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.
- allergic contact dermatitis
- contact dermatitis
- formulation sodium lauryl sulfate
ASJC Scopus subject areas