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  Authority of Polish Society of Allergology

vol 17. no 3. September 2012  

 Original articles
Emollients from the pharmacy – a relief or a threat to patients with eczema?
Katarzyna Kordus, Radosław Śpiewak

Introduction. Xerosis is one of the most common problems in patients
with atopic eczema; it is also relatively common in allergic and irritant
contact eczema. Moreover, patients with atopic diathesis in its broad
sense complain more often of dry skin. As a rule, these patients are administered
with emollient preparations that moisturize, soften and smoothen
the skin, as well as keep water in the epidermis, supplement lipids
of skin upper layers and protect from external harmful agents. However,
emollients, just as most other cosmetics, may contain “problematic” ingredients,
including sensitizers.
Aim. The objective of this study was to analyse compositions of emollients
available from pharmacies, with the focus on the content of active
substances, as well as of the ingredients restricted or banned for use in
Material and methods. Emollients offered by Internet pharmacies were
analyzed with particular reference to the content of active and “problematic”
ingredients as defined by the European directives, using the
Cosing Data Base.
Results. We identified 177 cosmetics that contained in total 522 various
ingredients, including 181 active substances and 49 “problematic” ingredients
(mainly preservatives and fragrances). The active ingredients most
frequently used in the emollients were: liquid paraffin (46% of the analysed
products), triglycerides of caprylic and capric acid (33%), cetearyl
alcohol and allantoin (27% each). Methylparaben (38%), phenoxyethanol
(36%) and propylparaben (33%) were the most common “problematic”
ingredients of the emollients.
Conclusions. The vast majority of emollients available from pharmacies
contain ingredients with sensitizing potential that are subject to restrictions
of use in cosmetics on account of the risk to human health. No
correlation between the number of active and “problematic” ingredients
found in the analyzed products suggests that it is possible to develop
safer and simultaneously equally effective emollients.

keywords: emolienty, składniki aktywne, składniki „problematyczne”bezpieczeństwo konsumentów, alergia kontaktowa

pages: from 147 to 153

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