Baby wipes cause surge in contact dermatitis

In a letter to the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers from the Skin and Cancer Foundation in Melbourne said the preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI) is now the most common cause of allergic contact dermatitis seen in their centre’s patient population.

They reported that positive reactions to MI patch tests increased from 8.4% in 2012 to 11.3% in 2013. This was compared to just 3.5% in 2011 when they first started including MI in their baseline patch tests for allergies, following an increase in cases reported in Europe.

“Interestingly, it is parents using baby wipes on their children who are presenting with hand dermatitis, although it is likely that allergic contact dermatitis involving the groin in children may not be diagnosed accurately,” said dermatologist Dr Jennifer Cahill. 

Co-author and dermatologist Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon said: “This epidemic, and I think it’s fair to call it that,