Usage patterns of aromatherapy among the French general population: A descriptive study focusing on dermal exposure

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016 Apr:76:87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2016.01.016. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


Although likely benefits of aromatherapy are well documented, little is known about essential oils consumption and exposure to molecules present in the oils. The aim of our study was to determine usage patterns of 12 types of essential oils among a quite large panel, sorted per sex and quintile of age from birth to 70. A survey was conducted in September 2014 among 1507 French individuals, selected to build a representative panel of the general population. The key point of our study, apart from the fact that it has never been done among general population, was the focus on dermal exposure. Information about types of essential oils used, skin areas exposed, frequencies and quantities were collected. Our work revealed that some sub-populations could be significantly exposed to molecules of toxicological concern, especially in terms of skin sensitization. This work is the first step to assess human exposure to these molecules, and will help safety authorities and risk managers to protect the population.

Keywords: Aromatherapy; Consumption; Dermal exposure; French population; Lack of regulation; Sensitization.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aromatherapy / adverse effects
  • Aromatherapy / trends*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage*
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects
  • Perfume / administration & dosage*
  • Perfume / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Perfume