If you’ve arrived at this post because you’re looking for products free from methylisothiazolinone (MI) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI), please see the website Methylisothiazolinone Free, which has lists of safe cosmetics, make-up, household detergents, paints, pet care products and much more — as well as lots of other useful information if you have an allergy to these preservatives.
If you’re interested in the original post from 2013 based on the news story which broke of the increasing problem of MI allergy in preceding years, then read on.
The news is filled this morning with reports of increased problems with two preservatives found in many cosmetic products. The alarm has been raised by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), who this week will be presenting research highlighting an ‘epidemic’ of contact dermatitis to two chemical preservatives, Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) in the UK.
BAD say “It is their presence in personal care products that are causing most concern, for example moist tissue wipes, cleansers, shower gels, deodorants, shaving foam. They can also be found in household products such as washing up liquid.”
The preservatives are often used together, and past concerns about MCI/MI in Europe has led to reductions in the concentrations allowed in cosmetic products. Despite this, a team at the Leeds Centre for Dermatology say there has been a 6.2% rise in contact allergy to MCI/MI and MI over the last three years. Other dermatology centres have experienced rises too. David Orton, President of the British Society of Cutaneous Allergy, said that across the large patch test centres in the UK, data suggest that rates of allergy to these two preservatives are now nearing 10 per cent — and in some cases higher.
Both he, and Dr John McFadden, Consultant Dermatologist at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, are calling for the cosmetics industry to act immediately to protect consumers — rather than waiting for legislation from Europe, which could take years.
But not everyone is in agreement. Dr Chris Flower, of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CPTA) has stated that the response and concern is alarmist. He argues that the preservatives have been proven to be safe, and that the levels of the preservatives used by the researchers in patch testing is higher than the levels which would be encountered in everyday cosmetic use, and that therefore the numbers could be an over-estimate.
So where does this leave us?
At Skins Matter we don’t know of any natural or ‘free from’ cosmetic company which uses these preservatives, and in fact many of those on our radar have already taken to Twitter today to point out that they avoid them — such as Miamoo and Borealis Natural.
This story is about allergy not toxicity, so we don’t feel consumers specifically need to act unless they are experiencing some kind of reaction with their skincare routine which they have not yet got to the bottom of. In that case, patch testing may well be useful, but do see your doctor in the first instance. Our article on contact dermatitis may also help with taking steps towards a diagnosis.
MI: Problem Preservative
British Association of Dermatologists’ Press Release.
Telegraph news report.
Thank you! Very enlightening.
I have had some severe skin reactions this year (4 times). My eyes, lips and face have swelled to the point the skin cracks then peals off and I am left with hives/blotches for up to 2weeks after. After reading the times article I eliminated all mi, mci and another ingredient called PEG which was also in a medication I was using. I have had one reaction in the last 4 months which was when I used a particular liquid foundation. Upon investigating mci/mi was present in almost all of my ‘occasional use’ products, including a new shampoo. I now read every label and avoid these ingredients at all costs (literally). Sadly I have still to find a make up company that I can use
Sorry to hear of your problems, Liz. Have you tried NATorigin cosmetics (link via our site), or wholly mineral cosmetics? Alex.
Hi Liz! I’ve had the SAME issue as you for the past 2 months and have found ALL products with MI & MCI are my problem also! You had mentioned not finding a cosmetic that’s free is this ingredient…I found COVER GIRL and L’OREAL’s make up base free of it…although I haven’t read ALL ingredients on ALL of their other products. Hope this helps!!
Due to Rosacea problems and consulting a dermatologist it was suggested that my overriding problem was an allergy of some sort. Therefore, I had skin patch testing. The main cause of my redness and acne was in fact a very bad reaction to Linalool and Limonene which is in everything. Daily I was using john lewis cleaning products and literally quirting this into the air around me in bathrooms and kitchen. My face before contacting the dermatologist was as red as if the skin had been burnt and was so embarrassing that I felt it did not want to go out in public places. I am absolutely horrified on investigating just these two chemicals to find they are in everything. I am surrounded by it and no wonder my skin was reacting, and what this must be doing to my autoimmune system. Why oh why is this being permitted. It is in anything that is perfumed i.e. soaps, personal hygiene products including your toothpastes, washing powders, clothes softners etc, Baby products and toothpastes and baby wipes and yet they say they are safe for children. Absolute rubbish. The Government needs to do something about this along with the Methy??? products plus all SLS products, which is all even lip moisturisers. I was told that Dermatologists are overwhelmed with problems now, and cannot cope, because of these products, yet this is allowed to go on. What is this costing the health service?
Unfortunately linalool and limonene are natural constituents of many essential oils, such as the citrus oils, and it is unrealistic that citrus oils should be banned as they are natural and beneficial – if you don’t react to them, of course. Sorry to hear you’ve suffered so much, but there are fragrance free options out there, which don’t contain these fragrance allergens – there are some suggestions at the foot of our article here: https://www.skinsmatter.com/eczema_and_skin_conditions/pers_care_prods/articles/fragrances-gazzola-11-12.html – Good luck.
Incomplete information Alex…limonene and linalool oxidize when silubject to air and change to become quite string pitential allergens.
Oversimpliflification of a very impirrant cobtact alergen group!
So woukd you like some evidence based data or are you able to dig that up yourself? Happy to share
Not suggesting they’re not allergens, but most don’t react to them. Not quite sure what’s incomplete but if you want to post some data go ahead, that would be useful.
I feel your pain in the last four years our so I can not count the amount of reactions I’ve had thanks to the methyl stuff and now its seems limonene too, is disgraceful that these are being used in all products I’ve now got to try and find things without these in aswell as Benzyl Alcohol ?
atlmay smart shade mouse and eliz arden flawless finish does not have this preservativ e in them
Look at Ava Anderson Non Toxic. They have a small but wonderful make up line!
I use Luminess and I don’t break out only Matte type spray
I used these products years ago an never had this problem!! Pantene, Nexus & Bath& Body ,handsoaps etc… In the last 6 months to a year I’m using them again!!! Plus using $17 mascara from Sephora and I have been having the most horrible reaction !!!! Thanks for the info…I’m definitely allergic or companies are using to much!!!
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I had contact dermatitis patch testing and am highly allergic to this ingredient Methylisothiazolinone – a preservative. I’m also allergic to parabens, fragrance mixes 1 and 2, citral, metals and so on but what one person is allergic to another is not and it doesn’t necessarily mean that an ingredient is bad because someone or even a number of people are allergic to it, it just means its not good for the individual concerned and us allergic types are in the minority.
If you are allergic to this ingredient found in many skincare and household items, it probably means you are one of the small number of people who can’t use this ingredient compared with the many people who are probably absolutely fine with it.
When I had my patch testing I was using a natural organic hair gel with this in and was so shocked that this was one of the things causing my ongoing allergic reactions. I love the Liz Earle skin care range but can’t use everything and always obsessively read ingredient listings these days.
My colleague at work saw a recent article about a well known brand of sun cream – she loves it and hopes it isn’t discontinued, its one of the few she can use. Thanks skinsmatter sensible article as always 🙂 c
Thanks Jasmine for your comment. Yes, we quite agree that – in essence – ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. To continue the food analogy, we know that nuts are highly nutritious and mineral powerhouses for most of the population – and dangerous enemies to others, including many children. It’s good, on one level, that patch testing has at least identified very clearly to what you react, but obviously difficult having to avoid so many ingredients. There are lots of ‘free from’ skincare brands listed in our dedicated directory, so hope you find other potential products there: https://www.skinsmatter.com/links/links_skin/chemical_free.html
Thanks for commenting – Alex.
Hi there, just wish to add to the conversation. For 2-3 years I suffered with rash flare ups on my face & neck. As time went on the degree of severity increased until I had permenant red sore patches, with my eyes being so bad they were swollen near closed. A very thorough elimination of products didn’t seems to achieve much. Courses of topical steroid creams & oral antihistimed help slightly. Only on my persistence to my GP was I sent for extensive clinical patch tests. All procedures carried out & sure enough I had a positive reactions to the substances referred to in this artical. And highly aggressive ones at that. On the advise of zero contact with the chemical from then on, I have not seen a single symptom which previously caused so much distress & damage to my skin. I’m passionate about more needing to be done to take MI & MCI/MI out of products & believe more awareness should be brought to consumers. My allergic response started out so minor I put it down to a dry skin day. I think had I been aware of what may be going on I could have prevented the extent of my skins intolerance. It had been explained the accumulative use impacted on the severity of the reaction. Many people put there I’m sure are experiencing the same & like I would not think it is the skin care , particularly like me if you were already a user of ‘natural’ brands. I have found unless they are classified free from & 100% natural/organic, many brands are selling products containing MI…. Not just skin & body care either.
