Wet wipes chemical linked to dermatitis

I know it has been aaaaaages since I’ve posted… a combination of moving interstate, heatwaves, overseas travel (yay!), moving house again and, well, being a new Mum.

I know, I know, excuses are like bumholes, everyone’s got one (well, except those with anal atresia!) (medical joke, tee hee)… but in any case I’m back and ready to kick off with an article on how a chemical commonly found in wet wipes is emerging as a leading cause of allergic contact dermatitis.

The preservative methylisothiazolinone is widely used in cosmetic products ranging from shampoos to deodorants. It won the not-so-coveted award of ‘Contact Allergen of the Year’ in 2013.

A recent article in the Medical Journal of Australia, showed that methylisothiazolinone was identified as the culprit in a rising proportion of patients who underwent patch testing for contact dermatitis.

In 2013, 11.3% of patients tested positive, compared with just 3.5% in 2011.

The condition often presents as hand dermatitis in parents who use wet wipes when changing infants, suggesting it could be an under-recognised cause of nappy rash.

Dermatologists are recommending that people with unexplained dermatitis, particularly affecting the hands, should check whether methylisothiazolinone is an ingredient in their wipes/ other products.

Which products contain methylisothiazolinone ? Just type “products containing methylisothiazolinone” into your search engine to have a look.. The Good Guide also provides some information.

Medical Journal of Australia 2014; 200:208.

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