Chemical in baby wipes, nasty rashes – Dr. Mary Wu Chang

  • Connecticut dermatologist Dr Mary Wu Chang has seen 6 children with condition over the past 2 years
  • Study explores a reaction to methylisothiazolinone which is found in household products like baby wipes, hand creams and lotions


Baby wipes are leaving children with an itchy, scaly and red rash which is often misdiagnosed as a more serious skin condition, a study revealed today.

An allergic reaction to moist wipes is believed to be behind the rash which is being mistaken for conditions such as eczema, impetigo and psoriasis.

Dr Mary Wu Chang, a professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, said that she has seen six children with the mysterious rash over the past two years.

The study which Dr Chang co-authored was published on Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Her first patient was an 8-year-old girl who had a rash around her mouth and on her buttocks. Dr Chang treated the child with antibiotics and steroids but the rash came back time and time again.

After investigating the child’s medical history, the doctor realized she could be suffering from an allergic reaction.

The doctor explained that she remembered a Belgian study which was done after a patient reacted badly to methylisothiazolinone – a chemical that is often found in baby wipes, hand creams and lotions.

In recent years, some manufactures have also upped the concentration of the chemical in cosmetic products, often by up to 25 times. Overuse of moist wipes might also lead to greater intolerance of the chemical which is used on a plethora of household products.

After an allergy test and laying off the wipes, the little girl’s rash disappeared. Following the initial patient, Dr Chang saw five other similar cases in the next two years.

The doctor told NBC that parents need not throw away packets of wipes but just limit their use.

She told NBC: ‘I have three kids, so I know how hard it is to do the changes, especially when you’re traveling. But maybe when you’re at home, it would be better to use a gentle cleanser and water. That way you minimize exposure.’


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