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A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2002 April;137(2):117-22

language: Italian

Preservatives in skin care products as a cause of allergic contact dermatitis. Study on 2924 patients undergoing patch tests

Giusti F., Neri F., Miglietta R., Seidenari S.

Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia Clinica Dermatologica


Background. Biocides represent, after fragrances, an important cause of contact allergy to cosmetic products. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence and the features of sensitization to 5 preservatives: formaldehyde, methyl(chloro)isothiazolinone, parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, and methyldibromoglutaronitrile/ phenoxyethanol.
Methods. From January 1999 to December 2000, 2924 patients with suspected allergic contact dermatitis were patch tested with 46 haptens, including the ones of SIDAPA series. Patients reacting to the biocides were investigated about the characteristics of the dermatitis, the personal history of atopic dermatitis, the test results and their clinical relevance.
Results. 291 subjects (9.9%) (mean age±SD = 39±20.6), 108 men and 183 women, responded positively to preservatives. The site that was most frequently involved was the trunk, followed by the hands and the face. The highest rates of responses were found to methyldibromoglutaronitrile/ phenoxyethanol (4%) and, in decreasing order, to methyl(chloro)isothiazolinone (3.2%), formaldehyde (2%), parabens (1.1%), and imidazolidinyl urea (0.8%).
Conclusions. Our data are in accordance with prevalence values previously reported in literature, in particular they confirm the high frequency of sensitization to methyldibromoglutaronitrile/ phenoxyethanol, and the decreasing trend of methyl(chloro)isothiazolinone.

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