Allergic reactions cause many cosmetics to be pulled from shelves
Preservatives found in makeup can cause rashes, lumps, blisters, itchy eyes and facial swelling
Violent allergic reactions from an additive found in many cosmetics have caused some products to be pulled from shelves. The preservative, called ethylisothiazolinone, or MI, can cause rashes, lumps, blisters, itchy eyes and facial swelling. In one extreme reaction, physicians feared that one woman would have trouble breathing without immediate medical attention.
Marie Goldie, 37, of Glasgow, who was on holiday with her partner and two teenage children in Tenerife, Spain, was taken to hospital days after she started using Piz Buin 1 Day Long.
Johnson & Johnson says that the product "contains only permitted ingredients at levels well within EU standards set by regulators."
"Many substances in our daily life, including ingredients in cosmetic products, may cause irritation in some people with a particular sensitivity.
"This applies to MI, a preservative used to protect products from spoiling, which is found in many consumer and household products. We are continuously seeking to improve the effectiveness and consumer experience of our products.
"We have stopped using MI in new leave-on products, and existing leave-on products are being reformulated over time."
Molton Brown is removing the chemical from its products from this month, along with such big brands such as Nivea, L'Oreal, Clarins and Sanctuary.
Doctors warn that if the tainted products continue to be offered in the marketplace, adverse reactions to the chemical could reach "epidemic proportions." One British woman on holiday had her skin became so inflamed that she spent two days in a Spanish hospital and needed steroids and antihistamines to calm the allergic reaction.
Designed to extend shelf life, MI has no useful properties for users of the products.
The percentage of allergic reactions to the product have been alarming. Dermatologists expect an allergic reaction to a cosmetic product of one or two percent, but clinics say the rate for MI has been more than 10 percent.
"The frequency of reactions to MI is unprecedented in my experience," Leading dermatologist Dr. Ian White, from Saint Thomas' Hospital in London, said. "We've never seen anything quite like it. Contact allergy to this permitted preservative is now of epidemic proportions. Immediate action needs to be taken by industry."
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