Methylisothiazolinone (MI) it’s in so many Beauty and Household Products Beware!

I hadn’t even heard of Methylisothiazonlinone (MI) until yesterday and now after a bit of internet research and looking at all of my beauty and household cleaning products I’ve realised it is everywhere! This is going to be a very costly experience for me as I am going to be getting rid of a lot of products and replacing them all with things that don’t contain this nasty chemical.

My story starts with a strange rash that I keep getting under my eyes. It comes and goes, sometimes I have it for a couple of days and other times I have had it for up to a week. My under eye skin is not just red and inflamed, but also sore, dry and my skin feels tight. I look like I have just done a round in a boxing ring! I’ve spent months wondering why it comes, eventually putting down to something to do with my hormones. But there must be something more to it surely?

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So I have been trying to see if it links with anything I use on my face? We recently went on holiday to Majorca and I was applying sun screen on a daily basis and it was definitely worse then. Plus I have had a few episodes recently when I have used make up remover wipes and sure enough my skin feels like it is burning.

Last week I decided to go and see my GP about my rash. He looked at it and said it was probably a contact dermatitis or allergy caused by make up? He prescribed Hydrocortisone 1% cream, which I have used and it did improve things a bit. However I am not keen to use a steroid cream in this area for too long as it can cause the skin to thin.

So what is methylisothiazolinone?

‘It is a powerful synthetic biocide and preservative within the group of isothiazolinones, which is used in numerous personal care products and a wide range of industrial applications.It is a cytotoxin that may affect different types of cells. Its use for a wide range of personal products for humans, such as cosmetics, lotions, moisturiser, sanitary wipes, shampoos, and sunscreens’.

It can also be known under these other names:

Amerstat 250
Euxyl K 100
Fennosan IT 21
Grotan TK2
Kathon CG
Mergal K7
Metatin GT
Methylisothiazolinone (MI)
Mitco CC 32 Lafterwards

My plan now is to no longer use any product that contains Methylisothiazonlinone if I can help it and actually in turn try to use more natural based products. That includes for me and my four year old Daughter. I work as a Practice Nurse and I am constantly washing my hands, so now am seriously thinking about taking my own soap to work. The liquid soap that is provided at work in dispensers could also contain MI I don’t know. If I was to get this reaction on my hands it could stop me working as a Nurse.

So on my list of things to do today is to search out some MI free products luckily I live near by a really good Health Store called As Natural Intended. So I will be heading down there later to have a good look around. In the meantime I have been using Weleda products as they are MI free. I was getting in to a vicious circle of applying make up and then taking it off with a make up remover which was making my skin flare up and then putting make up on to cover the redness which was in turn making it worse. I found Almond Soothing Cleaning Lotion by Weleda which doesn’t seem to irritate my skin, so I will be using more Weleda products in the future.

So next time you are in the supermarket or Chemist take a closer look at the ingredients label. For example the following products all contain MI: Baylis & Harding, Funky Farm, Bath & Shower Gel for Children, Fairy Washing Up Liquid Original, Aussie Shower Smoothie Body Wash and John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Shampoo. Beware!










  • Angela
    1 year ago

    Worryingly, this is in so called ‘sensitive’ baby products! Baby wipes is one example! I will only buy Water wipes for my son. These are simply water and grapefruit.

    • 1 year ago

      Hi Angela, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.Yes I agree with you there are many product for both adults and children that state they are for sensitive skin, when actually they contain many chemicals. I’m re-thinking my whole use of products now!

  • 1 year ago

    Most of the brands which call themselves ‘natural / organic’ will be free from MI, but as Angela says, words like ‘for sensitive skin’ are no guarantee of safety. But I would urge you to get a proper diagnosis – via patch testing – from your doctor / dermatologist, so you can get to the bottom of the sensitivity. It may not be MI, and there’s no real reason to avoid unless you react to it, or are prone to allergies and would rather avoid it as a precaution. It’s possible, for example, that you could be reacting to fragrances – and natural products still have a lot of fragrance compounds in them. Good luck.

    • 1 year ago

      Hi Alex, thank you for your comment and taking the time to read my blog. I am definitely going to look into getting patch testing done.

  • 1 year ago

    I carry my own soap bar everywhere…
    Good luck with eliminating the products. Sadly MI seems to be everywhere, even in some liquid products from the “health” stores.

  • 1 year ago

    Hi Margot, thank you for getting in contact. I think I am going to take my own soap about too. As I said in my blog I am a Nurse so I can not afford for my skin to have bad reactions. All the best Joanne

  • 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and raising awareness of the issue with MI. We absorb up to 70% of what we put on our skin so paying attention to the ingredients in our skincare and toiletries is vital.

    Avoiding products with MI, parabens and other controversial chemicals is sadly harder than many imagine as many brands have jumped on the marketing bandwagon and make claims that suggest their products are healthier than they really are and can claim to be organic with as little as 10% organic ingredients used.

    Some tips are to look for certified organic – a third party verification from the Soil Association which means the product must have at least 70% organic ingredients (organic refers to a farming process so some ingredients such as salt, water and clay can’t be classed as organic as they aren’t farmed). As already stated above, organic doesn’t mean a product is ‘safe’ so personally I use brands that are completely natural, use the precautionary principle (if in doubt, leave it out) with no synthetic ingredients. The Environmental Working Group (US based) has a database of products using a traffic light system to help people decide if they want to use that product. It’s free to use at deep.

    In terms of making ‘the change’ I did this about 12 years ago but fell off the wagon several times as old favourites tempted me back and I found it too expensive to replace everything (and after researching it I did find it had to be everything I had previously been using!) so now I recommend that people take a longer term view by replacing things as they run out. Usually it takes a year, but obviously stop using anything you know is affecting you adversely.

    I hope you forgive the long comment – this is a topic I am very passionate about and a (semi-) shameless plug which I am about to make…

    I personally use Neal’s Yard Remedies skincare and toiletries and until midnight on 25 August 2016 there is an offer to join and get over £200 of products for just £50 and get 25% off future orders. I mention this as I genuinely believe that it’s a great way to get all natural and certified organic products for much less than normal so it helps with the replacement expense. If anyone is interested they can find out more at and I’m happy to speak with anyone who has any questions about this. Other brands to consider are Living Natural, Dr Hauschka, Weleda (as you mentioned in the blog) and Green People.

    Good luck to everyone who embarks on the ‘all natural’ journey. It’s long and can be hard, but you will meet some really great people on the way and it’s a very worthwhile journey to make.

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