Health Canada is recommending Canadians check the labels of their skin and hair care products and cosmetics for potentially irritating ingredients: methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone.
These two ingredients, when both present in a “leave-on” product, can cause rashes, itching, burning or blisters in some people, according to a press release from Health Canada. The risk is specifically when both ingredients are present, says the department, and when they’re in a product like a lotion, deodorant, sunscreen or makeup that is left on the skin as opposed to something that is washed off – like a shampoo.
Symptoms can occur each time someone uses a product with both of these ingredients, and can get worse with repeated uses.
If you notice any sensitivity or allergic reaction, you should discontinue use of the product and avoid other products that contain these two ingredients, said Health Canada.
Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone are used as preservatives.
Both are still found in some rinse-off drugstore products, such as Pantene Pro-V daily moisture renewal hydrating shampoo and conditioner, and Olay Ultra Moisture vanilla indulgence body wash. “Based on current information, there are no identified risks with the use of MI/MCI in rinse-off products when concentrations are at or below levels currently permitted in cosmetics,” wrote the department.
All leave-on products containing both ingredients that are intended for use by children under the age of three should be off store shelves by June 14, 2016, said Health Canada. All other leave-on products that contain both methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone should be gone from Canada after December 31.
In the meantime, Health Canada says consumers should keep checking for the ingredients. You can also report adverse reactions to cosmetics, non-prescription and natural health products to the department.