Itchy Wipes

A growing number of people are experiencing rashes because they’re allergic to the  toiletry wipes they use, according to a dermatologist at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

The culprit is a preservative called methylisothiazolinone, said Dr. Matthew Zirwas, who  is labeled by the Wexner media folks as a “dermatology detective.” The substance, which happily is usually referred to as simply MI, is common in many products, such as liquid soaps and shampoos. In those products, it’s washed away, the Wexner news release explains. In baby wipes and toiletry wipes, it stays on the skin.

This is not a problem unless you happen to be allergic to MI. Those who are allergic develop a rash that is equivalent to poison ivy, Zirwas said.

In a video produced by the Wexner media people, Zirwas recommended that if you buy a wipe for the first time you check to see if it has MI. If it does, try it a couple of times a day on the inside of your elbow. If no rash develops after a week, you probably aren’t allergic.

You can contact John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune health beat reporter, at



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