Thanks Lorna – very glad you did add to the conversation, as it gives us a genuine real-life insight into what was clearly a very difficult experience. It’s also interesting that you say you were using ‘natural’ brands which clearly must have had MI / MCI in them. I admit we’ve not looked intensively at the brands we typically deal with on SkinsMatter, although a lot of brands have since got in touch with us to claim MI / MCI status (which partly inspired our follow-up blog – https://www.skinsmatter.com/blog/?p=81). It’s something we are definitely going to look out for more, and will try to flag up if we spot. Thanks for sharing your story – Alex.
I’ve read this after researching MI after watching watchdog tonight and they reported on it. I’m off to doctors ASAP to be referred to dermatologist for skin patch tests – pretty sure this is the link after months and months of itchy, fry, flaky and painful skin and putting it down to having sensitive and dry skin. Something needs doing about these chemical – especially in baby products such as baby wipes!
Yes, their presence in baby wipes is obviously something that needs to be looked at. Thanks for the Watchdog tip-off, Amy – will try to catch up with the show.
pampers does not have this methy in then
Hi, after months and months of suffering with red inflamed, dry, flaking, cracked, sore painful split bleeding skin on my hands and constant visits to my GP due to steroid creams not working, I have these last couple of days been investigating myself as to why at the age of 39, I have suddenly developed severe eczema on my hands and have come across your forum and I am now 100% sure that I am allergic to this ingredient especially when you mention baby wipes. I have noticed these symptoms since having a baby, now 6 months old have now come to the point where I am in tears with pain and the other day after waking up with red swollen eyes which I could hardly open, was when I realized that I had used a baby wipe on my eyes the night before and it was about a month ago that I did exactly the same thing and woke up looking like I had been punch in the eyes. I have 4 other children between the age of 11 and 6 and with not experiencing this problem when I was using baby wipes with them that I didn’t think that I could be allergic to the wipes, although I am now aware I was using pampers and with this baby I have been using huggies but it is over the last few years that I realize washing up liquids and hand soaps have all been affecting my hands which I now find all contain this ingredient. Equipped with this new knowledge, I am now going to make another appointment with my GP to see if I can arrange to have a patch test as I cant live like this anymore, the only advice I have been given so far is try and not get my hands wet, like that is easy when you have young children and as for returning to work in September I cannot even hold a pen and already having to explain why my children writing in their own school reading record books. Teresa
Sounds awful, Teresa – you’re doing the right thing in pressing for tests from your GP. Have you managed to find some MI-free baby wipes in the meantime? Very best – Alex.
Be careful with “Natural” products also. 7th Generation, a “natural” product company has MI in some of their detergents. When I called and asked the company how they could be using a synthetic preservative in an all natural product, they didn’t have much of answer other than that is was cheaper than the sodium benzoate that they had previously used in the products. Just take heed when you see “Natural” on a label. ALWAYS look at the ingredient list, or do what I do, call the company and inquire. I have found that it’s very difficult and expensive to find products that I actually like and that work, such as hair and skin care products, and household cleaning products. AND, even the Huggies “Natural Care” baby wipes that I had used for over two years contained MI. I never thought to look at the ingredient list because it said “Natural”. I actually couldn’t wear my wedding rings because my fingers were so raw and swollen from the reaction. Lessons learned. It really sucks that just one moment of contact with these nasty man-made chemicals can wreak havoc on us, allergy sufferers, for weeks, months and even years after stopping the use. Thanks chemical companies!! And thank you for this forum. It’s refreshing to know that I’m not the only person suffering with this allergy. I’ve yet to meet anyone in person that has this affliction.
wow reading all of this makes me think i may to be allergic to the chemical, i currently work for a wet wipes facility in manufacturing for 18 years now and over the last 3 years have suffered from skin rashes and allergic reaction break outs due to what i believe handling of the wipes..i have taken excessive time off work in order for my break outs to heal up..when i return to work immediate break out happens again. now my dermatoligist has taken me completly out of the environment (off work) and after a dose of prednisone i have not had one break out its been almost 4 months now and still no break out,,i will be having more patch testing done to see if this is a possative cause for my allergic dermatitis
Thanks for the comment Marie, and sorry to hear you’ve had such problems – good luck with the patch testing.
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I have just got to the bottom of 4 months of unbelievable pain with my hands. They were dry, hacked and absolutely red raw, leaving it very tough to do anything without pain and very often bleeding. I have a daughter of 18 months and have been using Huggies baby wipes which has this ingredient, so, beware. When allergy tested, my reaction was so bad it blistered. I ask the question, why is something when can affect your skin so bad be and ingredient in “baby wipes” . I am so glad she did not have this allergy.
That sounds horrendous, Barbara. The harsh fact is that pretty much any preservative – and many other cosmetic ingredients – can cause nasty reactions if a particular individual is sensitised to it. That said, I do think, after a lot of bad publicty, that manufacturers will be looking to replace these ingredients from now on – which is a relief. If you need alternative baby wipes it may be worth having a browse through the brands in our ‘babies, kids and mums’ directory – as far as we know, none of the brands use MI in their products: https://www.skinsmatter.com/links/links_skin/babies_children.html
Best of luck and thanks for sharing your experience. Alex.
Look for “sans MI ” on highies wipes packagibg now in the label.
Sans = without
MI . Huggies had to make an ingredient change and label change AFTER a US citizen filed anlawsuit !
I have been suffering with a rash in the gluteal fold area for almost 3 years. I have been to several different doctors and told several different things. I finally went to the dermatologist in March. We have been working on this issue with high dose steroid ointments which clear up the rash but it always returns. Finally had skin patch testing done at the dermatologist. I had a small reaction to MI/MCI and we are re-testing for just that chemical. I found these preservatives to be in Cottonelle as well as Kirkland cleansing wipes, my shampoo, body wash and hand soap. As of this past weekend, I have quit using the wipes and have replaced the other items with brands that do no contain this preservative. I am praying that this takes care of my issues.
Really hope it does, Brenda. Let us know how you get on.
I am happy to report that since I quit using any products with MI/MCI in them, the irritation in the gluteal fold area has resolved itself. I am no longer on ointments to keep the irritation cleared up and reading labels like crazy to make sure that nothing that I buy has that preservative in it. Thankfully, I have not had issues elsewhere on my skin. I am sure there are many people out there that can tolerate this preservative, but I am not one of them and after almost 3 years of hell living with this, I am thankful that I have finally figured out what the issue was. I feel for those who have had and are still having issues. Contact or irritant dermatitis is hard to treat and it is even harder to figure out what is causing it. I pray that the rest of you still suffering with this, will get some results and be able to heal.
Excellent news, Brenda. Thanks for letting us know.
I have been suffering from horrendous dermatitis/eczema on my hands for over 14 months, I have been to see several specialists, some privately and some on the NHS, only yesterday did the registrar I saw recommend patch testing for MI/MCI and other substances that cause similar reactions. I had mentioned this to a private dermatologist about 8 months ago who simply told me to just use Hydromol ointment to wash with and to moisturise with…I have even been on an aggressive anti fungal course of tablets called SPoranox which made me ill. I have a 26 month old boy and strangely I can now connect the fact that I started using HUggies wipes (the supposed pure ones meant to be like water) when he was 12 months old and after that my problems began. Xmas 2012 I was almost disabled and unable to prepare any food as my hands were solo painful and sore and now I know they were infected and that I needed antibiotics. My hands are a little better, largely down to me stopping using HUggies and starting to use Aveeno lotion to wash with and to moisturise, although i still have eczema and flare ups and my hands are not exactly very nice to look at. I sometimes use antihistamines to stop very itchy days. I have recently started getting flare ups on my face (very distressing) some of the flare up is around my nose which has made my GP prescribe Daktacort for Seb Derm…last night I used Aveeno on my face and it strangely seems a lot better today. I am waiting for my appt for patch testing on MI/MCI and other things and so will let you know how it goes.
It’s a real minefield isn’t it. Sorry you’ve been struggling so badly with it all. Do let us know what happens – and very best of luck.
Just be careful using Aveeno products too! After patch testing I was found to be allergic to Formaldehyde and it’s many variations and Aveeno was one of the products containing hidden nasties! I have also just discovered that Aesop (a top selling and very trendy ‘natural’product in Australia) contains MI/MCI and I am shocked! I had eliminated all products with Formaldehyde, but started getting really bad contact dermatitis on my hands again. I started re-reading labels and through the process of elimination discovered that MI/MCI also gives me severe contact dermatitis!!! It’s a never ending battle to keep on top of all these nasty preservatives and scary when you think even so called natural and organic products contain them!!!
