Q:

5/16/2014
I have a young lady who appears to have a type IV allergy to isopropyl alcohol. I was wondering if this has been reported?

A:

Thank you for your inquiry.

Yes, isopropyl alcohol is a known contact allergen. The abstract copied below is an excellent reference which will also supply you with a nice review of the literature in this regard.

Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.

Contact Dermatitis. 2011 Aug;65(2):101-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2011.01936.x. Epub 2011 Jun 17.
Allergic contact dermatitis caused by isopropyl alcohol: a missed allergen?
García-Gavín J1, Lissens R, Timmermans A, Goossens A.
Author information
1Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Complex of Vigo, 36209 Pontevedra, Abstract
Background: Isopropyl alcohol is a secondary alcohol, a structural isomer of propanol, that is widely used as an industrial solvent and as a preservative and antiseptic in the clinical environment. It is known to be a mild irritant for the eyes and mucous membranes, but is considered to be a weak and infrequent sensitizer.
Objectives: To show that isopropyl alcohol should be considered as a potential allergen in patients with eczema who have contact with this substance.
Materials and Methods: We present a series of 1450 patients patch tested with isopropyl alcohol during the period 1992-2011.
Results: Forty-four patients showed an allergic response to isopropyl alcohol. Four cases presented as occupational hand eczema. Fourteen cases were seen in patients with leg ulcers. Twenty-six patients presented with eczematous lesions following the use of products containing isopropyl alcohol to disinfect previous skin lesions. Eighty-four per cent of the patients showed sensitization to three or more allergens. Relevance was present in 84% of the patients.
Conclusions: We report here the first large case series of contact allergy to isopropyl alcohol, which demonstrates that sensitization to this substance might not be as uncommon as previously thought.

Sincerely,
Phil Lieberman, M.D.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology