Allergy to Moistened Wipes Causes Rash of Problems

Some increase levels of a chemical known as ‘MI’ by 25 times, allergic reactions soar

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) March 2014 — A rash of new allergies is leaving some dermatologists flush with new patients, and it all stems from an issue in the restroom. A growing number of Americans are using pre-moistened toiletry wipes with a preservative known as “MI” (methylisothiazolinone), and a growing number are experiencing painful rashes because of it.

“We’ve seen a significant rise in people who are allergic to it,” said Matthew Zirwas, MD, director of the contact dermatitis center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “I can’t even begin to tell you how miserable these patients are. They’re walking around 24 hours a day with this rash equivalent to poison ivy.”

Zirwas says MI is a common preservative that’s used in everything from liquid soaps to shampoos to conditioners. The difference with those products, however, is that you rinse them off. “With these and most other wet wipes, you don’t rinse,” he said, “so there is residue that remains on the skin and causes problems in some people.”

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