Thanks Mandy – we’ve seen Aesop here (it is available from some online outlets, I think) and had no idea it contained MI …. Just goes to show that even the more natural brands aren’t guaranteed to be free of them.
I was just wondering if anyone who has been patch tested for MI/MCI has also been tested for Linalool and Linolene as these are also supposed to be causing similar problems.
My patch testing us due on 10th February in the meantime does anyone know of a shampoo and conditioner i could use for my hair as Ive just checked and my Paul MItchell one contains both MI and LInalool etc…also anyone know of a washing up liquid…Fairy contains MI too.
We think all of the ranges listed in our ‘free from’ undesirable ingredients directories are free from MI/MCI (to the best of our knowledge) but some will have the fragrances you mention in them. We’ll ask around on Twitter to see if any manufacturers can confirm their products meet your needs … Let us know how patch testing goes – and good luck with it.
I’m a Esthetician of 15 years, who is now out of a career do to these ingredients. I developed severe contact dermatitis starting in October. I have worked at the same spa with the same product line the whole time. It started the same as everyone mentioned first small itchy bumps on my hands. Than completely out of control hands red, itchy cracked open peeling swollen! So severe I could not sleep at night and in severe pain at work. Working 12?hour days and at first not knowing having these ingredients continuously on my hands it just kept getting worse! After numerous doc Appt. I had a first patch test which showed up right away to Methylisothiazolinone/Methylchloroisothiazolinone I could feel the exact spot on my back as soon as I walked out of the office! I ended up at a occupational allergy specialist who tested further and did the North American patch test. I’m also allergic to fragrance mix II which has a many ingredients. All should be avoided! I can no longer be at the spa and be in contact directly or indirectly with these. Sooo out of my career!!! Never be fooled by “natural” products! You have to look at all products! The info needs to get out there!!! Thanks for your article!! Also do you know of any research going on about high exposure??? Also the line that I was using is Aveda!! So disappointing and that they have this in some of there leave on products…….. They are suppose to be taking it out of those leave on products only…..
That’s a huge shame it ended your career – very sorry to hear that. I don’t know of any ongoing research, but we do get to hear of it and will report on it on our site as and when we do. Yes, some of the natural brands – or brands often perceived as natural – can still have MI. And sadly yes – many are allergic to fragrances, whether natural or not. The most potent allergens all occur in nature … Thanks for stopping by, and wishing you well. Alex.
Hi Anne – user @afrobibs on Twitter suggested Bio-D laundry liquid – which has only botanical ingredients and no fragrance – and African black soap for hair. Very best – Alex
Oh my word, I wonder if this is what my husband suffers from. Again huge doses of Fexofenadine hydrochloride and even steroids have been his medication to relieve symptoms. Last Christmas we had to go to A and E as the side of his face, lips and tongue swelled up. He hates taking any sort of drug but it is the only way to relieve symptoms. I am going to ask for a patch test for him and examine all his shower/shaving products etc. of course we use Fairy Liquid too and you are right it contains MI.
I have never done a post before so not sure how this works but I hope you get it!
Yes, all worked! Patch test definitely the way forward. Good luck!
(There’s another reply to you below, Rachel.)
Alex, thanks for your note this is rather fun but I can see how it would be addictive!
Will def get him tested for Linalool too as others have suggested it has similar effects.
i had testing done and was serverely allergic tyo methylisothiazoline there are many products without this chemical
I have severe allergies to the methylisothiazoline and isothiazolinone also but have found that the Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner do not contain it, but it does contain the Linalool, but it is actually a good shampoo and conditioner that I can use…I am needing a keratin treatment on my hair because of over processing done at a salon , but haven’t yet to find one free of these ingredients…
I’ve recently been told that I have an allergy to methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone following patch testing done at the local hospital.
This was after months of misery trying to get to the bottom of what caused my eyes to have such a severe reaction. I couldn’t pinpoint it to any one thing and what started as a slight cracking of the skin and dryness in the creases of my eyelids turned into a full blown constant cycle of redness, severe itching (I could quite happily have scratched and scratched the skin round my eyes til they bled!), puffiness and then dryness again. This went on for months and months and I tried excluding certain foods from my diet and changing washing powders, shampoos, creams etc etc.
It would make sense that it was a common hidden ingredient in many items I was using, hence why elliminating one thing at a time wouldn’t make any difference.
Over the last few months I’ve noticed flare ups getting less frequent and lasting shorter periods of time anyway, but having discovered this I’m being careful to steer clear of anything containing these ingredients.
I switched over to Organic Surge products some months back and found them to be quite gentle, so was dismayed to find this as an ingredient in three of their products. I contacted their customer services and expressed my disappointment and concerns and really pleased that they responded to inform me that they would be removing both ingredients from all of their products. So check them out – they do a lovely range of skin creams, shower gels, shampoos, hand creams etc.
Very interesting about Organic Surge, as it’s the first ‘free from’ / natural cosmetic company we’ve heard of that uses MI. Very interesting to hear they’re reformulating – thanks for letting us know – and hope you’re problems are disappearing.
Yes thanks my skin issues do seem to be much better than they were.
I also contacted Elemis a few days ago regarding what products contain these ingredients and was pretty dismayed to find that it was in a good number of those that I’d been using regularly. They sent me a full list of which products contained Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone – would this be of interest to you to put somewhere on the website? I could email it to you if you’d find it useful.
Perhaps more interestingly was this bit at the bottom of their email:
“Elemis will continue to monitor the situation very closely with the CTPA but in light of this new information, Elemis has now taken the decision to actively formulate MI out of products over time and will no longer be formulating with this preservative in the future. ”
Which I thought was great and perhaps in response to my email and comments, but after doing a little further digging I found the almost same stock response to someone back in October last year… so … mmmm. Perhaps not so much in the way of progress!
Would certainly like to look at it, at least, please, Rosie – please do forward if it’s not too much trouble: https://www.skinsmatter.com/about_us/contact.html
Things can move slowly with cosmetic companies, and reformulation is very costly, so I suppose some companies are reluctant. Though I suspect Elemis can afford it!
I am so sorry about your husbands problem and I definitely think that you should seriously consider this as a potential cause. I have been struggling for absolutely ages and as I said have been on varying medication from steroids to Sporanox to antibiotics many times. Ive tried every single steroid cream too, things that used to work don’t any more. The only thing that works for me is ONLY using Aveeno body lotion to wash with and to moisturise with. I also can only use Oilatum shampoo as most others have stuff in it that aggravates.
You want to look at Linalool and Linolene which masquerade as plant extracts on packaging (hence all my Clarins stuff in the bin now). If you don’t stop using absolutely everything it will not get better. I accidentally washed my hands 2 days ago in our cloakroom and picked up a liquid hand wash in there (Baylis and Harding) and I am still paying for it now, the soap was on my hands for seconds, so it shows how potent this allergy can be. Good Luck and I send my sympathy and understanding. Anne
Hi Anne – do you mean linalool and limonene? Both are fragrance compounds which do occur naturally in plants. Both are fragrance allergens. I believe they can be produced synthetically, but this shouldn’t really make a difference from an allergy perspective – if you’re allergic to limonene, you’ll be both allergic to it in plants, or if made in a laboratory.
Indeed just looked at all the products that are in our house that my husband uses, same soap as you, he has Head and Shoulders shampoo,we use fabric conditioner, Fairy Liquid, Vanish on collar and cuffs, the list goes on. If this proves to be his problem annoying though it is it would explain everything.
I’ve been using a body wash product, which claims to be organic and natural, as a hand wash. It also claims to be safe for children. The skin on my hands has started peeling off in sporadic patches. I’ve just noticed the product has Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone, so I googled them and found this page. I’m clearly having a reaction to the product. All other ingredients are natural, besides dimethicone and I can’t find any links to dermatitis-related issues with that, only that it causes a coating that blocks pores, causing acne.
Hi Sarah. It’s important to stress that most allergens are safe – unless you’re alllergic to one or more! Peanuts are a nutritious food for most – but can kill a small few. So a company claiming ‘safety’ is just doing so on the back of previous research which suggested these ingredients are safe for use. Another thing we would advise is to get patch tested, rather than self-diagnose. It could be a fragrance allergen in the product rather than MI, for example. Diagnosis / testing can not only help reassure you, but also potentially discover other sensitivities, and you’ll be able to see an expert who can advise on other products. Do you have the name of the organic / natural brand you mentioned? You can email us if you prefer. Thanks – Alex.
Hi Alex, thanks for replying.
