Japanese Honeysuckle Extract

Commonly found in:

  • Hair care
  • Moisturizer
  • Body wash
  • Facial creams
  • Liquid soap
  • Dandruff/Scalp treatment
  • Deodorant
  • Facial cleanser
  • Anti-aging

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database:

  • Safety Rating - 0
  • Data Gap- 100%

 Consider these Alternatives:
Misuse of Terms

Simplifica products with this ingredient:

Shop Now>>

Also identified as:

  • Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract
  • Extract of Lonicera Japonica
  • Honeysuckle Flower Extract
  • Reportedly contains Parahydroxy Benzoic Acid




This is one of the most controversial ingredients in today’s personal care marketplace. It is used in formulations as a preservative and is marketed as all-natural. Opinions range from “highly processed and concentrated paraben extraction” to “there is no such thing as a natural paraben." Technically, this is correct. By definition "paraben" is used to describe a synthetically produced compound.

There is little information concerning Japanese Honeysuckle Extract that is unrelated to the potential presence of Para-hydroxy Benzoic Acid. The information below is an overview of PHBA and is only applicable to Japanese Honeysuckle Extract if PHBA is the active ingredient. We will continue our efforts to obtain clear, understandable answers regarding the components present in this extract that allow it to successfully prohibit the growth of microorganisms in personal care products. Until we achieve this, please use this information with the understanding that is errs on the side of caution and that the Para-hydroxy benzoic acid characterized below may or may not be present in Japanese Honeysuckle Extract.

Important Considerations:

  • Para-hydroxy benzoic acid is "reportedly" the active ingredient in Japanese Honeysuckle Extract. However, we have not yet found indisputable evidence that this is completely reliable information.
  • Para-hydroxy benzoic acid is the naturally-occurring compound that chemists used as a model for creating parabens. Notice para-hydroxy benzoic acid - this is how parabens got their names. For instance: methylparaben simply means parahydroxy benzoic acid with a methyl group. Propylparaben is PHBA with a propyl group.

Para-hydroxy Benzoic Acid possesses the following characteristics:

  • Looks like a paraben - View chemical structures of both para-hydroxy benzoic acid and a synthetic paraben.
  • Acts like a paraben - Both parabens and para-hydroxy benzoic acid contain a benzene ring - This ring is what creates the opportunity for both parabens and para-hydroxy benzoic acid to function as endocrine disruptors.
  • Para-hydroxy benzoic acid has been studied and identified as an estrogen mimicker that can stimulate breast cancer cells....almost exactly how parabens do.
  • The explanation for para-hydroxy benzoic acid's "0" rating on Cosmetic Database is the 100% data gap. This data gap means the database has not yet pulled this study or others like it into their database yet. Secondly the vast majority of testing that's been done has been conducted on synthesized parabens (methyl, ethyl, etc.) rather than on para-hydroxy benzoic acid on its own.
  • In the study mentioned above, it was made clear that it isn't the "methyl" or "propyl" or "butyl" that makes methylparaben, propylparaben or butylparaben act estrogenically. It's the para-hydroxy benzoic acid that does. 

For more information on choosing products that meet your personal criteria, please visit our page on Red Flags Concerning Preservatives.


Please contact us if you would like additional information about this ingredient.