Allergies to Pre-Moistened Wipes on the Rise

March 3, 2014

A preservative in pre-moistened hand wipes may be linked to a rise of allergic reactions, according to dermatologist Matthew Zirwas, MD at the Ohio State University Wexner Center. He says manufacturers are increasing use of the preservative as they reduce their dependence on formaldehyde and paragons.

The preservative causing this discomfort is methylisothiazolinone found in water-based products such as: soaps, hair products, sunscreen, cosmetics, laundry products and cleaners as well as pre-moistened personal hygiene products and baby wipes.

“For some patients, their rash has been unexplained and going on for years,” said Dr. Matthew Zirwas, director of the contact dermatitis center at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

The skin becomes red, raised, itchy and in some cases blistery, similar to a poison ivy outbreak. The three most common areas affected by individuals with the outbreak are: the face, fingers and hands, and the buttocks and genitals.

“If someone suspects an allergy to moistened wipes, they need to stop using them for at least one month. A week or two isn't enough time,” said Zirwas.

Zirwas mentions that manufacturers are aware of this growing allergic trend and are working on fixing the problem.

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