Fragrance allergy in patients with hand eczema - a clinical study

Contact Dermatitis. 2003 Jun;48(6):317-23. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0536.2003.00133.x.


Fragrance allergy and hand eczema are both common among dermatological patients. Fragrance mix (FM) and its constituents have a recognized relevance to exposure to fine fragrances and cosmetic products. Based on extensive chemical analysis and database search, a new selection of fragrances was established, including 14 known fragrance allergens present in products to which hand exposure would occur. A non-irritating patch-test concentration for some fragrances was established in 212 consecutive patients. 658 consecutive patients presenting with hand eczema were patch tested with the European standard series and the developed selection of fragrances. 67 (10.2%) of the 658 patients had a positive reaction to 1 or more of our selection of fragrance chemicals present in the new selection. The most common reactions to fragrances not included in the FM were to citral, Lyral (hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde) and oxidized l-limonene. A concomitant reaction to the FM identified potential fragrance allergy in less than (1/2) of these patients. Exposure assessment and a statistically significant association between a positive patch test to our selected fragrances and patients' history support the relevance of this selection of fragrances. Those with a positive reaction to our selected fragrances were significantly more likely to have 1 or more positive patch tests in the standard series. This observation is the basis for the hypothesis concerning cross-reactivity and the effect of simultaneous exposure. The study found that fragrance allergy could be a common problem in patients with eczema on the hands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Adult
  • Aldehydes / adverse effects
  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Cyclohexenes
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Eugenol / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Hand Dermatoses / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Limonene
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monoterpenes / adverse effects
  • Patch Tests
  • Perfume / adverse effects*
  • Solvents / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terpenes / adverse effects


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Aldehydes
  • Allergens
  • Cyclohexenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Perfume
  • Solvents
  • Terpenes
  • Eugenol
  • Limonene
  • hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde
  • citral