Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Parabens named ‘nonallergen’ of the year



– With propylene glycol already declared 2018 Allergen of the Year in a published journal article, the news at the Allergen of the Year session of the American Contact Dermatitis Society was announcement of the 2019 pick, parabens.

From a skin perspective, parabens are “perhaps the safest” preservative, but despite that they have a bad public reputation Donald V. Belsito, MD, said in his Allergen of the Year talk during the Society’s annual meeting held the day before the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

There is an unfounded public perception that parabens cause endocrine disruption. Naming parabens the “nonallergen” of the year for 2019 is an effort to dispel this myth, Dr. Belsito said in a video interview.

The public prejudice against parabens, exacerbated by many products that tout being paraben free, has helped cause a crisis because preservative systems in general have been under attack and facing restrictions. Dr. Belsito cited European limitations on the preservative methylisothiazolinone (Allergen of the Year in 2013) and withdrawal of formaldehyde (2015 Allergen of the Year) from many products.

Dr. Belsito also highlighted why propylene glycol received the nod as 2018’s Allergen of the Year (Dermatitis. 2018 Jan/Feb;29[1]:3-5). Propylene glycol is a very ubiquitous emulsifier found in cosmetics, foods, and both topical and oral medications. Caution is needed when running a patch test on the agent to distinguish an irritation reaction from an allergic reaction. Interpreting the test result correctly is very important, said Dr. Belsito, professor of dermatology at Columbia University in New York.

Parabens is the 20th Allergen of the Year named by the Society, an annual event since 2000.

Dr. Belsito has participated in the program since its start.

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