Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology vol:21 issue:4 Pt 1 pages:723-7
Twelve cases of allergic contact dermatitis caused by antiseptic preparations are presented. The reactions resulted not from the active principles but rather from nonoxynols used in the offending substances as nonionic surface-active agents. Nonoxynols are ethoxylated alkyl phenols or nonylphenylethers that conform in general to the formula C9H19C6H4(OCH2CH2)nOH. They have emulsifying, wetting, foaming, and solubilizing properties and are used in a large number of industrial, household, agricultural, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products. They also are used as spermicides. There are very few reports in the literature of skin problems caused by nonoxynols.