- Methyl paraben is an anti-fungal compound used as a preservative agent for numerous health and beauty products, including over-the-counter drugs, cosmetic items and food products. Methyl paraben is absorbed through the skin and through the gastrointestinal tract, and is listed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) product, meaning it can be legally and safely used in a majority of products.
Use in Cosmetics and Drugs
- Methyl paraben is used as an anti-microbial agent in hair products, including gels and shampoos such as Herbal Essence products, Pantene Pro-V and Aussie Volume shampoo. It is also used in Aveeno Positively Radiant cleansing facial pads. Methyl paraben is a popular agent to use due to the quick excretion and elimination of the chemical without a build-up inside the body.
Use in Food Products
- Methyl paraben is used as a preservative and a synthetic flavoring substance in food products. It is commonly inserted into canned goods to lengthen shelf life and maintain flavor. One of the reasons for its widespread use in food products is that methyl paraben is water-soluble, resulting in easy mixing with liquids.
- Although methyl paraben is a FDA-approved safe chemical substance and listed on the GRAS list, there have been reports of individuals having allergic reactions to products containing the chemical, including skin irritation. Anyone who may be allergic to it should avoid using cosmetic products or eating food that contains any traces of methyl paraben.