In 1990 and 1998 15-41-year-old people were patch-tested in 2 cross-sectional studies of random samples of the population in the western part of Copenhagen County, Denmark. In 1990, 290 subjects and in 1998, 469 subjects were patch-tested. The participation rates were 69% and 51%, respectively. Contact sensitivity to one or more haptens was found in 15.9% and 18.6% in 1990 and 1998, respectively. Nickel sensitivity is still the most common contact sensitivity. The risk of contact sensitivity to the cosmetic-related haptens included in the series (formaldehyde was not included) increased significantly from 2.4% in 1990 to 5.8% in 1998 (odds ratio 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.04-5.73). The prevalence of contact sensitivity to cosmetic-related allergens has been doubled between 1990 and 1998.