Chlorhexidine digluconate is used primarily as an antibacterial cleanser in the medical setting. It is also used as a preservative in cosmetics and personal care products.
Patients allergic or photoallergic to chlorhexidine digluconate should be instructed to avoid all the chemically related chlorhexidine-based chemicals listed below by carefully reading the labels of liquid hand cleansers and the other products listed. In addition, such individuals should make all their health care workers aware of their allergies since chlorhexidine is frequently used to cleanse the skin and internal sites during minor and major surgical and dental procedures.
Skin contact with chlorhexidine digluconate is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing chlorhexidine digluconate should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the US for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skin care products for this ingredient. If there is not enough information, ask your pharmacist retailer, or contact the company directly. At work, request a Material Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.