Are Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes Causing Allergic Reactions?

A viral Facebook post purportedly showed a severe reaction to Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes, but the claim was anecdotal.

  • Published 7 May 2018
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Claim

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are causing a number of severe allergic reactions.

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Origin

On 2 May 2018, a Facebook user shared a warning about Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, claiming that the product caused a violent allergic reaction:

DO NOT USE these make up wipes 🙈😩 Alyssa has been using them for months but yesterday opened a brand new pack to use and This Happened!! We went on their website and TONS of reviews of the same reaction! Thought I would share so someone else doesn’t have this happen to them! #Neutrogena

Within a few days, the post was shared tens of thousands of times. Several users shared the post on Neutrogena’s Facebook wall, but the brand did not immediately respond to those posts. According to Neutrogena.com, ingredients for Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are as follows:

Water, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Isostearyl Palmitate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hexylene Glycol, PEG-4 Laurate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sucrose Cocoate, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance (EU 1279)

The ingredients list is not very much different from products made by competitors, such as Aveeno or Olay.

The Neutrogena claims are similar to 2016 rumors about baby wipes, and as with similar rumors about baby diapers and wipes, it is virtually impossible to attribute any single reported reaction to a single topical product used on anyone’s skin, infant or adult. Anecdotal reports are difficult to verify, because contact dermatitis can be caused by any of thousands of known allergens and irritants. Furthermore, reactions to any substance used in skincare products can be highly personal, and a substance that irritates the skin of one individual can potentially be tolerated by a majority without incident.

We searched for corroborating information indicating that Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are causing a high number of allergic reactions, but were unable to turn up anything relating to that particular product. We contacted Neutrogena to ask about rumor involving Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, but have not yet received a response.