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Benzophenone 4: an emerging allergen in cosmetics and toiletries?


Dr T. Merion Hughes
Department of Occupational Dermatology
Royal Gwent Hospital
Cardiff Road
Newport NP20 2UB
Tel: +44 01633238962
Fax: +44 01633656110


Chemical ultraviolet (UV) filters have, over the last few decades, been increasingly used not only in conventional sunscreen products but also in many cosmetics and toiletries. Allergic contact dermatitis as well as photoallergic contact dermatitis reactions have been well documented as a consequence of such use. Over a 3-year period, we recorded the number of positive patch test reactions to a selection of chemical UV filters that we added to our usual cosmetics/facial series. Our objective was to investigate whether any of these filters produced significant numbers of positive patch test results in the absence of photostimulation. Our results show that not only did benzophenone 4 (2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone-5-sulphonic acid: sulisobenzone) produce significantly more positive patch test results than the other UV filters that were tested, but also it was the third most frequently positive result overall. Our findings would support the inclusion of benzophenone 4 when patch testing to investigate likely contact dermatitis from cosmetics and toiletries.