The prevalence and morbidity of sensitization to fragrance mix I in the general population

Br J Dermatol. 2009 Jul;161(1):95-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09157.x. Epub 2009 Apr 24.


Background: The prevalence of sensitization to fragrance mix (FM) I and Myroxylon pereirae (MP, balsam of Peru) has decreased in recent years among Danish women with dermatitis.

Objectives: This study investigated whether the decrease could be confirmed among women in the general population. Furthermore, it addressed the morbidity of FM I sensitization.

Methods: In 1990, 1998 and 2006, 4299 individuals aged 18-69 years (18-41 years only in 1998) completed a premailed questionnaire and were patch tested to FM I and MP. Data were analysed by logistic regression analyses and associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: The prevalence of FM I and MP sensitization followed an inverted V-pattern among women aged 18-41 years (i.e. an increase from 1990 to 1998, followed by a decrease from 1998 to 2006). Logistic regression analyses showed that 'medical consultation due to cosmetic dermatitis' (OR 3.37, 95% CI 1.83-6.20) and 'cosmetic dermatitis within the past 12 months' (OR 3.53, CI 2.02-6.17) were significantly associated with sensitization to FM I.

Conclusions: In line with trends observed in Danish patients with dermatitis, our results supported a recent decrease in the prevalence of FM I and MP sensitization in Denmark. The study also showed that fragrance sensitization was associated with self-reported cosmetic dermatitis and use of health care related to cosmetic dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Balsams / adverse effects*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myroxylon / adverse effects*
  • Patch Tests
  • Perfume / adverse effects*
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult


  • Balsams
  • Perfume
  • Plant Preparations
  • Peruvian balsam