The product is an all in one shampoo and body wash called Organic Care. It’s an Australian brand. I was fine with it until I started washing my hands with it. I was previously using it only for shampoo and occasional body wash use. I think the more frequent usage has caused the problem, as I am now using it several times a day instead of every other day.
A patch test is a good idea but would that work if it is related to the frequency of contact with whatever it is I am reacting to?
Best wishes, Sarah
HI Sarah – ah, maybe that’s why we haven’t come across it – although there are lots of very good Aussie and NZ brands here (eg Antipodes, QSilica) who’ve done well in our Awards before. A patch test should be effective irrespective of whether or not you’re in contact regularly with the product or not. It’s different for some food sensitivities (eg tests for coeliac / gluten intolerance – where you need to be consuming gluten), but with this I think it should be fine. Hope you get it sorted – alex.
I’m now using Reece and Jackson organic baby wipes after ditching Huggies, I am using Surcare Washing up liquid although I always use gloves anyway (not taking any chances though). I get both of these from Sainsburys. I can’t tell you what a vast improvement I have noticed since I stopped using Huggies baby wipes. I was in exactly the same position as Theresa (in tears with pain and virtually disabled). I had suffered from Eczema previously though so I thought it was just an unfortunate reoccurrence and that my hormones were all over the place after the baby. Its incredible the change since I cut out Huggies and Fairy liquid and sadly my Clarins moisturiser. I am due for my patch testing on the 10th February.
Thanks for the Jackson Reece wipes tip, Anne – we’ll let our readers know.
Apologies I did mean Limonene not Linolene (got Lanolin on the brain!!) .Skin care is no different to other products such as health supplements they can call them natural and organic but they can still be really bad for you! My advice to anyone in the state that I have been in is to cut out everything while waiting for patch testing. I am almost 18 months now and have almost had to work this out for myself as the GPs and dermatologists excepting the last one were pretty useless!
Has anyone had a problem with small itchy lumps on the skin. I had a skin biopsy done which showed I have a rare form of hives, which appear on my arms shoulders and neck. They are incredibly itchy and painful and I have seen skin specialists and allergists and taken hundreds of drugs and they keep on coming. No one can help me. I am seeing my GP on Wednesday to ask for skin patch tests for MI. I found a site that shows that Pantene, Tresemme, John Freida products have MI and I have used all of these in the years since I got my HIVES!! Has anyone else got a hive type reaction?? Please help, I am itching to death!!
Check your laundry detergent and softener, betting you’ll find it there. Softener is the worst, it stays in the sheets of your bed.
Sue, I very much (in my non professional opinion) think your so called hives will be to do with MI, I am in the middle of patch tests after suffering really badly with split hands (thats an understatement). My hands were almost disabled due to the splits and cracks at the end of my fingertips. This went on for roughly 18 months until we read a newspaper article about methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone. I was using Huggies baby wipes ten times a day (for my one year old) and we noticed this ingredient was in them. I still didn’t believe it as I had paid privately to see a dermatologist after seeing the GP numerous times. Anyway one day I saw another dermatologist who talked about methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone immediately and so I stopped using everything apart from Aveeno cream, I washed with it and moisturised with it and hey presto I am so much better. I had 120 patches put on my back on Friday and I am due to go back to the hospital today. 11 very obvious allergic reactions have appeared and 2 are very bad! I am also being tested for allergies to Clarins moisturiser and other things, Linalool and Limolene are other known irritants. If you’re using Fairly Liquid this will also be making your problem worse as I used it just once last week and I am still paying the price for it (I only washed a cup). Fairy Liquid contains MI. It took a while for me to realise I had to totally strip back everything I was using. I hope you find a remedy.
So, I completed my patch tests today and the results were an outstanding and glorious reaction to methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone, more so the first than the second, the result was a little blurred as the reaction to methylisothiazolinone had spread so far down my back it was hard to tell whether it was both or just the one that I had reacted to. I was also allergic to Linalool and Limonene, my Clarins multi active day cream also came up as an allergic reaction. Colophonium (Rosin) came up as a bad reaction too and this is from the Sap of Pine trees and used in Adhesives such as plasters and bandages, chewing gum, mascaras, lipsticks, eyeshadow, nail varnish etc…even nappies and sanitary towels!
P-Phenylenediamine also came up which is used in hair dye!! And last but not least Neomycin which is an antibiotic found in creams, ointments, ear drops (Otomize ear spray) and eye drops.
So the list was long, oh I was also allergic to Clinique Red skin solution creme and their blusher.
If only I had known about the serious adverse retain to methylisothiazolinone 2 years ago, I could have avoided years of pain and loads of steroids and antibiotics and endless money wasted on creams and dermatologists who actually never mentioned methylisothiazolinone… I have since found a great washing up liquid called Surcare (available in Sainsburys) and I use Aveeno creme to wash and moisturise with. I use Jackson Reece baby wipes and I will continue to review all of the products I own to see which contain these irritants.
Its been a long slog for me, and Ive been treated for everything from Seb Derm to Infection… it takes ages to get an appointment for patch testing but in the meantime I suggest cutting out everything with methylisothiazolinone in it and you will be amazed the difference it makes. Fairy Liquid is the worst for me and Huggies baby wipes were the second, I also had n expensive Body Exfoliator from Clarins which I found out contained MI.
You will be amazed how many products contain it and even though regulation will probably reduce the amount that companies are allowed to use on their products, once you have shown an intolerance you are likely to react even at small levels of this ingredient.
Phew indeed, Anne. Amazing story – but glad, finally, that you are getting it sorted. Am sure your experiences and tips will be of huge use to many visitors who read this blog post (and we get thousands of hits) in months, even years, to come, so thank you very much on behalf of us all!
As one who prefers to soak rather than shower, the “leave in” option is rather moot. I chose a good body bar but my shampoo was giving me whole body exposure regardless.
Thank you for the informative article. It is alarming that e-commerce companies like cocooncenter.co.uk still sell (as special offers) products that contain these very same ambiguous and allergenic preservatives. Biocyte Hyaluronic Fluid Lifting Effect, has both Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone AND no mention about allergies. I almost purchased this product. Thank you!
Thanks for the comment, m g. As the law stands, they don’t need to make any statement about allergies … it seems to be the case that natural/organic products are likelier to be free of them, but as some have said upstream, even these can occasionally contain them …
Thank you for letting me know about Aveeno. Its okay at the moment but I can’t imagine only being able to use that forever….how boring. Ive had a flare up on my left hand this week and I have no idea whats causing it.Its good to keep sharing the information. My reaction to MI is still raging on my back where I had the patch testing! Happy Days!
Yes it’s a mine field and as consumers we are too easily sucked in by companies using the terms “natural” and “organic”. As my dermatologist pointed out to me, arsenic and uranium are both “organic”!!!!! Don’t be fooled and don’t believe everything you read.
I’ve been allergic to the stuff since 2006 when I became sensitized to it via La Mer face cream. I’ve been running a Facebook page to help others and to collect info for a couple of years now.
What I’d like to share first is that there really is some validity to the 10% claim, meaning it’s accelerating to over ten percent of skin patch tests now http://www.businessinsider.com.au/commonly-used-baby-wipes-are-causing-dermatitis-in-australians-2014-3 The numbers keep rising, country by country.
Second, while it does generally affect people first who are sensitive or have a history of dermatitis, the cumulative effects of multiple source or heavy exposure is affecting other populations. The early testing of the chemicals never took into consideration that people would be barraged by it all around, from the paint on the walls to the gel insoles of their shoes, from hand soap in public bathrooms to fabric softener and shampoo. People on my page are even reporting reactions to toilet paper and we are finding it’s used in paper processing.
Finally, this is a lifelong reaction that is debilitating for many people, beyond just a simple rash. The misdiagnosis is rampant; people have posted that they were told they have lupus, were put on heavy steroids, etc. Others have lost their ability to work in their field, such as hairdressers or people who work with paint thinners. We simply must get this out of all manufacturing. It IS a toxin, if you read the scientific literature. That’s how it kills bacteria. It’s a nerve toxin. It is affecting frog populations, for example.
You can see some horrific photos and stories that people have posted here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Allergy-to-Isothiazolinone-Methylisothiazolinone-and-Chloroisothiazolinone/307128722674171
Thank you very much for your attention to this issue, please help us continue to be heard.
And thank you for such an informative comment – we’re still learning about this too, and your comments have taught us a lot. We’ll try to spread the word further on social media, and will check out your FB page as well. Thanks!
