Making sense of labels, Part 2 - Parabens

 In my previous blog about Making Sense of Labels, I talked about the claims that massage products might make on their labels about being 100% natural or organic (certified or not). I advised that rather than accept the product’s claim on face value, it is important to read the label and it will reveal how pure, and hopefully, “nasties-free” the product is.

I mentioned a couple of those nasties that you certainly won’t find in any Pure Pro products – namely parabens and ethoxylated ingredients. I didn’t say much about them in my first blog, but I thought perhaps I should.

I doubt any of us are chemists but sometimes I feel you would need to have a degree in chemistry to make sense of some labels. So, I hope this simplified explanation will help you understand this minefield.


So what are parabens? The U.S. FDA describe them as “a family of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products” and may be used to “prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mould.” Because there is often water in cosmetics and mould and bacteria can grow in water, the manufacturers need to add something to prevent that from happening. Research has linked parabens to breast cancer tumours. While a causative effect has not been proved, it sparked more research.

That research revealed that parabens mimic oestrogen, and because oestrogen can increase the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists are concerned that parabens might do the same. The EU has restricted allowable amounts of some parabens and banned others. If you really want to avoid them, look for anything ending in -paraben in the ingredient list, such as ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, etc.

It is worth remembering that personal care products, including massage products, contain very small amounts of parabens (less than 1%). Many people book a massage as a treat, so parabens are not likely to enter their bodies in large amounts. However, as therapists, we are exposed to them much more, on a daily basis, and for that reason it is essential to read the labels on your go-to massage oils, creams or lotions very carefully.

I just wanted to reassure you again that Pure Pro’s massage products DO NOT contain parabens. In fact, our Ultra (water dispersible) Massage Oil does not even contain water, therefore there is no need for a preservative to be added. I will explain more about this in next week's blog post.

For more details on the ingredients in all Pure Pro products go to: or contact me on (087) 287 0555 if you have any questions. Mary - always here to help you help your business

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Spoilt for choice, Part 1 - Selecting a Massage Oil