Review of aluminum, paraben, and sulfate product disclaimers on personal care products

Walter Liszewski*, Abu Jaafar Zaidi, Elise Fournier, Andrew Scheman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Product disclaimers listed on personal care products face limited regulation. These disclaimers may be helpful or may mislead the public. Objective: Review the evidence supporting the potential harms of 3 compounds commonly addressed by product disclaimers: parabens, aluminum, and sulfates. Methods: Reported cases of adverse events to these compounds were identified. Trends in allergic contact dermatitis reactions to chemicals used in place of these compounds were also identified. Results: There is limited evidence that parabens and aluminum pose a threat to human health; there is even less evidence that topical sulfate-containing products pose a danger to consumers. In the setting of paraben avoidance, there has been a steady increase in cases of allergic contact dermatitis to preservatives that are more allergenic, specifically the isothiazolinones. Limitations: Assessment of the toxicology of these compounds is ongoing and may change with new data. Conclusion: There is limited evidence that parabens, aluminum, and sulfates used in personal care products pose a health risk. There is evidence that avoidance of parabens has resulted in an epidemic of allergic contact dermatitis to isothiazolonine preservatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1086
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • ACD
  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • antiperspirants
  • carcinogens
  • chemistry
  • contact dermatitis
  • dermatitis
  • formulation sodium lauryl sulfate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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