After gall bladder surgery, it was much easier to resort to baby wipes for more frequent bathroom visits. After a few months, I came down with a severe rash. My Dr. referred me to a dermatologist, who said she had seen a lot of recent cases of these type of rashes, because of Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone in most wipes. I just saw today that there is a company called seventh generation that sells Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone free baby wipes, which I will try. Just wondering if anyone else had tried these with good results. Also, has anyone had any success with a certain type of body wash that may be free of Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone? Thanks.
I had serious sunburns when I visited a friend, so I decided to get a sunscreen and a whitening cream to even my skin. I settled for SkinWhite after recommendations but just after 2days of using it, I noticed tiny itchy rashes on my back and arms. .obviously my skin was reacting to the cream. I had to search for every ingredient used for the cream on the internet. So far, I have no doubts these are the chemicals causing the rashes. I just threw the SkinWhite with it’s Renewhite3C and Vitanourish formula into the bin. I can live with the sunburn, I just have to prevent any other burn.
Skin Matter – Just wanted to say that I first read about potential allegic reactions to these ingredients in this post.
However, this company which uses these ingredients in quite a lot of their products has one product with your “free from skin care awards logo”, this said product does not contain Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone but a lot of their other products do. What’s your view about this companiy’s products containing these ingredients?
See your logo here: http://www.urbanveda.co.uk/purifying-exfoliating-facial-polish
Other products wiht these ingredients http://www.urbanveda.co.uk/purifying-exfoliating-facial-polish
Hi Mac – did you mean to paste a different link in the second instance?
Urban Veda’s product which bears our logo was entered into our Awards, and its ingredients passed our criteria. MI / MCI weren’t actually excluded under our criteria this year, although we may well add them next year.
Our understanding is that the preservatives should now be removed from leave-on products, but are still permitted at low levels in wash-off products. It’s up to individual companies whether or not they wish to carry on using MI in wash-out products, or look for alternatives.
Companies who use ingredients not permitted under our criteria are still very welcome to enter their products which do.
I’ll drop UrbanVeda a line and ask them if they’d like to comment on the matter.
Hi Mac and Alex,
Yes that’s correct, our Purifying Exfoliating Facial Polish, which has been shortlisted doesn’t contain MI or MCI as as it’s an emulsion-based (creamy) scrub. The products that contain MI and MCI are the remaining ‘wash-off’ products which have a higher water-based content than the creamy ‘wash-off’ scrubs, this includes our daily facial washes, body washes and body scrubs.
The MI used in our three ‘wash-off’ product lines is included at very low levels: 0.0002% – 0.0003% which is far below the 0.001% level that is permitted. We do not use any MI or MCI in ‘leave-on’ products which has been implicated causally in the rise of allergies.
We have decided to reformulate our facial washes, body washes and body scrubs, and the new versions are in the process of being tested in our lab.
From now on we’ve decided all new products we develop will only use preservatives (as they are legally required in any product containing water) that are authorised for use by organic certifiers, such as the Soil Association or Ecocert; although we are a natural brand and not certified organic, I think that abiding by the highest standards, even if your products aren’t certified organic, is the only way forward. I hope that this has answered your question and if you have any questions, please do email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Wren Holmes, Manager; UrbanVeda
I was wondering if anyone has had experienced hair loss and feel it could be related to these two ingredients? I began using a well known leave in hair heat protection spray to protect my hair from the effects of blow drying etc. Just noticed it contains these ingredients but is touted to strengthen hair as it contains keratin. My hair is falling out and im terrified…
Hi Gayle – we’ve not heard of any reports of these preservatives being linked to hair loss. We’d advise you to see a trichologist or GP. Hope all goes well – SM Team.
I used heat protection spray and shampoing last month (Tresemmé) and i lost 50% of my hair and still losing them… !!! im going to see the dermatologist this week.
Sorry to hear this, Chantal. Hope the dermatologist can help.
Just stumbled across this great forum whilst Googling the list of things I have a contact allergy to. After suffering (almost to the point of wanting to end it all) for about 12 yrs off and on, some bright spark doctor suggested I get a patch test. The results show Methylchloroisothiazinoline, methylisothiazinolone which I would like to share with all fellow sufferers can also be disguised under other names including BRN 1210149, EINECS 247-500-7, Kathon CG 5243 just to mention a few. Also, it can be found in not only cosmetics, but pet care products, paint, cleaners and garden products. So be very aware. I can so relate to all the previous blogs about the insane pain and discomfort caused by the itching, swelling and cracks to the skin. Unless you have experienced it firsthand you can not imagine how insane it can drive you. Also if you are suffering get checked out for Formaldehyde and Isothiazolinone intolerances as they too are very common in cosmetics and a whole range of other household products. Hope this may help someone. Finally just keep looking for answers, there will be one! (or two or three…)
Sorry to hear you’ve suffered, and thanks for the tips!
Yes, indeed. Four years ago I was also tested and thought I had found a shampoo. Now, all of a sudden this shampoo is breaking out my hairline and face/neck and I’m on fire every morning. Looking at the ingredients, I don’t see it, but it couldn’t almost be anything else. I wonder what I’m allergic to now! And, the MI/MCI have other names. So, you can never know for sure! Argh.
Do get patch tested again, Kathy – reactions change, sadly, and you can develop new sensitivities.
In the last couple of years I have noticed my forehead and scalp getting more and more itchy and red, plus there is quite a lot of flaking. I thought this might just be dandruff, but none of the appropriate shampoos seemed to work. I then saw the item on Watchdog, which got me thinking about dermatitis and MI and similar chemicals. Avoiding certain products does seem to help a bit, but it doesn’t always give you a proper contents list, so my head itches now after using a L’Oreal product which doesn’t appear to include MI or similar, but who knows?
I shall try to use a different washing up liquid and soap, and no softener as these all seen to contain the dreaded isothiazolinones. What a battle as even the so called natural products seem to have it in them.
Perhaps I should get a skin test too, as even the nose is starting to get a bit flaky now. Maybe some of the moisturisers also contain MI. Oh dear. What to do?
All cosmetics must include full ingredients list – so if it’s not on the ingredients, it should be free of the ingredient. Softeners and fabric conditioners do all seem to contain MI or rleated chemicals so we’re trying to find some currently that don’t! The natural products do use them, but many, many natural products use synthetic preservatives of other kinds too (phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin) – it’s just that this one happens to be very sensitising. I really would advise getting patch testing done – it’s the only way to be sure what you may be reacting to. We’ll be covering MI again in our next newsletter, out in a couple of weeks – or else the month after. Good luck – Alex
The last week of July I broke out in a rash in patches on my arms, neck and legs after being in the sun paddle boarding. I thought maybe I had a reaction to my sun screen which I used immediatly after shaving my legs(but doesnt explain arms and neck). The rash worsened over a few days blistery, oozing, then even cracking. My skin was lookig very agaed overnight. I had thought maybe it was food related. I had eaten an organic fig then immediatly I started itching around my ankles. That weekend I was in the sun one afternoon; returned home ate another fig then I broke out ll over arms, legs and chest again. This went on for about a month before I decided to see my GP. My GP took pictures and sent to Dermatology becuase of the areas it was affecting they decided it was Photodermatitis. Gave me a steroid cream to releive the itching, it was like a magic eraser. It cleared up, but then left my skin looking pigmentated white blochy spots. But then it only lasted about a week (I had purposely stayed out of the sun wearing long sleeves pants etc…) I broke out again but only on my neck (ok maybe not 100% covered). The first weekend in Oct I woke up with my eyes very red all around and swollen, along with very dry skin, which kind of remined me of cradle cap on my babies, It was dry all around my eyebrows and eyelids. I made a visit to the Dermatologist. She said it was Exzema and that was my cause of the problem, gave me another steroid for my face “protopic”. Then said if it doesnt clear up in a month we could do a patch testing. I left her office then emailed her and expressed I didn’t want to wait another month already battling with it since July. I am a very “Clean” eater I follow a Paleo style diet staying away from any packeged preservatives wheat flour etc. We did the patch test last week and as soon as I left I could feel an area on my back irritated. Completely taped up not able to scratch. Anyway it turns out that I am allergic to the Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone. I came home shockd to find it in almost nearly everything I use. I am waiting to hear back from a few companies to know if it’s in certain products. Household cleaners do not list ingrediets on the package. My hair gel, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, facial cleansers, moisturizer, and even my Dish Soap has it in it. I’m Thankful it hadn’t effected my hands as I am a Sign Language Interpreter and that would have been all bad. I feel for those women who had to quit their jobs due to the products. I am still battling with the rash on my neck I have a couple of exzema red rashy spots that feels irritated. My question is I am wondering if because of this allergy using these products that being out in the sun was a toxic trigger for me? I am praying that I am not allergic to thesun “Photodermatitis” I do alot of outdoor actvities. I will be saving alot of money on buying expensive facial cleansers and mositurizers. It is amzing to me that I have been using these products for years and had never been affected until this summer.
