• Klaus Ejner AndersenEmail author
  • Kristian Fredløv Mose


Preservatives are chemical substances used in consumer products and in the industry to prevent microbial growth and help prolong the shelf-life of consumer products. However, there is no ideal preservative that only exhibits positive effects (e.g. effective at low concentrations, high solubility, compatible with other ingredients, biodegradable and non-toxic). Preservatives are by nature reactive substances and can induce allergic contact dermatitis. Therefore, a number of preservatives are included in the European patch test baseline series. The current baseline series include methylchloro- and methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI), methylisothiazolinone (MI), methyldibromoglutaronitrile (MDBGN), formaldehyde, quaternium-15 and paraben mixture. In recent years, contact allergy to methylisothiazolinone (MI) has reached epidemic proportions in Europe. In the past, a high frequency of contact allergy to MDBGN led the EU authorities to ban the use of this preservative in cosmetic products. Further, an EU regulation in 2004 ordered all preservatives listed on the ingredient label of consumer products, as cosmetics, detergents and household products. Also, a mandatory use of a uniform nomenclature on labels was introduced. This has greatly improved the physician’s ability to determine the relevance of a possible contact allergy to preservatives and helps the patients to avoid further exposure. Nevertheless, contact allergy to preservatives continues to be a dermatological problem, because preservative effects are needed in the majority of today’s consumer products. Alternative preservatives replace the old ones and as a result new epidemics may arise.


Patch test concentrations Patch test suppliers Consumer products Uses and exposure EU regulations Methylisothiazolinone (MI) Methylchloro- and methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) Methyldibromoglutaronitrile (MDBGN) Formaldehyde Formaldehyde releasers Quaternium-15 Parabens 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Ejner Andersen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kristian Fredløv Mose
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology and Allergy CentreOdense University Hospital, University of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark

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