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Clin Exp Dermatol. 2018 Sep 21. doi: 10.1111/ced.13767. [Epub ahead of print]

Prevalence of potential contact allergens in baby cosmetic products.

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Depatrment of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Department of Dermatology, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cambridge, UK.


Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is an increasing problem in children. We sought to investigate the extent of haptens or contact allergens present in baby cosmetic products. Computer programming scripts were written to web-scrape UK supermarkets and pharmacies. In total, 438 unique 'baby products' were identified, and constituent ingredient information was extracted. Data were cross-referenced against 10 standardized patch test reference series. We found that 88% of products had at least one reference contact allergen. There was a mean of 2.21 (range 1-15) reference allergens per product. The most abundant compounds were parabens, fragrances, cetyl/steryl alcohol, methylisothiazolinone, sodium lauryl sulfate and lanolin alcohol. Branded products and those marketed as 'sensitive/gentle/organic/fragrance-free' appeared to contain a greater number of reference allergens than those not marketed as such. This study highlights the increasing number of cosmetic products targeted to children in the UK, and the extent of potential allergens present in these products.


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