We’re not experts so we really can’t answer the question about photodermatitis – this really is one for your dermatologist.
MCI/MI/BIT causes its own allergy, it’s not really an allergy per se but rather a state of being “sensitized” from exposure which can trigger a lifelong state. You just hit the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
On a whim I chose not to buy my usual Fairy gel tabs but instead chose Bold 2in 1 . It has taken me a couple of weeks to work out why my body is covered in large welts/hives that are itching like mad. Doctors Antihistamine tablets were proving to be useless. Then I realised that MI is in the fabric softener. Wearing my clothes and sleeping in the linen was making it worse day by day. At the very least a warning that MI is an ingredient should be in large letters on the front of the packaging. All this misery for something that should be banned. See the e petition to sign and have the question raised in parliament
Posted by Moyra Wight on November 3, 2014 11:52 AM
Have you had a definitive diagnosis of MI allergy? It is worth it to make absolutely sure, although if it’s the only ingredient different to your usual product, then the indications seem that way. We’re undecided on the issue of banning MI. While we recognise the dreadful reactions some have to it, it is important we have lots of preservatives at our disposal to use. Banning one narrows the selection down. If we continue down that road, we will eventually be left with very few, and that risks further problems. We see both sides of the argument, and it will be interesting to see how this develops.
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Hi Alex, thanks for these valuable and serious comments that keep on coming for the entire year 2014.
My husband had a bad reaction costing much money, time and pain over two years from using Huggies .
I now read the ingredients carefully but recently I bought ICYHOT mentholated cream to treat my husbands sore arthritis in his big toe– he broke out into a rash that initially looked like athlete foot but did not respond to antifungals and his GP reommended prednisone which cleared up the rash in 3 weeks. Finally I then looked up the ICYHOT gel on the internet and found it DOES CONTAIN MCI/MI!!!! It is manufactured in China and the latest rule from the Federal Drug Administration FDA is that over the counter meds no longer require to lists the inactive ingredients. However, FDA has a list of a few exceptions such as alcohol needs to be listed for those who are alcoholics for example. We those who are sensitive to MCI/MI certainly want that listed!!! I will contact the FDA and let them read all the complaints here over the year 2014 —
That does seem a silly exemption – you’d think for allergy purposes all ingredients would be listed. Good for you for writing to the FDA.
I have had a rash on my left arm that has grown progressively worse for at least 6 years. The cortisone either didn’t work or made things worse. Found out some cortisone has nickel in it. I am allergic to nickel. If you have problems wearing jewelry – earrings, necklaces, rings, etc. , you may have a nickel allergy. Nickel is often the alloy in gold, silver and other metal. You won’t know what they use, because the foundry doesn’t usually report it. Metal tests on the jewelry can sometimes tell you. My skin tests showed I am allergic to CL+ME ISOTHIAZOLINONE and Methylisothiazolin. Found in a lot of cleaning products, shampoos and conditioners, skin care products, etc. I have been googling as much as I can. Prescription drugs haven’t helped, but I use Aloe Vera in a tube from Whole Foods that seems to help. Also, ice packs.
talk to your Dr about triamcinolone. I use .5 strength. Cetaphil hand lotion is MI/MCI free and works great. For over the counter shampoos, I have found 2 kinds from Garnier Fructis that don’t have it either. Other than that, I have found no others. I hope that helps. Good Luck.
Thank you for this … after 30 years of dermititis on my hands I finaly did an allergy patch test and yes showed up for MCI and Nickel and Neomycin. … Dr suggested I was allergic to money as I work with cash every day.
now to elimination ….
Since having my daughter 3 years ago, I started having dry, splitting fingers and hands with tiny blisters. It would come and go and I thought it was just the air living in a new state. After moving back, it started getting worse. My hands would split so bad and bleed. I couldn’t use lotion or get them wet without severe pain. I was given multiple ointments and expensive lotion suggestions from doctors. It never really helped. Last year I was finally able to get an allergy test done.
It turns out I am severely allergic to MI/MCI. That was June 1st 2014 and I still have the square mark on my back with 6 blister scars from the reaction.
I have learned what does and doesn’t work in my every day routine, for the most part. Not all baby wipes list in on ingredients. The new package I got doesn’t have it listed, but highly irritates my hands. i use none latex gloves for dishes to protect from dish soap. Cetaphil hand lotion is MI/MCI free, but the face lotions aren’t.
At night, when I have an irritation, I put .5 triamcinolone on my hands and sleep with cotton gloves. If they are just getting dry, I use the lotion with the gloves. It’s made a world of difference.
I have noticed when my hands start to get irritated, my face breaks out like teenage acne. It doesn’t matter what I use, I haven’t found a solution to that. Starting to see a bit with a new facial cleanser called cleaner clean and using a facial scrubby that does not go through my laundry. I can not use a wash cloth on my face. My skin starts to peel away from my face in large scaly patches of dry skin.
My biggest issue is finding affordable makeup. Some Physicians formula is ok, but not all.
I happened across this site while researching make up and just wanted to share.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. MI should be listed on ingredients, so if you’re still experiencing reactions, it could be an allergy to something else in addition to the MI. Natorigin make-up has terrific ‘free from’ properties – we link to it in several places on our site.
Help, just had a severe flare up on face after painting a newly plastered room. My husband who works in chemical industry figured out what had happened. I would like to know… How long should I leave it before going back into the newly painted room and can anyone suggest a paint that doesn’t contain Mi’s?
We’re not sure the answer to this, sorry, Sarah. Do speak to a doctor, but certainly air the room fully until you can no longer detect the smell, at the very least. We will look into mi-free paints at some stage, we hope.
I have had a severe reaction to my face for 3 months – just probably tracked it back to
a – decorating over Christmas with Crown paint ( sanded down several times so lots of dust in the air)
b- putting on Nivea ( white bottle ) just worked out that my new bottle of Nivea has MIT in it but the old one does not
this explains why I had difficulty trying to work out what the catalyst was – as I was just making things worse, Good news is I wont be doing the washing up any more………. ( yes we had Fairy as well )
It is now reported in PubMed articles that MI is eliciting lung respiratory issues in surfaces painted with latex emulsions as every single interior latex emulsion paint in the US
Utilizes MI/MCI as the preservative mildewcide/ fungicide. It has shown potential to take 40-46 days to complete it’s off gassing potential so depending on your prior sensitization , you may be reactive to painting interior areas . Search paint/MIT MCI MI BIT / respiratory, and do not let anyone clean your car air conditioning system. BIT benzothiazolinone is contained in air conditioning system dogger cleaners at a high percentage .
After suffering from “excema” for 2 years, I was patch tested and was positive for MI/MCI. After spending the night at my mothers on three separate occasions, I woke up in the morning with swollen eyes and face, very painful. This does not happen at my home. The room that I was sleeping in had been painted with a semi gloss paint about 3 months before. This is the only thing that I can think of that could have caused this horrible reaction. I have heard of the “off-gassing” lasting as long as 42 days after drying, but this had been about three months; can it last longer? Also, do you know of any paints that are MI/MCI free?
That sounds very grim, Liz. I’ve heard of these symptoms lasting longer than 42 days, but not sure how much ‘proper’ scientific research has been done. I would ask to see a dermatologist / allergist – your GP should be able to help. There is a list of a few MI-free paints on the Mi-Free.com site – http://mi-free.com/household/methylisothiazolinone-free-paints/
all the best,
Hello, I suffer with water type blister on my fingers and elbows and also appears on the top of my legs. I have been prescribed a strips cream by my doctor which seems to keep it under control. Over the last couple of months I have stated to get sore tash on my chin and eye lid. I have found that the steroid cream gets rid of it but then as soon as I stop using it it flares up again. I changed my face cream from Clarins last year to Clinique which is the 3 step face wash, cleanse and cream. I don’t wear make up . Any ideas
Hi Korine – we’re not doctors at Skins Matter so can’t suggest what could be the problem in this case. We can only recommend you see your GP and ask for allergy / patch testing, or to see a dermatologist. Best wishes – SM Team.
Hi Korone, I have always found Clinique to be very harsh and drying. I am allergic to MCI/MI but I am finding Liz Earle makeup very comfortable. Hope this helps!
Hello chaps! I had patch testing a couple of years ago which revealed an allergy to MI. I ended up leaving my job because my hands just got completely ruined by the constant hand washing and sanitising (I was a hospital domestic)
Over the last 2 years iv managed to find some brands clear of this nasty preservative. Hope they help Some of you!
