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Allergenic Ingredients in Facial Wet Wipes

Aschenbeck, Kelly A. BS*†‡; Warshaw, Erin M. MD, MS†‡§

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000268

Background Allergic contact dermatitis commonly occurs on the face. Facial cleansing wipes may be an underrecognized source of allergens.

Objective The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of potentially allergenic ingredients in facial wet wipes.

Methods Ingredient lists from name brand and generic facial wipes from 4 large retailers were analyzed.

Results In the 178 facial wipes examined, a total of 485 ingredients were identified (average, 16.7 ingredients per wipe). Excluding botanicals, the top 15 potentially allergenic ingredients were glycerin (64.0%), fragrance (63.5%), phenoxyethanol (53.9%), citric acid (51.1%), disodium EDTA (44.4%), sorbic acid derivatives (39.3%), tocopherol derivatives (38.8%), polyethylene glycol derivatives (32.6%), glyceryl stearate (31.5%), sodium citrate (29.8%), glucosides (27.5%), cetearyl alcohol (25.8%), propylene glycol (25.3%), sodium benzoate (24.2%), and ceteareth-20 (23.6%)/parabens (23.6%). Of note, methylisothiazolinone (2.2%) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (1.1%) were uncommon. The top potential allergens of botanical origin included Aloe barbadensis (41.0%), chamomile extracts (27.0%), tea extracts (21.3%), Cucumis sativus (20.2%), and Hamamelis virginiana (10.7%).

Conclusions Many potential allergens are present in facial wet wipes, including fragrances, preservatives, botanicals, glucosides, and propylene glycol.

From the *University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis; †Department of Dermatology, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, MN; ‡HCMC Parkside Occupational and Contact Dermatitis Clinic; and §Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

No reprints available.

Corresponding author: Erin Warshaw MD, MS. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts to declare.

This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The contents do not represent the views of the US Department of Veterans Affairs or the US Government.

© 2017 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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