One of the most commmented on blog posts I have done recently was the one on the preservative combination of methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone. But I was surprised by the number of people who have written in to talk about their experiences.
I already knew that there were a lot of people who are sensitive to this particular preservative system, but I hadn’t reckoned on them being so motivated to share their stories.
When I thought about it, it occurred to me why. All but the very smallest personal care companies keep careful records of all the skin reactions that get reported back to them. If an ingredient, lets call it A irritates 0.02% of users while B irritates 0.01%, then you are going to get twice as many complaints when you use A as when you use B. So not surprisingly you switch to B. Given that all the companies are doing the same thing, over time there is a tendency for the least sensitising ingredients to be used most. When it comes to preservatives this is a particular problem. It isn’t just that preservatives are more prone to cause irritation, there aren’t that many of the approved for use. The EU has a list of around 40. But a lot of them are not suitable for any number of reasons leaving about a dozen that get used regularly. We are all looking out for the ones that give the lowest level of reactions, so we end up with nearly every product containing either parabens or the azolinones.
While this is perfectly understandable, it does mean that if you happen to be sensitive to one or other of these widely used options you are going to be severely limited in what products you have available to you. So I am going to try and do something to help. I have set up a page on my blog where I intend to list products that are free of methylchloroisothiazolinone. I am not sure exactly how well this is going to work, so I hope you’ll bear with me as I try and get the format right. I am more than open to any suggestions from people of products that they have used. So if you have anything you’d like to contribute just pop a comment below.