From the Journals

Sensitizer prevalent in many hypoallergenic products for children


In a survey of products labeled as hypoallergenic for children, about half of shampoos and almost 44% of soaps contained cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB), a suspected sensitizer for hypersensitivity reactions in people with atopic dermatitis (AD) and allergic contact dermatitis, according to a research letter in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

A toddler holds a bar of soap Pirotehnik/iStock/Getty Images

In the letter, the authors, Reid W. Collis, of Washington University in St. Louis, and David M. Sheinbein, MD, of the division of dermatology at the university, referred to a previous study showing an association between contact sensitivity with CAPB and people with a history of AD. This was supported by the results of their own recent study in pediatric patients, they wrote, which found that reactions to CAPB were “exclusively” in patients with AD.

In the survey, they looked at children’s shampoo and soap products available on online databases of six of the biggest retailers, and analyzed the top 20 best-selling products for each retailer in 2018. Of the unique products, CAPB was found to be an ingredient in 52% (39 of 75) of the shampoos and 44% (29 of 66) of the soap products. But each of these products “contained the term ‘hypoallergenic; on the product itself or in the product’s description,” they noted.

“CAPB is a prevalent sensitizer in pediatric patients and should be avoided in patients with AD,” the investigators wrote. That said, it’s not included among the 35 prevalent allergens in the T.R.U.E. test, and they recommended that pediatricians and dermatologists “be aware of common products containing CAPB when counseling patients about their product choices,” considering that CAPB sensitivity is more likely in patients with AD.

The study had no funding source, and the authors had no disclosures.

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SOURCE: Cho SI et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 May. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2019.12.036.

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