Following discussions with dermatologists, the European cosmetics industry has assessed the available information regarding the risk of allergic reactions to the preservative methylisothiazolinone, also known as MI or MIT, and agreed that this ingredient should no longer be used in leave-on skin care cosmetic products.
This recommendation is an important step and comes following dermatologists reporting an increase in cases of allergy in their clinics to this preservative. Changes to the Cosmetics Regulation, which governs the safety of cosmetic products and the preservatives that can be used, is likely to follow in due course but, ahead of any legislative action, the cosmetics industry has decided to promote this recommendation through the European Personal Care Association, Cosmetics Europe. It is asking all cosmetics companies to make the change as soon as possible.
Formulations will take some time to change and people who know they are allergic to MI/MIT should avoid any cosmetic containing this ingredient, whether leave-on or rinse-off. This can be done by checking the ingredients list which every cosmetic product must have either on its carton, pack or label, card etc at point of sale. The name will always be listed as methylisothiazolinone, regardless of where in Europe you purchase your product.
If you suspect that you have had a reaction to a cosmetic product containing MI, it is best to contact your doctor or medical specialist so that you can be referred for patch testing by a dermatologist. Do though also contact the manufacturer (contact details, often including customer care departments, are provided on-pack) so the problem can be investigated. This feedback provides the industry with invaluable information.