Preservative in some baby wipes can cause allergic rash, study finds

Baby wipes are meant to reduce rashes and itchiness in children, but it turns out that some wipes may be doing the opposite.

According to a study published in Pediatrics, researchers argued that a preservative called methylisothiazolinone (MI) found in many wet wipes can cause acute contact dermatitis – a localized rash or irritation of the skin, CBC News reported.  The study’s authors said these irritations are often misdiagnosed as eczema, impetigo or psoriasis.

"Dermatitis of the perianal, buttock, facial, and hand areas with a history of wet wipe use should raise suspicion of [acute contact dermatitis] to MI and prompt appropriate patch testing," wrote Dr. Mary Chang and Radhika Nakrani of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, Conn.

In their study, Chang and her colleagues detailed six U.S. children who had been diagnosed with acute contact dermatitis as a result of MI in wet wipes.  The allergies were confirmed with MI patch tests, and all the reactions cleared up quickly once parents stopped using baby wipes.

The researchers also noted that many baby wipes undergo extensive testing and typically don’t cause reactions in babies.

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