Skin Care

Does Cerave Have Parabens in Their Skincare Products?



by Lydia


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CeraVe is a famous skincare brand with products that are developed by dermatologists. This brand has gained significant admiration from beauty editors, celebrities and skincare influencers. Therefore, it is one of the leading brands for skincare products.

The CeraVe brand began with the concern of a common problem of compromised skin among individuals suffering from skin conditions such as acne, dry, eczema and psoriasis. Subsequently, with the help of Dermatologists, CeraVe formulated a line of products with three essential ceramides for restoring the natural protective barrier of the skin. In addition, CeraVe applies the MultiVesicular Emulsion Technology (MVE) for the gradual release of the ceramides over a period of time.

Specifically, MVE ensures that your select CeraVe formula works hours after it is applied for keeping your skin hydrated throughout the day. So, in combination with the essential skin ceramides, your skin has adequate protection and enablers to help it replenish, relieving dry skin through adequate moisturization. Besides people with dry skin, skincare products by CeraVe are also loved by people with diverse skin needs such as acne-prone or generally a sensitive skin type. Also, you can find baby skin products such as baby lotion under this brand for baby skin soothing and moisturization.

In addition, you can find Cerave moisturizing cream for a balanced effect on a combination or just a normal skin regime. Other products under this brand help you deal with conditions such as psoriasis, eczema as anti-aging serums or sunscreens.

Asides from highlighting the widespread use of CeraVe products and their core ingredients, we are also concerned about parabens used in some of their products. Accordingly, we will comprehensively provide insight on parabens and their uses by CeraVe. In as much as we will not focus on specific CeraVe products, read on to demystify the whole concept on parabens in skincare.

What are Parabens?

Parabens are common chemical ingredients used in personal care and cosmetic products as preservatives. For instance, parabens can be found in shower gels, deodorants, body creams, lotions, and scrubs, among others that come to contact with human skin. The working mechanism of parabens involves preventing the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria that cause products to go bad.

Over the years, parabens have been known as generally low toxic, making them the preferable preservative options in skin-related products. Additionally, parabens are effective in increasing the shelf-life of products and are inexpensive, adding to the commercial suitability. Some of the most commonly used parabens include methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. However, over time, the use of parabens is on a decline due to customer concerns about their safety on human bodies.

Progressively, Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety and other human consumption safety bodies are constantly working to ensure that parabens are used safely. Focusing on the current question about CeraVe using parabens, they use these preservatives in a range of their products but not all. Next on, we will clarify the primary concern of having parabens in CeraVe products and other skincare products.

Main Concern About Parabens in Cerave Products

The primary controversy surrounding parabens is that they can act as hormones more in a mimicking form. In particular, parabens mimic Estrogen in female bodies, disrupting normal Estrogen production, thus the name xenoestrogens. Subsequently, the disruption of Estrogen is linked to reproductive issues and breast cancer.

One of the researches that directly linked parabens to breast cancer was by Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., who found parabens in malignant breast growths. Following this, experts started recommending the reduced use of parabens in skincare products. Reasonably, different watchdog stakeholders were worried that parabens can accumulate in the human body, posing a health risk over time.

However, this toxicity premise of parabens is inconclusive following subsequent researches that have confirmed otherwise. For instance, some critics argue that a comparative study wasn't done on a healthy individual to confirm the accumulation of parabens before breast tissue turns malignant. In other studies, parabens have been identified as very weak xenoestrogens, meaning natural hormones at all times remain dominant. Other experiments relating to effects on the reproduction system still don't have concrete evidence that parabens are a health risk.

Therefore, at the time of compiling this write-up, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that links parabens to any cancer. However, CeraVe products aren't cruelty-free since some of the brand subsidiaries are in regions that allow for animal testing.

What Are The Key Ingredients in CeraVe Products?

So far, we have primarily featured parabens as ingredients in CeraVe products. Nonetheless, they are in small proportions, and there are other active ingredients that are in large proportions than the parabens. As earlier highlighted, CeraVe products are effective skincare products since they contain three essential ceramides as the key ingredients.

Starting with Ceramides, these are waxy molecular lipids that occur naturally on the upper layer of the human skin, also known as the Stratum Corneum. This upper layer is the skin functions as a barrier against infections, environmental stressors, allergens and irritants, among other harmful externalities. Accordingly, the exogenous application of skin-appropriate ceramides helps improve the integrity of the skin barrier and epidermal hydration.

Ideally, the restoration of the skin barrier works in the mechanism of brick and mortar. In this case, dead skin cells (corneocytes) act as the bricks and intercellular lipids, or the ceramides act as the mortar. Conversely, the absence of ceramides results in itchiness, dryness and irritation due to the skin's instability and weakness. Also, an extensive lack of ceramides can lead to the development of sensitive skin and an allergic reaction.

Moreover, we would like to emphasize the role of MVE technology in controlling the delivery of ceramides over an extended period in a continuous manner. For instance, when you apply a CeraVe moisturizing cream in the morning, it is the role of MVE to spread the continuous release of ceramides throughout the day for constant skin protection. The main enabling factor for the MVE mechanism are layers of oil and water emulsions.

Apart from ceramides, CeraVe products also contain other ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin E, salicylic acid, emollients and glycerin. Some of the CeraVe ingredients are for compatibility with sensitive skin and reducing enlarged skin pores. More in favor of sensitive skin regimes, CeraVe products are fragrance-free. Finally, CeraVe cleansers have excellent foaming abilities despite being free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

Does CeraVe have Parabens in Baby Products?

