Preservative MI set to be banned from skincare following allergy fears

Preservative methylisothiazolinone, also known as MI or MIT, is likely to be banned from leave-on skincare products following evidence it can cause skin allergy and dermatitis.

Industry association Cosmetics Europe, which represents skincare manufacturers across the continent, has published a recommendation that this ingredient should no longer be used in leave-on skin care cosmetic products including wipes.

The association made the decision following discussions with the European Society of Contact Dermatitis. Cosmetics Europe said that changes to the Cosmetics Regulation, which governs the safety of cosmetic products and the preservatives that can be used, are likely to follow.

The recommendation follows reports in July, presented at the British Association of Dermatologists' annual conference, which showed an increase in cases of allergy to this preservative.

Cosmetics Europe is asking all cosmetics companies to make the change as soon as possible.

Methylisothiazolinone was introduced to the market as a cosmetic preservative in 2006, and since then has been widely used due to its broad spectrum preservation properties.

When concerns first arose in the summer, experts told Professional Beauty that its use in professional skincare products had risen as a result of consumer pressure to remove parabens from skincare.

Speaking at the time, Dermalogica's vice president of technical services, Dr Diana Howard, told PB "None of the alternative [preservatives] are as benign as parabens and professional skincare therapists can expect to see a higher incidence of skin irritation when alternative preservative systems are used."