Paraben - Parabens are a type of preservative used in most beauty products to make sure that they last as long as possible. They've had some pretty bad press in the past few months, following suggestions that parabens could cause illness in users.
Popular beauty company Simple, who pride themselves on creating harsh chemical-free products suitable even for the most sensitive skin, proclaim that parabens have been in use for over 50 years, having been certified as safe by several legitimate organisations. They also point out the fact that although the majority of modern parabens are manufactured, it's important to remember that parabens also occur naturally.
Paula Begoun agrees with Simple's reasoning, and backing up the notion that many media outlets are "scare mongering", has proclaimed that Parabens are indeed safe for use:
"Group of preservatives, including butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben, that are among the most widely used group of preservatives in cosmetics. It is estimated that more than 70% of all cosmetic products contain some form of paraben. Parabens are believed to cause less irritation than some preservatives and offer broad antifungal and good antibacterial activity.
Parabens have become a stigmatized group of preservatives due to their alleged relation to breast cancer. The Paula's Choice team has researched this issue extensively and come to the conclusion that parabens are not harmful ingredients consumers should avoid."
**Updated by Kat M 01/05/2011**