One of the product lines that CeraVe doesn't use parabens is baby products. For instance, CeraVe Baby Lotion is paraben-free, fragrance-free for an easy spread on a baby's delicate skin barrier for moisturization and a soothing sensation. As such, baby lotion by CeraVe also contains the following additional ingredients:

  • Vitamin E for soothing and moisturizing benefits.
  • Niacinamide for calming the skin.
  • Hyaluronic acid, to draw moisture to the outer skin

As such, a paraben-free baby lotion uniquely works to protect and hydrate an infant's delicate skin.

Notably, a baby's skin is not only delicate but thin. Nonetheless, with the fragrance-free CeraVe baby products, your infant will enjoy a non-allergic and safe skincare routine. Asides from being paraben-free and fragrance-free, CeraVe baby products are also sulfate-free, dye-free, and phthalate-free. In addition, CeraVe baby products are safe for children with sensitive or eczema-prone skin.

Why Does Cerave Have Parabens?

So, despite the ongoing uncertainty about the safety of parabens in cosmetics, why does CeraVe have parabens as ingredients in some of its products? According to most cosmetic studies, people rarely develop allergies relating to skincare products containing parabens, and there isn't any data showing the toxicity of parabens. Furthermore, during manufacturing, CeraVe uses safe and mild forms of parabens that certainly can't cause harm to the human body.

To support this justified position by CeraVe, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also consider parabens safe when used in low amounts. In addition, CeraVe uses parabens since they do not cause blocked pores, and there is no substantiated evidence that they cause cancer. However, when it comes to some alternative preservatives, they also don't provide prolonged preservation as parabens do.

Alternatives to Parabens in Skincare Products

Improvements in cosmetic research have continued to introduce natural and synthetic paraben alternatives. For instance, cosmetic manufacturers are continually testing the effectiveness of plant extracts and gentle chemicals for consumers seeking paraben-free and environmentally friendly alternatives. Some of the known alternative preservatives to parabens include Neolone, OptiphenPlus, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Benzethonium Chloride, Hydantoin, Glycacil, and Natrulon.

These highlighted preservatives are artificial and can be used together with natural paraben-alternatives. Some of the natural alternatives to parabens include:

  • Potassium Sorbate: This organic compound is fragrance-free, non-sensitizing and non-toxic. Subsequently, it is used in organic cosmetics and effectively inhibits the growth of fungus and molds but doesn't kill all bacteria on its own. As a result, it is combined with Phenoxyethanol for increased inhibition of more bacteria. As an organic preservative, Potassium Sorbate is approved by Australian Certified Organic.
  • Phenoxyethanol: This is the most popular organic paraben-alternative, which acts as a very stable antimicrobial. Phenoxyethanol is, however, unable to inhibit the growth of fungus on its own. Consequently, it works best together with other anti-fungal preservatives such as Diazolidinyl urea or potassium sorbate.
  • Natural Preservatives: These are other paraben-alternatives with limited antibacterial effects. Some of the examples in this category include thyme essential oil, tea tree, oregano, neem, rosemary and grapefruit seed extracts. However, these natural extracts are not effective for all rancidity and bacteria strains. Therefore, they have to be used alongside artificial preservatives.

Our Verdict on the Safety of Cerave

In closing, we believe some skin-care products from the CeraVe brand rank among the best for healthy skin. Considerably, CeraVe has the backing of input from dermatologists, making them objective in dealing with target skin conditions such as dry, oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin regimes. Most importantly, ceramides found in CeraVe products help repair the skin and protect it from external stressors and infections.

In addition, CeraVe is a good brand for products compatible with a delicate skin barrier, such as a paraben-free baby lotion. Also, CeraVe's skin-care products are fragrance-free with non-sensitive soothing and moisturizing benefits to the skin through safe ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin E, salicylic acid, and glycerin.

Finally, regarding parabens in CeraVe, we recommend avoiding products with parabens even though you will miss out on the essential ceramides in some of these products. Ultimately, prevention is better than cure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) on Parabens in Cerave Products

1. Does CeraVe have harmful chemicals?

Across all its products, CeraVe is known for manufacturing safe products that help repair and protect your skin. To cement this reputation, CeraVe is a go-to brand for many dermatologists in the recommendation for use on sensitive skin since it's fragrance-free and non-sensitive. However, some CeraVe products contain parabens that are continually being discouraged due to associations with tumor growth and hormone disruptions.

2. Are CeraVe sunscreens safe?

Yes, CeraVe sunscreens are safe considering they are mineral in nature and are safe for all skin types. These skincare products incorporate ingredients such as niacinamide, ceramides and hyaluronic acid for keeping the skin barrier hydrated and protected at all times. Moreover, CeraVe sunscreens are better than chemical sunscreens, likely to cause radical damage to the skin.

3. How do you know if a product has parabens?

In light of the growing concern about parabens, manufacturers have made it easy to tell if a skin-care product has parabens or not. Effectively, you can check for parabens on the label along with other ingredients. Some of the ingredients that are indicators of parabens include benzylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and methylparaben. Exceptionally, when it comes to products for kids, you should be extra vigilant about the ingredients in skincare products.


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