J&J's sun cream reformulated after 150 allergic reaction claims

By Chris BARKER

- Last updated on GMT

J&J's sun cream reformulated after 150 allergic reaction claims

Related tags: Cosmetics

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will remove the ingredient MI from their Piz Buin suncream after 150 people reported allergic reactions to the product.

The BBC investigative program Watchdog recently ran a program in which it documented dozens of complaints from consumers who had used the sun cream brand.

Leading dermatologist Dr Ian White from St Thomas’ Hospital, London suggested that MI is the likely culprit in causing these reactions.

MI, short for Methylisothiazolinone, is widely used in cosmetics and personal care products as a preservative and biocide.

Johnson & Johnson has stated that from 2014, the new formulation of their Piz Buin suncream will not contain the ingredient.

A J&J spokesperson said: “PIZ BUIN 1 Day Long provides safe and effective sun protection. It contains only permitted ingredients at levels well within EU standards set by regulators.”

Allergic reactions

According to Dr White, MI caused allergic reactions in as much as 10 per cent of the population patch tested at dermatology clinics after being referred for skin problems - far above the 1-2 per cent which dermatologists expect for most cosmetics products.

Consumers have described symptoms including red lumps on the skin, fluid-filled bumps, blisters, itchy eyes and in some cases severe swelling.

Sophie Holmes, a London resident, was affected by serious swelling of the face after using the sun cream whilst on holiday in the Alps. The marketing executive needed to be taken to the A&E in London due to puffiness of the head and neck, which could have fatally restricted her airways.

CTPA response

The CTPA has responded to these revelations by encouraging affected consumers to contact the global personal care player. They have also revealed that a meeting is being set up between dermatologists and industry in order to address the issue. 

Director-General Dr. Christopher Flower told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com: "We were already in touch with the key dermatologists via the British Association of Dermatologists following the dermatologists conference to get the ball rolling...A meeting is being set up between dermatologists and industry... and I believe the date has already been set." 

Flower pointed out that the UK could not take legislative action in isolation, and that replacing a preservative in cosmetics products would be a difficult process.

He said: "This is not just a UK issue...MI is used in many cosmetic products across Europe and the legislation governing cosmetics is a European Regulation." 

Rinse-off products

MI has been controversial in the cosmetics industry and is suspected of causing an increase in contact skin allergies.

The EU Commission recently announcing its intention to restrict the use of a blend of MI and MCI, another preservative, to rinse-off cosmetics products. 

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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