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Prevalence of Contact Allergens in Personal Care Products for Babies and Children

Bonchak, Jonathan, G., MD*; Prouty, Megan, E., MD; de la Feld, Salma, F., MD*

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000348

Background Personal care products marketed for babies and children are often regarded as “safe” or “gentle.” However, little is known about the prevalence of contact allergens in these types of products.

Objective This study assessed the prevalence of important sensitizers in personal care products marketed for babies and children. A secondary objective of this study was to determine whether a product's cost correlates with content of sensitizing ingredients.

Methods The ingredient lists of 533 unique personal care products were analyzed for presence of fragrance, betaines, propylene glycol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, formaldehyde, lanolin, and neomycin. Price per ounce was determined for each product as well.

Conclusions Most personal care products for babies and children contain 1 or more sensitizers. Products containing more sensitizers tend to cost less than those without any sensitizing ingredients.

From the *Department of Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA; and †University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City.

Address reprint requests to Jonathan G. Bonchak, MD, Department of Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, 1525 Clifton Rd, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30329. E-mail:

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

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

© 2018 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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