Contact allergen of the year? Benzophenones
YOUR DOSE OF MEDICINE - Charles C. Chante MD (The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2016 - 9:00am

Benzophenones, chemical ultraviolet light absorbers used in products ranging from sunscreens and hair sprays to plastic lens filters for color photography, have been named the American Contact Dermatitis Society’s 2014 Contact Allergen of the Year.

First used as preserver to extend the shelf life of paints, varnishes, and other industrial products, benzophenones were added to sunscreens in the 1950s. Other personal care products that may contain benzophenones are hair dyes, perfumes, shampoos, detergent bars, and nail polishes. The agents are still used in a number of industrial applications, including plastic lens filters for color photography, aerosol sprays to protect color prints, and transparent shades to protect windows displays. According to a feature article in the journal Dermatitis, benzophenones -3,-4 ,-8 and -10 rank as the four agents most commonly used in personal care products. In addition, the amount of benzophenones -3 used in United States sunscreens is more than all other benzophenones combined.

Today, benzophenone -3 “is not only the most common benzopehenone to cause positive patch test reactions, but it also is the most common UV filter, overall, to cause allergy,” wrote lead author.

“The most recent 10-year retrospective analysis of the North American Contact Dermatitis Group Data found that of the 219 of 23,908 patch –tested patients with sunscreen listed as an allergen source, 70.2% had positive test reactions to benzophenone -3.”

Co-author, chief of the dermatology at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said that benzophenones were chosen as Allergen of the Year “to raise awareness that they are becoming more of a common allergen, and [to recommend] that they should be on a standard screening series, because they’re in so many  products like sunscreen, shampoo, conditioners, perfumes, and hand sanitizers. If you’re not thinking about sunscreen [as a potential allergen], you’ll miss it.”

ACIRC ALLERGEN ALLERGEN OF THE YEAR BENZOPHENONES COMMON CONTACT ALLERGEN OF THE YEAR MINNEAPOLIS VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER NORTH AMERICAN CONTACT DERMATITIS GROUP DATA PRODUCTS UNITED STATES USED
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