*Body shop products
*Ecover- fabric conditioner, washing up liquid and household cleaner.
*L’Oréal elvive shampoo and conditioners (double check as I came across an old bottle which did contain it)
*Tesco and Aldi own brand baby wipes.
*Imperial leather shower gels
And last but not least my saving grace..SANEX SANEX SANEX!
Lets work together my lovelies and get this nasty banned for good!
Take care all of you.
Thanks Hannah. Not everyone agrees it should be banned, and we’re not sure about this either. Trouble is, if you keep reducing the available preservatives, the others will get used more, and this may increase allergies to those. It’s a balancing act. The golden rule has to always be – read the labels!
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I have been using Tresemme shampoo and conditioner (luxurious moisture for dry or dull hair) and it has been fine but this year at the end of March I woke up one morning and my pillow was full of my hair. I really did panic and being stressed did make me think this was the reason. I stopped some of my medications to see if they were the cause but up to this day I have lost so much hair I am starting to lose the plot mentally. After much stress I decided to Google this hair product and found this site and I’m so glad I did. I am now going to go out and buy some different hair products and see if this is the reason why I am losing my hair. My hair is everywhere but where it’s supposed to be, on my head! Thank you so much to everyone that has posted. when my hair started failing out, after shampooing and conditioning with Tresemme I did notice my head was feeling really hot and itchy and the tops of my ears were burning and hot…my face is also more puffy that even my Doctor cannot explain. I am now wondering if Methylisothiazolinon etc is the major cause of my problems. Thanks for this site.
Hi Debs. It’s important you do push your doctor to refer you for allergy testing and other investigations because hair loss can be caused by various things. MI may certainly be involved in some of your problems, but there could be more than one issue – do return to your GP! Hope all works out well – Skins Matter team.
Just had patch testing Monday and 48 hours later, no reactions to anything. Could it take longer to react? Since I have given up this chemical my dyshydrotic eczema on my hands is so much better. Definitely allergic to Cottonelle wipes.
I think they say 72 hours, or even 96? Whatever your consultant says, really – we can’t guess.
Oh my god, the same thing is happening to me ! I was jusing Tresemme Platinum Strenght shampoo/conditioner and the Heat protective spray ! Im losing all of my hair (approx. 100/day)
The same thing is happening to me right now! I don’t have much hair and really don’t want to loose it all how am I going to make his stop????
Thanks…I have an appointment with a Dermatologist on the 22nd of June so will ask for an MI and MCI test to see if this is the problem.
I also have an appointment to see an Endocrinologist in July so as to rule out anything else.
Been reading up on the internet and apparently this stuff is in lots of products and I can only link my hair loss starting with trying a new toothpaste called Sensodyne Repair & Protect Whitening…I will be switching back to my old brand and see if my hair loss stops.
Could this also be getting in to our systems through toothpaste?
Will update when I have more info.
Thanks for this site. x
I’ve never come across MI being used in toothpaste. Good that you’re seeing the experts this month. Good luck.
Just wanted to know please, if people that appear affected by methylchloroisothiazolinone methylisothiazolinone stop using products that contain these preservatives, how long does it take before your body is completely free from them. Thanks
I’m not sure studies have looked at that, specifically, Debs. Imagine it’s quite quick, but the effects last longer – varying between individuals.
Hi, I was diagnosed a couple of years ago with an allergy to MI and MCI, following patch testing. Last week, I opened my own hair salon and the day I opened, I came up with a huge rash on my neck and face. The next morning, my eyes were swollen. I went straight to my doctor to get some steroids. I have had this rash continuously since and it has now spread to my arms. Everything is so itchy. I have no products containing MI/MCI and wonder if it could be the paint that has been used. Is there anything that can be done if it is the paint or will it neutralise in time? Getting desperate but can’t abandon the business in week two, can I?
We have heard of some cases of reactions to MI in paints, so it’s feasible, but you ideally need to see a dermatologist. Could be worth checking which paint was used.
What do you expect? Why is everybody is so shocked by allergic reactions to man-made chemicals?
It is absolutely perfectly logical that man-made/invented chemicals (found nowhere in nature) to which the body has not been exposed for 40,000 years are toxic/allergic to the human organism.
This is how capitalism mostly works.. the sale of useless worthless products which are not really “needed” and which add no value, at exorbitant prices.
So if you want to subscribe to capitalism, then LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES and stop complaining.
There is nothing for nothing in life. A little allergy is a small price to pay.
And don’t forget, the same applies to all those lovely man-made pesticide chemicals all over that lovely ‘perfect’ looking “fresh” produce you buy at the supermarket which lasts for weeks.
So eat up, and work on that cancer. It’ll take your mind off the allergy.
Afraid there’s no particular ‘logic’ to allergies. The most prevalent one in the food world are to ‘found in nature’ foods such as peanuts, nuts, milk, wheat and eggs, and not to artificial preservatives or additives, and plenty of man-made chemicals are completely unreactive and never cause allergies – for instance, plastics. MI fulfils an extremely important purpose – one of preservation – and it is cheap, so your capitalism argument appears to have little foundation. By its nature (killing bacteria etc) it seems it has created a problem for a minority of people. Those people have a right to air their experiences and ask for help, and it is our job as an informational resource focusing on allergy and natural skincare to advise them as best we can. Thanks – the SM Team.
A product I use has had these ingredients removed. The new formula now makes the skin around my eyes sting. It was perfectly fine before.
It really is worth getting patch testing to determine which ingredients you may be reacting to. As MI is a preservative, it could be the preservative system that has replaced it in the product. It’s also worth asking the manufacturer precisely what they changed … What’s the name of the product?
I am looking for a hair dye free of MI and MCI. My dermatologist issued a flyer with products free of these ingredients, and listed Clairol Loving Care as safe to use. However, when I could not find it on the shelves, I called Clairol and discovered they have discontinued this product. Is there any other hair dye product free of MI and MCI? Thank for any comments.
Our article listing a number of products is here, Kay: https://www.skinsmatter.com/eczema_and_skin_conditions/hair-care/articles/ppd-alternatives-08-13.html
Kay, I too am allergic to MCI. Mi
I have my hair colored by my hair dresser. It is a temporary color washes out around 8 weeks. It is Shades e Q by Redkin. We couldn’t see that it was listed as an ingredient. I have had no issues with it. I am allergic to the Bed Head products and Big Sexy Hair products, some of The Wella products don’t have MCI or MI and Kenra Volume Spray , Kenra Color maintence Shampoo and conditioner I am fine with too. Paul Mitchell awapuhi blow out spray also is fine for me. I found out through skin testing what I was allergic to then cleaned out all my products. All my facial care from Beauty Control that I was using had it but then I switched to tier Skinlogics line and found it to be free of the MCI Mi I honestly feel that Dove or the Nuetragena facial bar is just as good.
More info than you asked for but there you go. Good luck
I use Dove Sensitive skin on my daughter and haven’t had any issues. We used to use Free & Clear soap but the Dove is less expensive & seems less drying. She has eczema & is allergic to MCI/MI.
My problems started over 7 years ago. I developed a horible rash in my genital area. My GP was stumped. From there I went to my gynocologist. They told me I had Herpes, which I knew was impossible, but they wouldn’t listen. They gave me medicine which made it even worse. The skin blistered cracked dryed up and fell off in huge amounts. They sent me to an infectious decease docter, who basically told me it was my imagination, and I should avoid anxiety and scratching the area, that this was causing the irritation. Anyone who has gone through this would know it’s not your imagination, and not scratching is almost impossible. I thought I’d lose my mind. I read an article about MI, and cut it out of everything. I have changed my TP and soap to ones that state they are MI free, however, although the blisters and rash have stopped, I am still going through random bouts of itching that only steroid creams can provide a small amount of relief for. The skin drys up, and peels off in large amounts, but never seems to heal. It lasts for weeks. I am now concerned that there has been permanent damage done to the skin cells . My GP is the best, but seems to know very little about this very embarressing problem. I will be going to have further allergen testing to see if theres something else I am not aware of in my soap and toilet paper that I have a problem with, and if not, I guess I’m back to square one.
Jet, from what you have described, it sounds to me like you may be suffering from an allergy to formaldehyde and/or formaldehyde releasing agents. I was patch tested 10 years ago (in USA) and diagnosed with the allergy, after years of going nuts (mentally & physically) with health issues such as you’ve described – as well as many other mind boggling changes to my skin (head to toe) and mucus membranes. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you get tested for Formaldehyde allergy. I could go on forever writing here … but if you do end up having this allergy, there are SO MANY thing/items you need to avoid in the future (chemical name/brand name wise) … a very broad variety of items … ranging from sanitary napkins to tampons, soaps & detergents, toilet paper, powders. Those that I’ve just mentioned are just ones I can think of that come in direct contact with the genital area. I empathize and feel for you regarding your situation & wish you the very best of luck and relief in finding a solution! Best Regards.
