Cosmetic Preservatives

Parabens Blends

ParabensThe antimicrobial efficacy of the esters of 4-hydroxy benzoic acid was first discovered and patented in the 1920’s. Since that time they have become the most frequently used, and, it is widely believed, safest preservatives for personal care products.

Dry powder ParabensHigh purity dry powder Parabens are available from ISCA UK, sold under the trade names:

Iscaguard® M - methyl paraben
Iscaguard® E - ethyl paraben
Iscaguard® P - propyl paraben
Iscaguard® B - butyl paraben

The sodium salts of these parabens are also available on request.

Iscaguard® FPX2
Parabens blend in Phenoxyethanol
Iscaguard® FPX2 is an optimised blend of paraben esters in phenoxyethanol giving the advantages of broad-spectrum activity and ease of liquid handling.

Iscaguard® FPX2 is free from isobutylparaben, which is no longer permitted under Annex V of the EU Cosmetic Regulation.

Iscaguard® FPX2 compatible with most personal care ingredients and the presence of phenoxyethanol reduces, or overcomes the inactivation of parabens exhibited by some nonionic emulsifiers when parabens are used alone. In formulations with a high protein content, it may be necessary to use a higher concentration of Iscaguard® FPX2 compared with a similar formulation with no protein present.

Using Iscaguard® FPX2 Iscaguard® FPX2 is soluble in water to approximately 0.5%, but may be incorporated at higher concentrations into formulations containing surfactants, oils and waxes. Prolonged heating at elevated temperatures is not recommended, but Iscaguard® FPX2 may be added immediately after emulsification in hot processes.


INCI name: Phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben


Regulatory Status

Iscaguard® FPX2 is permitted for use in personal care products in the European Union (maximum 1.38%), the USA (safe as used) and Japan (maximum 1.38%).

Antimicrobial activity of Iscaguard® FPX2
MIC of Parabens blend
Microorganism Minimum inhibitory
MIC (%)
Pseudomonas aeruginosa 0.32
Escherichia coli 0.32
Proteus vulgar 0.24
Staphylococcus aureus 0.21
Bacillus cereus 0.21
Enterococcus faecium 0.21
Candida albicans 0.12
Saccharomyces cerevisiae 0.11
Aspergillus niger 0.14