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Eczema Irritation from Preservatives in some Lotions and Creams

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If you have eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, there are some lotions and creams you may want to avoid. A recent study found that people with eczema using certain moisturizers with preservatives called "formaldehyde releasers" were more likely to have an allergic reaction than people without eczema.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The study tested 2,500 people for allergic reactions to selected moisturizing products. There were 342 people in the group with eczema.

“After a battery of individual allergy tests, the eczema group was more likely to have a reaction to preservative chemicals: quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol,” reported Reuters.

However, eczema patients were not more sensitive to parabens, formaldehyde or diazolidinyl urea, which are not formaldehyde releasers.

It surprised the researchers, Cristine N. Shaughnessy BS University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Donald V. Belsito, MD, of the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, New York that the patients would be more sensitive to formaldehyde releasers than to formaldehyde itself.

They told DermatologistsBlog.com, “We suspect this is because formaldehyde is now infrequently used as a preservative in personal care products, and therefore patients are less frequently exposed to it.”

Reuters also interviewed Michael Dyrgaard Lundov, a senior researcher at the National Allergy Research Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark who was not involved in this study.

Lundov explained that although parabens are used quite often as a preservative in cosmetic products, they are not potent allergens so do not typically cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Lundov went on to say that eczema patients "should be advised to treat their skin with ointments, which are unlikely to contain antimicrobial preservatives."

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.