Currently i’ve switched to a shampoo which the company claim that it’s gentle, silicone free and safe to use for adults, pregnant women and even children.
I’ve searched its ingredients from the internet. But i’m so confused. Here’s the list : Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Methylaminopropionate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Rasarugosa Extract, Panthenol, Citric Acid, Frangrance (Parfum), Methylcholoisothiazoline, 2-Methyl-4-Isothiazolin-3-one. Are these ingredients safe to be used as it contain Methylcholoisothiazoline. Is it safe for children to use as well? Because i did give my children to use it and so far they are ok.
All ingredients in cosmetics are safe if you don’t react to them or need to avoid them for any particular reason. If you don’t have MCI / MI allergy – then they should be fine if that’s what the manufacturer claims.
Having severe allergies to preservatives such as potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, including migraines and stomach problems, I went for a more natural shampoo, Organic Care, believing this to be a better option.
After three months of sporadic migraines, sinus problems, and vomiting it finally dawned on me that these bouts of illness corresponded to my hair washing regime. In fact, within an hour or two I would be bed ridden with little relief from pain killers.
As my diet is extremely restricted due to my further allergies to sodium bicarbonate, I could not figure out what I was eating to create such a reaction. Normally it takes two days for the migraines set in from food and we were baffled with the symptoms considering my very carefully laid out die.
I also suffered an uneven scalp from what I thought was dandruff build up but couldn’t figure out why as my diet is very simple and I should not have it but put it down to stress.
It was during a very painful 12 hour migraine that I rolled over and clicked that the last time I was like this was when I washed my hair last and having investigated the preservatives in this ‘organic’ shampoo it is with some relief to know that I have found the source.
Thank you for your article, I’m grateful to know that these ingredients are the problem and I now have the ability to go reasonably pain free with this knowledge.
My daughter spent months with a horrible diaper rash which we eventually found out was caused by her baby wipes. Even when we switched wipes, the rash still persisted for a few months. She also had a reaction to sunblock when she was 2 years old & she ended up with a skin infection from scratching. When she had allergy testing done, we found out she is allergic to MCI/MI (which was in her wipes & sunblock) & we are very careful to avoid it. She is 5 now & I send her own soap & hand sanitizer to school with her. It’s nice to see that there is more awareness about it now because I had never heard of it before.
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I have recently been diagnosed with an allergy to MIT after nearly a year, I having trouble finding a suitable washing powder, I have tried several organic & non bio ones without MIT but I’m finding that my clothes & bedding make me itch, my latest purchase was Bio D this is also making me itch, any suggestions please
There’s a listing of MIT-free laundry products here: http://mi-free.com/household/laundry/ – I’m afraid it’s likely to be a matter of trial and error, but fragrance free options are a good starting point.
Has anyone been diagnosed with systemic contact dermatitis to MI/MIT? I’ve had difficulty swallowing, rashes etc and wonder if it is to do with MI/MIT in the air?
After suffering a couple of years and random swellings on different parts of my body I ended up in resus with my tongue severely swollen and restricting my breathing. Luckily steroids brought it down. Was then patch tested and diagnosed as extremely allergic to MIT, PPD in hair dye and limonene. After cutting out the products swellings disappeared but a year later they’re starting up again if I come into any accidental contact. Prednisolone reduces the swellings but it’s a never ending task to remember not to touch/use things when out and about. GGggrrrr!
MI/MIT is found in paint. A few years ago I had my bedroom wall painted with a mixer paint. The MI/MIT content was so high I had to evacuate my bedroom for approx 6 months until I found out what I could do about it as painting over it or just wallpapering wasn’t enough. I contacted B&Q to ask them they said it wasn’t their paint so couldn’t help so I contacted the paint company who didn’t have a clue what to do apart from suggest I pay someone to redecorate which is what I did but I had the wall painted with a blocker paint to block the fumes then wallpapered. The reaction I had was bad, my eyes and lips were so swollen I looked as if I had a botched BOTOX injection. My breathing became laboured and my throat and chest were burning from breathing the fumes. I didn’t realise that it was from the paint initially someone from work had watched a programme on TV about MI/MIT and its affects. I have to be careful now and I check everything plus my partners also as if he uses it then I have contact with him, believe me the results are very painful indeed. Fairy non bio detergent has it in and just had a reaction to that on my partners 5 year olds clothes. Having allergies sucks and I get so frustrated having to read every new product before I buy but hey there are people out there worse off so I just get on with it and make sure I carry my antihistsmine around me in case of a reaction, I find Piriton the best.
That really is grim, Dawn. Here is some info on MI-free paints: http://mi-free.com/household/methylisothiazolinone-free-paints/
Thank you, that’s much appreciated.
Update: It is 12 months since I gave up the organic shampoo with these ingredients that was making me so ill.
I did not know it would take me nearly 12 months to recover. In that time my hair has grown 10 inches, is no longer falling out and has thickened considerably. I allowed my hair to find its own balance and only wash when needed and then with tree nuts.
Before I was getting migraines every 7 to 10 days and it normally takes over 3 weeks to recover so I was not recovering before the next one was hitting. I have had only one severe migraine and it has lasted a day instead of 5 and I am so grateful for this change.
Once I thought I was dying and now I have the opportunity to regain control of my body.
Thanks again for the article, it made such a huge difference to our lives.
I am having contact dermatisis since a year.First it hit me on the ear only then i started using vlcc facewash which contained 3 preservatives including MI.My skin was Glowing,pores were tight,No acne .But after a month of using i found i was getting super dry pates of dermatisis on eyes,jaw,ear.Then i stop using this facewash and it slowly goes away.But now problem is my skin is again attacked by small acne(black and whiteheads) and open pores.What should i do to get the same results by facewash with alergies or any irritations.
It’s very difficult to advise. Have you tried fragrance free options? I would take advice from a dermatologist and perhaps consider further patch tests to determine whether you have any new sensitivities.
Personally, I would look at why you are getting the acne first before selecting a suitable product.
This should assist in locating one that is more suitable to your body’s needs.
To me, open pores are an indication that the skin is trying to breathe therefore you may have a toxin buildup which is contributing to the condition.
What you are using dries out your skin and gives the appearance of closed pores and may be covering up an underlying health condition.
As I am now highly allergic to most preservativds and additives, in food and other products, I go as natural as possible and this has been a massive help.
I would suggest you speak to natural healh practitioners as well as your GP to look at why you need these products then look at what is best for your skin. 😊
Good luck with your journey. 😊
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I am a man who does not wear makeup or use skin care products.
After a patch test I am shown to be highly allergic to Methylchloroisothiazinoline and Methylisothiazinolone.
I seem to be more reactive to these when I am sweating. I am a Automotive service technician.
So my question is…
Are these chemicals used in the Automotive industry?
Yes, definitely used. I would suspect any cleaning agents or other wet fluids. Oils are probably safe.
But the point about sweating is very interesting, as this is often related to metal allergy – nickel, cobalt and perhaps chromium. You’re bound to be in contact with lots of metals, but they can turn up in strange places (not applicable to you, but eg chromium in cement) and chemicals. Did any metals show up in your patch test?
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I have always said “there is something in this house that makes me itch”. I patch tested allergic to MI after developing allergic dermatitis. Now I suspect it is the paint as I have discovered the product I have used for 35 years to paint and re-paint my house contains MI. Have used All Free and Clear for many years. Upon contacting the company I was told “while we don’t intentionally add MI to our products, we cannot guarantee them to be free of MI”. Does MI linger in clothes after washing? If so, how do I get it out of my washing machine and clothes? I’m still trying to eliminate products that could be causing this awful dermatitis. Thanks to anyone who replies.
Hi Kathy. Most paints sadly contain MI. There are some MI free ones (https://mi-free.com/household/methylisothiazolinone-free-paints/). It can linger in traces in clothes if you use non MI-free detergents, but there are many safe options (https://mi-free.com/household/laundry/) and the trick is to not overload your washing machine so irritants get rinsed out. Add an extra rinse cycle too. It should get washed out quite quickly out of clothes. AF&C probably say that out of caution, but it’s possible an ingredient they are supplied is preserved with MI and not declared. There’s a lot of help on the dedicated MI-Free.com site. Best wishes, SM team.