers. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi truthfornow,

      Great article which highlights the paraben controversy well. Personally I am all in favor of paraben free products as I am on all harmful chemicals in beauty products particularly. Homemade is definitely an answer too as the amount of brands doing paraben free items is limited. Thanks for such an interesting article I will be sharing and pinning! I will also link it to several of my homemade recipes if I may?

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Yes, some of the impacts may not be realized until much later Express10. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      5 years ago from East Coast

      I try to go chemical free whenever possible and learned through the serious allergies my older sister has to various products that all things are not safe, even if you don't show outward problems. I have allergic reactions to some things as well but nothing like her. Parabens are controversial for good reason, anything affecting estrogen levels can trigger some unsavory processes within the body. This is a useful hub.

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks always exploring.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I was totally unaware of paraben free products. Thank you for sharing..

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks for the comment and the vote up teaches12345.

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      You never know what you might be allergic too Ivona Poyntz.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I have learned something really important today from your hub. I will certainly look into the products that are paraben free. I always try to stay healthy and free of harsh chemical influence. Voted way up!

    • Ivona Poyntz profile image

      Ivona Poyntz 

      6 years ago from UK

      Really sensible advice. I also find fragrance/perfume free products are better as well.


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