Most of us have reached for a wet wipe at least once to help clean the inevitable daily messes. Effective, convenient and portable, it’s no surprise that people both young and old include them in their daily regimen. For all of the convenience, however, there is a good reason to be wary when using wet wipes on a consistent basis.
Methylisothiazolinone (MI, for short) is a powerful biocide and preservative that prevents microbial growth in many personal care products including shampoos, lotions, cosmetic products and, of course, wet wipes. It was named the 2013 contact allergen of the year by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. While MI is used in very low concentrations and generally not a cause for concern, it can cause an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis for those who are sensitive to the compound. The first reported case was an 8 year old child who presented with red, itchy, crusted and fissured skin around the mouth and perianal area. The child was misdiagnosed with eczema and treated ineffectively for almost 11 months. Once the wet wipes were pinned as the cause and their use discontinued, the condition cleared in a matter of days. Contact dermatitis from wet wipes can cause a reaction in both children and adults.
If you or your child starts to exhibit these symptoms, it is important to discontinue wet wipe use immediately.