A bactericidal preservative that prevents products from going bad and give them longer shelf-lives. Paraben (para-hydroxy benzoic acid) is derived from fruit and vegetables. Methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, and propyl paraben are its most common derivatives. Although some research questions its potential to cause breast cancer by acting like an estrogen, its harmful effects on the body have not been scientifically proven, and potentially harmful derivatives have been banned completely. Parabens are FDA-approved. Its most common alternative as a preservative is phenoxyethanol.