Benzophenone 4: an emerging allergen in cosmetics and toiletries?

Contact Dermatitis. 2007 Mar;56(3):153-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2007.01017.x.


Chemical ultraviolet (UV) filters have, over the last few decades, been increasingly used not only in conventional sunscreen products but also in many cosmetics and toiletries. Allergic contact dermatitis as well as photoallergic contact dermatitis reactions have been well documented as a consequence of such use. Over a 3-year period, we recorded the number of positive patch test reactions to a selection of chemical UV filters that we added to our usual cosmetics/facial series. Our objective was to investigate whether any of these filters produced significant numbers of positive patch test results in the absence of photostimulation. Our results show that not only did benzophenone 4 (2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone-5-sulphonic acid: sulisobenzone) produce significantly more positive patch test results than the other UV filters that were tested, but also it was the third most frequently positive result overall. Our findings would support the inclusion of benzophenone 4 when patch testing to investigate likely contact dermatitis from cosmetics and toiletries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Benzophenones / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / pathology
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Patch Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sunscreening Agents / adverse effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Allergens
  • Benzophenones
  • Cosmetics
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • sulisobenzone