Are products for sensitive skin safe?

The word ‘sensitive‘ appearing on a cosmetic or household cleaning product does not necessarily guarantee it is safe for MI / MCI allergy — or for any allergy.

The same can be said for the words ‘natural‘, ‘organic‘, ‘skin kind‘ or ‘gentle‘.

Hypoallergenic‘ means ‘little chance of causing allergy’. At least in the EU, it should mean that fragrance allergens are absent from the product, but again, there’s no real guarantee — and it’d be unwise to assume a hypoallergenic product to be MI-free.

When it comes to ‘sensitive’, there are dozens of unsafe examples.

"Sensitive" - but NOT MI-Free

“Sensitive” – but NOT MI-Free

Pictured right it’s Veet Hair Removal Cream Sensitive Skin, which is widely available internationally. Boasting vitamin E and aloe vera, it may sounds ideal for sensitive skin … but not if your sensitive skin is isothiazolinone sensitive. Just look at the ingredients — it contains both MI and MCI

L’Oreal Ideal Moisture Dry and Sensitive Day Cream contains MI — and once in Canada it was put on the market with too much of it

From the UK, here’s Waitrose Sensitive Shower Gel. It’s cheap, it has SLES rather than SLS, it is fragrance-free … and it has both MCI and MI. Their Essential Waitrose Sensitive Liquid – a laundry detergent — contains both MI and BIT

Simple — who call themselves ‘Sensitive Skincare Experts’ — describe what MI is and does on their site, and so we must assume at least some of their products contain it.  

Surcare Sensitive Fabric Conditioner contains several isothiazolinone preservatives.  

In the UK, these Nivea Daily Essentials Sensitive Cleansing Wipes contain our key troublesome enemy, MI.

And another international one — perhaps most shockingly of all — it’s even in this Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Mouthwash.


What can you do?

Check, double check, all ingredients, always, every time …. 

MI and fragrance free hair care pair

MI and fragrance free hair care pair

But if you have sensitive skin (other than sensitivity to isothiazolinones) the likelier culprits may be fragrance allergens, perfumes and essential oils. It’s worth experimenting with fragrance-free options which you know are isothiazolinone free too. Here are a few MI-free suggestions:

JASON Fragrance Free products — which includes shampoo and conditioner (pictured right), body wash and deodorant. 

In the UK, Odylique have an Essential Oil Free selection

Green People’s Organic No Scent Collection — which includes serum, moisturiser, cleanser and much more.

With regard to household cleaning products, you’ll find a few brands offering fragrance free products in our Household Brands directory, and a number of specific laundry detergent options are in our Laundry Directory


  1. Carolyn Allen

    I was hoping someone could tell me if Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) is considered an MI or is it safe I’ve had conflicting searches
    Many Thanks

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Only MI is MI, and BHT is not related to it or other isothiazolinones. I don’t know about its allergenicity, though. Best wishes, Alex, Editor,


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