Paraben-free care for sensitive skin (product reviews)

by - 13:43

**Please note I am in the process of replacing some of the images for this post. Where images are missing, you can view images of the products by following the links provided**

Parabens are a class of chemical commonly used as a preservative in makeup and skin care. There are some concerns that parabens can cause allergic reactions, exacerbate skin conditions and may even be carcinogenic - although there is currently no evidence for a causal link between parabens and cancer. You can read more about parabens on Wikipedia.

I suffer from eczema and have done all my life, and I have been advised that avoiding parabens may help keep my eczema under control. With that in mind, I have started to move towards paraben-free skincare and cosmetics, and I will see if it makes any difference to my skin. In the future it may be proved that parabens have no effect and are completely safe to use, but if you are concerned about parabens in your products, here are some paraben-free things that I have tried:

Aqueous cream

Aqueous cream is currently my holy grail of moisturisers as it's cheap as anything and has several different uses. The brand I buy is Kingsley House, which retails at around 99p for 500ml, but any brand will do the job. As well as being paraben-free, it's also fragrance-free, and can also be used as a skin cleanser for the face, or in the bath. 

I have had very good results with this in terms of keeping my skin hydrated and not causing itchiness or a reaction, and because it's so cheap I can afford to use a lot of it.

Ingredients: Cetostearyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Liquid Paraffin, White Soft Paraffin, Phenoxyethanol, Preservative, Purified Water

Price: 99p for 500ml

Overall rating: 5/5

Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion

I have used Aveeno in the past, but I bought a tube of the Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion whilst I was away in Oxford and I loved it. It's very soothing for troubled skin, and keeps the skin well moisturised. It smells pleasant and feels light and non-greasy. I got through a whole bottle of this in around a week, but I would definitely buy this again.

Ingredients: [PR-001331], Aqua, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Stearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Steareth-20, Isopropyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Alcohol

Price: £3.66 for 200ml from Superdrug (£5.49 for the same thing in Boots!!)

Overall Rating: 5/5

Lush Ultrabalm


I am a big fan of Lush products as they are largely natural and seem on the whole to agree with my skin pretty well. I went into Lush this recently for some advice on their skincare products as I had previously tried (and loved) Sympathy For The Skin and Dream Cream for my eczema, but had discovered on reading the ingredients that they both contain parabens.

I was given a sample of their Ultrabalm to try, but having now used my sample, I don't think I will be buying the full sized product. For me, there didn't seem to be any particular improvement to my skin (unlike, for example, the Aveeno, which immediately made my skin feel cool and soothed). On my skin, this product seems to be pretty middle-of-the-road and not worth paying the price for.

However, I really enjoy the smell and the texture of this product, and it does seem as though the small size of the pots might still last a decent amount of time.

Ingredients: Organic Jojoba Oil, Candelilla Wax, Rose Wax

Price: £8.25 for 45g

Overall Rating: 3/5

Cetaphil Restoraderm


My mum managed to coupon-ninja her way to getting me a free bottle of this and the matching body wash, and I absolutely loved it. When I first started using it, my skin cleared up within the space of a couple of days, and that was from being really bad. I have been using it for around the last three weeks, and the benefits of it seem to have lessened over time, but I still like it and would continue to use it in the future. If you live in America, I'm led to believe it's fairly easy to get hold of. It's a less common product here in the UK, but can still be purchased from Boots, Amazon, the Cetaphil UK website and apparently a website called Chemist Direct which I just found via Google.

Ingredients: Aqua, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, helianthus annuus seed oil, pentylene glycol, butyrospermum parkii butter, cyclopentasiloxane, cetearyl alcohol, sorbitol, behenyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, allantoin, arginine, caprylyl glycol, ceteareth-20, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, dimethiconol, disodium EDTA, disodium ethylene dicocamide PEG-15 disulfate, glyceryl stearate citrate, hydroxypalmitoyl sphinganine, niacinamide, panthenol, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, sodium polyacrylate, tocopheryl acetate.

Price: £19.99 from Boots

Overall Rating: 4/5


I really hope these reviews have been useful to someone. I have used other paraben-free products in the past and I am going to be purchasing some more moisturisers and face products in the near future, which I will probably also review. I was very disappointed to find that some of my very favourite products all contain parabens, so I will have to try and avoid them in future. In the mean time, if you have anything to recommend in terms of skincare, please do! I am always on the lookout for new products to try. 

Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post. Most of the  products were bought with my own money, with the exception of the Cetaphil which was sent as a free sample using a coupon. All opinions are my own. 

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  1. Wonderful post to which I can relate all too well. I have super sensitive skin coupled with three dermatological conditions (including eczema), and find that most beauty products, cleaners, and household (such as laundry and dish) soap drive my skin bonkers. I swear by Dove for sensitive skin as my soap of choice, and highlighted some of my other skin friendly beauty products in this post last year:

    I know that for me one of the most problematic ingredients in beauty (and household) products is sodium laureth sulfate. If I see that listed on something now, at least 95% of the time I won't even consider buying it. There have been a couple of instances where it was listed and I didn't get a reaction, but much as with most scented products, it really does a number on my skin.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. That's interesting - I haven't tried specifically avoiding sodium laureth sulphate but I might add it to my list of things not to use. Thanks for the extra information, I really appreciate it! x

  2. Thanks for this great post! I have psoriasis, which is kind of like eczema, so this is some valuable information! I use Cetaphil currently and I also love it, but I'll have to watch for things without parabens from now on!

    1. I'm glad it was useful! I have several more products which I will be reviewing soon, so I hope there will be some more useful information for you there. I have several more moisturisers as well as some cleansers etc.