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Potential Allergens in Disposable Diaper Wipes, Topical Diaper Preparations, and Disposable Diapers: Under-recognized Etiology of Pediatric Perineal Dermatitis

Yu, JiaDe MD; Treat, James MD; Chaney, Keri MD; Brod, Bruce MD

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000177

Background Allergic contact dermatitis in young children may be an under-recognized cause of perineal dermatitis. The diapered infant skin is uniquely susceptible to allergic contact dermatitis because of more permeable neonatal skin, a moist environment, frequent contact with irritants and resultant skin barrier breakdown, and exposure to topical products such as diaper wipes, diaper preparations, and disposable diapers. To our knowledge, potential allergens in these products have not been thoroughly catalogued or studied.

Objective We explore and review potential allergenic ingredients in diaper wipes, topical diaper preparations, and disposable diapers.

Method We analyzed 63 diaper wipes, 41 topical diaper preparations, and the 3 top selling diaper brands available from two of the largest retailers in the United States. Each potential allergen is discussed, and epidemiologic studies of rates of sensitization to potential allergens in children are also reported.

Conclusions Botanical extracts, including members of the Compositae family, were the most commonly represented potential allergen in both diaper wipes and topical preparations. Other potential allergens identified with high frequency include α-tocopherol, fragrances, propylene glycol, parabens, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, and lanolin. Frequent culprits such as formaldehyde releasers and methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone were not prevalent in our analyzed products.

From the *Department of Dermatology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; †Section of Pediatric Dermatology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and ‡Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Address reprint requests to Bruce Brod, MD, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Civic Center Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail:

This study was supported by a mentorship grant from the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2016 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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