463005383From texture and aroma to packaging and price, there are many variables that come into play when selecting a massage cream. One factor, which may or may not be on your current list of considerations, is whether the product contains parabens.

Before you can decide whether a paraben-free massage cream is a must-have for you and your clients, it helps to have a better understanding of what exactly parabens are and what connections have been made between these chemicals and their health effects.

The main reason so many products—not just massage lubricants, but cosmetics, soaps and all kinds of personal care items, as well—contain parabens is because they serve as preservatives, staving off the growth of bacteria and dramatically increasing the shelf life of certain products.

Lately, researchers have been exploring the links between parabens and health concerns, and more and more manufacturers appear to be taking steps to remove parabens from their products. Of course, consumer demand for personal care items that do not contain parabens probably plays a role in the increased availability of such products.

In the field of massage therapy and bodywork, where achieving better health through natural and noninvasive means is a key theme, finding a massage cream that is paraben-free may be especially important to professional practitioners and reassuring to their clients. If you would like to make sure your current lubricant does not contain any parabens or search for a new massage cream that is paraben-free, the first place to check is the ingredient label.

Often, items that do not contain any parabens will state that on the main packaging label. Still, to get a better grasp on the prevalence of parabens, it is wise to know the names of these preservatives. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most common parabens include methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.

The FDA’s public statement on parabens said the use of these ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products does not pose a health risk to consumers. Regardless, there are quite a few paraben-free massage creams on the market for those practitioners who are interested in avoiding these kinds of preservatives just in case.