Contact allergy and allergic contact dermatitis caused by lavender: A retrospective study from an Australian clinic

Contact Dermatitis. 2019 Jul;81(1):37-42. doi: 10.1111/cod.13247. Epub 2019 Apr 16.


Background: Lavender is commonly used in aromatherapy and in a broad range of personal and household products. It has been identified as a contact sensitizer, and has been reported to cause allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).

Objectives: To report our experience with contact allergy and ACD caused by lavender, and to raise awareness of lavender as a potential contact allergen.

Method: A retrospective database review was performed of patients attending patch testing clinics at the Skin and Cancer Foundation, Victoria, Australia, from January 1, 1993 to December 31, 2017.

Results: Among the 2178 patients patch tested with lavender over this period, a total of 58 positive reactions were recorded in 49 individuals, giving a positive patch test prevalence for patients tested with lavender of 2.2%. Twenty-seven patients were diagnosed with ACD. The most common sources of exposure to lavender were personal care products and essential oils. Of the patients with ACD, 74% were tested with lavender absolute, with positive results in 90% of cases.

Conclusion: Lavender is an uncommon cause of ACD but is important to consider, given the potential for exposure through the use of personal care items and essential oils.

Keywords: allergic contact dermatitis; essential oil; face eczema; hand dermatitis; hand eczema; lavender; patch test; sensitization.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects
  • Cosmetics / chemistry
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lavandula / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Patch Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Cosmetics
  • Oils, Volatile