Additives in Skincare Explained

Today’s additive is Methylisothiazolinone, MIT, or MI, is a powerful synthetic biocide and preservative within the group of isothiazolinones, which is used in numerous personal care products and a wide range of industrial applications.

It is a cytotoxin that may affect different types of cells. Its use for a wide range of personal products for humans, such as cosmetics, lotions, moisturizers, sanitary wipes, shampoos, and sunscreens, more than doubled during the first decade of the twenty-first century and has been reported as a contact sensitizing agent by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety.

Recalcitrant dermatitis, such as that of the hands, face, or genitals, may be due to allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) from ingredients in seemingly innocuous personal care products.

Rising rates of allergy have been noted due to the preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI). This preservative is commonly found in skin and hair care products, especially wipes, but its also found in dish washing liquid.  

MI is included in some skin care products specifically marketed for babies and children included facial or body wipes, antibacterial hand wipes, hair products, soaps, bubble baths, moisturizers, and sunscreens. Products specifically marketed as “gentle,” “sensitive,” “organic,” or “hypoallergenic” often contained MI, thus emphasizing the importance of consumer scrutiny of product choices.

Interestingly it is parents using baby wipes on their children who are presenting with hand dermatitis, although it is likely that allergic contact dermatitis involving the groin in children may not be diagnosed accurately.”  Doctors blame the chemical for a massive surge in patients with rashes, scaling skin, swelling and eczema.

The preservative stops products going mouldy by binding to microbes, preventing the bugs from thriving. However, the immune systems of some people mistakenly identify MI as a threat, prompting an allergic reaction.

By Victoria Fletcher Published: 01:57, 7 July 2013

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