Peter A. Young, MPAS: Revisiting Allergens Found in Personal Care Products

Published on: 

A segment of an interview with Peter Young in which he describes his original interest in the subject of skincare product allergens.

During a segment of his interview with HCPLive, Peter A. Young, MPAS, revisited his team’s recent study on allergic contact dermatitis caused by personal care products (PCPs) labeled as ‘natural’ with harmful ingredients.

Young currently serves as a visiting scholar at the Stanford University School of Medicine in the dermatology department, in addition to working as a physician assistant at Kaiser Permanente.

He worked with Haiwen Gui, BS, and Gordon Bae, MD, assessing contact allergens in personal care products and contact dermatitis in patients. The products they reviewed were sold in department stores such as Target and Whole Foods.

“So I, on a daily basis, evaluate rashes,” Young explained, describing his original interest in the study. “And often the differential diagnosis includes contact dermatitis, which could be your irritant contact dermatitis, or allergic contact dermatitis. And I noticed a trend with many of my patients, they would diligently follow all treatment plan instructions from their primary care physician and from myself, except they would sometimes also add an over the counter product that they perceive to be beneficial.”

Young delved into the topic further, citing his experiences as a physician assistant with patients facing contact dermatitis.

“Or they would sometimes fail to mention an over the counter product that they perceived to be inert or innocent or perhaps beneficial to their skin,” he explained. “And these sorts of unmentioned products were natural skincare products, and patients would say, ‘Oh, well, it's a natural skincare product, it's all natural, so it can't be the source of the problem.’”

During the course of their research, Young and colleagues had found that of those 1651 PCPs given a label such as natural, 1555 contained ≥1 contact allergen.

“So, examples are things like tea tree oil, that is something people will commonly use to try to self treat the seborrheic dermatitis condition on the scalp,” Young added. “An ingredient called carmine is made of crushed up insects and used as a pigment in lipsticks or eyeshadows. And that's, you know, in many natural products that we evaluated and is a common source of allergic contact dermatitis.”

For more information on Young’s team’s research, watch the interview segment above.