Skin Health
What Are Top Irritants/Allergens To Avoid: Interview
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What are some of the most common irritants and allergens to avoid?

As published on Follow her on twitter at

MarcieMom: Can you list for us some common irritants and list them on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the most likely to cause allergy)? It’ll also be great if you can let us know if there are other common names for these irritants.

1.     Perfume/ Fragrance –

Benzyl alcohol (Phenylmethanol / Phenylcarbinol)

Natural grape aromatic preserves & scents in “fragrance-free products”

Carvone (d-carvoned-1-Methyl-4-isopropenyl-6-cyclohexen-2-one

Essential oils from dill, caraway seeds, spearmint, orange peel

Cananga odorata(Ylang ylangCananga distillates)

from the flower

Cinnamic aldehyde (Cinnamaldehyde)

from bark camphor, cassia cinnamon trees

Colophonium Rosin (Abietic acid, alcohol, Abitol)

A resin from pine trees

Extracts of common plants of the (AstraceaeCompositae family: yarrow, mountain arnica, German chamomile,  feverfew,  tansy)

Botanical additives

2.     Preservatives –

Bacitracin  (An Antibiotic )

p-Chloro-M-Xylenol (ChlroxylenolPCMX)


Formaldehyde (FormalinMethaldehydeMethanal)

Diazolidinyl urea (Germall II) and

Imidazolidinyl urea (Germal 115, Eukyl K 200)

Dimethylol dihydroxy ethyleneurea (DMDHEU)

DMDM Hydantoin (Glydant)

Quarternium 15 (Dowicil 200)

Methyldibromo glutaronitrile + 2 phenoxyethanol (Eukyl K 400)

Methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI Eukyl K100Kathon CG)

3.     Parabens – Methyl, Ethyl , Propyl, Butyl Paraben.  Please also above in Preservatives

4.     Propylene Glycol – 1,2 Propanediol

5.     Lanolin – Lanolin alcohol, Wool Alcohol

6.     Colorant/Dye –

Disperse blue 124/106  Mix (Thiazol-azoyl-p-phenylene diamine derivative dyes)


7.     Conventional emulsifiers –

Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine  (Amidoamine)

Dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA)

Cocamide DEA (Coconut Diethanolamide)

Cocamidopropyl betaine

Oleamidopropyl dimethylamine

Decyl glucoside  from glucose (corn starch) & decanol fatty acid from coconut

Ethylenediamine dihydrochloride (Chlorethamine)

8.     Mineral oils – actually quite skin safe. A favorite among dermatologists.

9.     Paraffin – same as mineral oil.

10.  Sodium Lauryl Sulphate – An Irritant especially when present in higher concentrations. Not too common as an Allergen.

Marcie Mom: Thanks Dr. Verallo-Rowell and Laura. It’s great to finally have a sense of the list of ingredients to avoid and in priority, so that parents can check if the product they buy are at least free of the allergens on the top of the list!

This is part of a 13-part series focused on understanding and using products for sensitive skin, an important topic given the generous amount of moisturizers that go onto the skin of a child with eczema. Marcie Mom met Laura Verallo Rowell Bertotto, the CEO of VMVGroup, on twitter and learnt that her company is the only hypoallergenic brand that validates its hypoallergenicity. VMV Hypoallergenics is founded in 1979 by a world renowned dermatologist-dermatopathologist (Laura’s mother) who also created the VH-Rating System. The only validated hypoallergenic rating system in the world, the VH-Rating System is used across all the products at VMV, significantly decreasing the risk of reactions (a study published in a leading contact dermatitis journal showed less than 0.1% of reactions in 30 years). In this interview, Laura (with VMV’s founding physician) answers Marcie Mom’s questions on understanding the product label.