A study just published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that methylparaben, a cheap antimicrobial preservative used in hundreds of foundations, moisturizers, and ironically, anti-aging treatments, actually left the skin of mice paler, drier, and more wrinkled. The study demonstrated that at high concentrations, methylparaben shortens the lifespan of skin cell that make collagen levels and can ultimately speed up cell aging and death by increasing levels of toxic molecules. And the fact the study was done on mice is no reason to discount its findings.Mouse skin is so similar to that of humans that it’s commonly used in dermatology as a gauge of what a similar dose of an ingredient would do to you.
Since this is one of the first studies to suggest that this type of paraben can age skin, additional research on the link is still warranted. However, while your creams and cosmetics don’t contain the super-high doses used in the study, it only makes sense to avoid a preservative that decreases the production the skin-tightening, plumping, and thickening collagen that keeps you looking young and healthy.
By law, the ingredient is always included on the ingredient label, but it does go by some sneaky names. You can find all of its aliases on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.