Following the spate of allergic reactions that have been reported relating to the preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI or MIT), commonly used in bodycare products, the European personal care trade association Cosmetics Europe has now recommended its member remove the chemical from leave-on skin products.
The problem with the chemical was highlighted last year on a BBC Watchdog programme which investigated reports that MI was causing severe allergic reactions including itchy eyes, facial swelling, rashes and blisters in those using certain skin products including PIZ BUIN 1 Day Long suncream.
“This action is recommended in the interests of consumer safety in relation to adverse skin reactions,” says the association. “It is recommended that companies do not wait for regulatory intervention under the Cosmetics Regulation but implement this recommendation as soon as feasible.”
Martine Burford, co-founder of natural skincare company Ruby Red, comments: “It is encouraging to see this recommendation from Cosmetics Europe as MIT is an ingredient which has been known for some time to cause adverse skin reaction and I think it will further strengthen the case for natural ingredients. There is now a much wider choice of more natural preservatives which companies can use thus avoiding ingredients like MIT which was designed to extend shelf life but has no other useful or beneficial skin properties.”
Although several companies, including Vaseline, Johnson & Johnson’s PIZ BUIN, Nivea and Molton Brown, have announced that they will stop using the preservative, there may still be products containing the ingredient on shop shelves.