Preservatives are well-known skin sensitizers and one of the leading causes of contact allergy. The goal of this paper is to examine the present state of contact sensitization caused by preservatives and to suggest future options for product preservation. Isothiazolinones are now the most prevalent preservatives responsible for contact allergy in Europe and the United States, and despite certain regulatory interventions, the current contact allergy outbreak is not yet under control. Despite the prohibition on methyldibromo glutaronitrile in cosmetics in Europe, hypersensitive people are still identified, implying alternative unregulated sources of exposure. Sensitization to formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents is lower in Europe than in the United States due to stronger laws governing their usage. The frequency of paraben contact allergy has remained constant over the previous decades, but iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is a new allergen with a rising prevalence. Future antimicrobial options for product preservation seek a broad antibacterial range while maintaining a higher safety profile than currently available chemicals.
Given the significant rates of sensitization documented in recent years, several preservatives that are presently a public health issue demand immediate regulatory action.