Propylparaben is used to control the growth of bacteria, yeasts and moulds. We use less than half the maximum permitted level to ensure the product is as mild as possible and the skin's natural microflora isn't affected.
Propylparaben is a preservative: a substance that is added to food and other products to keep them fresh for longer. As microbes go to reproduce, propylparaben prevents the cell wall from forming properly so the bacteria can’t close itself in. This means a second generation of microbes can’t form.
EU regulations state that 0.4% of a formula can be composed of methylparaben and 0.19% made of propylparaben. Lush uses half this amount in order to limit disruption to an individual’s protective microflora - tiny organisms on your skin that protect you from harm. Conventional cosmetic shelf life is around 30 months to account for time spent in storage, but because Lush products are made by hand and leave our factory within 21 days, we don't need to use maximum levels of preservative. By eliminating months or even years spent in the back of a warehouse, this reduces the amount of preservative needed to keep a product fresh and so, on average, Lush products have a 14 month shelf-life. This low level of use also helps with the bio-degradability of our product and any waste material created during manufacture.
Wherever possible Lush products are forumulated without synthetic preservatives, but sometimes need to use them to ensure customers get an effective and lasting product. Many factors are considered to assess the need for preservatives: the type of product, its structure, manufacturing process, ingredients and application. Using this information and microbiological tests during product development, the appropriate preservative is then selected. Lush uses a maximum of two synthetic preservatives in any one product: either a team consisting of two types of paraben: methylparaben and propylparaben, or a team consisting of the chemical compound 2-phenoxyethanol and an alcohol called benzyl alcohol.
Propylparaben is an ester of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. It is a white, fine crystalline powder, which is odourless, tasteless and non-irritating.
Parabens occur naturally in some fruits such as blueberries and synthetic parabens have been used since the 1920s in food preservation. They are permitted by every world health authority and 500 independent safety studies have been carried out over the decades. Our parabens come from a company that has sustainable principles and recycle water and power as much as possible.
We also constantly review and investigate cosmetic preservatives, and consider any sound scientific evidence. The parabens used in Lush products are safe to handle during manufacture and guarantee the quality and safety of the products we want our customers to enjoy.