Skin Sensitization Induction Potential From Daily Exposure to Fragrances in Personal Care Products

Dermatitis. 2018 Nov/Dec;29(6):324-331. doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000412.


Background: Many chemicals used for fragrance purposes in a diversity of products have allergenic potential. Based on such concerns, industry groups developed concentration limits for use of fragrance chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products.

Objective: The aim of this study was to use a quantitative risk assessment to evaluate the potential for skin sensitization induction resulting from daily exposure to fragrance chemicals present in personal care and cosmetic products.

Methods: Product-specific dermal consumer exposure levels were calculated based on product use data in US adult females and benchmarked against acceptable exposure levels based on reported no expected sensitization induction levels to determine a margin of safety for each fragrance under evaluation.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate an increased risk of skin sensitization induction for several leave-on products (lipstick, solid antiperspirant, eye shadow, face cream) for most of the evaluated fragrance chemicals, particularly under high-use exposure scenarios. In contrast, rinse-off products (shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser) were not associated with risk of skin sensitization induction. Because the approach was based on maximum use limits for fragrance chemicals with skin sensitization concerns, the results suggest these limits may not be protective, particularly in the United States.

MeSH terms

  • Antiperspirants / adverse effects
  • Body Surface Area
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Cosmetics / administration & dosage
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Female
  • Hair Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Hair Preparations / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Perfume / administration & dosage
  • Perfume / adverse effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin Cream / administration & dosage
  • Skin Cream / adverse effects


  • Antiperspirants
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair Preparations
  • Perfume