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Watch out for Methylisothiazolinone: A toxic ingredient

If you have been reading my blog, you must be aware that I have been facing an allergic reaction to 'something' for the past one m...

If you have been reading my blog, you must be aware that I have been facing an allergic reaction to 'something' for the past one month. I have been taking allergy medication to combat it while trying to figure out what it could be - whether it is some food that I am consuming or any topical application or even a sudden allergy because of the weather.

While reading up on the internet I came across an article about a preservative/antibacterial used in personal care products that triggers severe skin allergy in many people. The ingredient was - Methylisothiazolinone. Since the symptoms matched my skin allergy, I immediately took out all my skin care products and began checking the ingredients list carefully. And to my surprise and horror it was very much there in 8 products out of my regular stash. And these were products that I had been using regularly since the past month. Now, I wasn't sure if my allergies were because of this, but in any case I decided to eliminate all products containing this ingredient and check.

I am not going to list out all the brands that had this nasty ingredient in their products but let me tell you some of them are brands that I trust and expected them to be safe. Two of the products claim to be hypo-allergenic.

Methylisothiazolinone is used as a preservative in loads of skin care and household products including shampoos, face wash, wet wipes, intimate care products, hand and body lotion, soaps, dish cleaning liquids and even baby care products. Most companies claim that they use the product in a very low concentration and as such it is safe and does not pose a risk to the health of the end user. However, dermatologists estimate that one in ten patients they are seeing with eczema or dermatitis is allergic to this very preservative. This chemical causes rashes, eczema, swelling, itching and skin scaling. No wonder this ingredient has been restricted for use in cosmetics in Canada.

I am not very sure about the claims from companies that products with this ingredient are safe to use. The scientific community says that they need to research more about this, which translates into 'Stay away from it' for me. I am no scientist or researcher to validate or rebut these claims. But all I can say from personal experience is that when my immunity was at a low, this ingredient caused and aggravated skin rashes. I am now going to make sure that I do not purchase any products that contain this ingredient even if it means giving up on lot of products that I like.

So, here is one more ingredient to watch out for and now my quest for simple, organic and chemical free products is even more strong.

You can read this article on Telegraph for more information.

Update Dec 2013: My allergies have almost gone and I am back to normal. But I now ensure that I use natural products and those which contain less chemical nasties. I now read ingredients list more carefully and am trying to move onto products that are relatively safer.


  1. Great Tip Dear .. Will surely be reading that ingredient list more carefully from next time around :)

  2. Yes, its better to stay away from such chemical nasties as much as we can.

  3. I'm allergic to this too. Had really severe reaction . I've found body shop products to be free from this nasty

    1. I had suddenly developed intolerance to this ingredient and so stopped using any product with it. Now, my skin is back to normal. I keep a lookout now for this; in all products that I use.

  4. I read the information also on the internet, and I am trying to buy methylisothiazolinone-free products, but with intimate care products, it is not easy to find a replacement. Anyone have any tips?