We report the annual results of patch testing with lavender oil for a 9-year period from 1990 to 1998 in Japan. Using Finn Chambers and Scanpor tape, we performed 2-day closed patch testing with lavender oil 20% pet. on the upper back of each patient suspected of having cosmetic contact dermatitis. We compared the frequency of positive patch tests to lavender oil each year with those to other fragrances. We diagnosed contact allergy when patch test reactions were + or <+ at 1 day after removal. The positivity rate of lavender oil was 3.7% (0-13.9%) during the 9-year period from 1990 to 1998. The positivity rate of lavender oil increased suddenly in 1997. Recently, in Japan, there has been a trend for aromatherapy using lavender oil. With this trend, placing dried lavender flowers in pillows, drawers, cabinets, or rooms has become a new fashion. We asked patients who showed a positive reaction to lavender oil about their use of dried lavender flowers. We confirmed the use of dried lavender flowers in 5 cases out of 11 positive cases in 1997 and 8 out of 15 positive cases in 1998. We concluded that the increase in patch test positivity rates to lavender oil in 1997 and 1998 was due to the above fashion, rather than due to fragrances in cosmetic products.