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Year : 1992  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-26

Patch test with preservatives

Correspondence Address:
Sumit Kar

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Of the 705 patients patch tested between March 88 to March 91, 317 were tested for sensitivity to preservatives with antigens obtained from Chemo technique AB, Sweden. Paraben was the commonest sensitizer (22.4%) followed by Groton B K (8.1%) and Triclosan (6.5%). We stress the need to consider these allergens as source of dermatitis and advocate complete labelling of topical preparations marketed.

Keywords: Patch Test, Preservative, Paraben, Groton BK, Triclosan

How to cite this article:
Kar S, Srinivas C R, Balachandran C, Shenoi S D. Patch test with preservatives. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1992;58:25-6

How to cite this URL:
Kar S, Srinivas C R, Balachandran C, Shenoi S D. Patch test with preservatives. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1992 [cited 2020 Nov 29];58:25-6. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Preservatives are widely used in cosmetics, toiletries, pharmaceutical creams, lotions and food industry. These substances have water which in turn leads to colonization of bacteria and fungi and the preservative added plays its role by inhibiting their growth. [1] The preservative used depends upon the substance or its composition as these two substances have to be compatible. [2]

Preservative, like any constituent of the above mentioned substances can be sensitizer. We undertook this study to find the sensitivity of the preservatives.

  Materials and Methods Top

Of the total 705 patients who were patch tested between March 88 to March 91, only 317 patients were tested with some of the fourteen preservatives listed in [Table - 1].

All patch testing was done by van der-Bend patch test chambers using antigens

from Chemo technique diagnostics AB, Sweden. Readings were taken at 48 hours and 72 hours.

  Results Top

As shown in [Table - 1]

  Comments Top

Thiomerosol, used extensively as preservative in United States was found to be the commonest sensitizer. [3]sub In India the phenolic compounds which are mostly used as preservative (unpublished information) showed sensitivity of 5.6% and 3.6% [Table - 1]. The commonest sensitizer was paraben, which is higher in patients with stasis eczema.4 However, from pharmaceuticals we learnt that paraben is one of the less commonly used preservative (unpublished data). Paraben sensitivity is said to be between 1-3% [5],[6] while higher sensitivity [4],[7],[8] in a selected group study like ours has been reported.

We emphasize the need of proper and complete labelling of topical preparations. If the labelling is complete it will be possible for the prescriber to give a suitable alternative preparation and avoid the iatrogenic persistence of the dermatitis.

  Acknowledgement Top

We are grateful to Miss Meera B and Mr Dinesha P for helping us perform all the patch tests and taking the results timely.

  References Top

1.Polano MK. Topical Skin Therapeutics. Edinburgh . Churchill Livingstone, 1984; 87 - 90.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Crowshaw B. Preservatives for Cosmetics and Toileteries. Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists 1977; 28 : 3.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Rudner EJ, Clendenning WE, Epstein E, et al. Epidemiology of contact dermatitis in North America-1972. Arch Dermatol, 1973; 108 : 537-9.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Maucher OM. Beitrag Zur oder Koplung Sallergic auf Parahydroxy Benzoesute ester, Berufsdermatosen, 1974; 22: 183-7 (as quoted in Ref.8).  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Hjorth N and Lassenc T. Skin reactions to ointment bases. Trans St. John Hosp Derm Soc 1969; 55: 17-35,  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Black H. Analysis of Routine battery results in Auckland Skin Clinic. Contact Dermatitis News letter 1972; 12 : 323 - 5.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Bajaj A K and Chatterjee : Paraben Contact Hypersensitivity. Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1985; 51 : 319-21.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.George N D, Srinivas C R, Balachandran C and Shenoi S D. Sensitivity to various ingredients of topical preparations following prolonged use. Contact Dermatitis 1990; 23 367 -8.  Back to cited text no. 8    


[Table - 1]


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