Allergen of the Year: Fragrance

Frances J. Storrs


Dermatitis. 2007;18(1):3-7. 

In This Article

Regulation of Fragrance Ingredients

Recently, the European Union (EU) designated 26 fragrance allergens as requiring labeling on cosmetic and detergent products.[15] This labeling must occur if the concentration of the designated ingredient exceeds 100 parts per million (ppm) for a rinse-off product and 10 ppm for a leave-on product. International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) names must be used.[13,16] Table 1 lists all the FM I and FM II ingredients plus others.

It is difficult to fully comprehend the criteria used for the inclusion of these chemicals. Not everyone agrees with the selection of the 26 allergens.[13] Nonetheless, such labeling is a start, and if patients know what chemicals they are allergic to, they can avoid or cautiously use the suspect products. For example, this has recently permitted an analysis of washed fabrics in regard to 24 of the 26 EU allergens. The EU list allowed the investigators to determine that the likelihood that fragrances left on fabrics by laundering could cause a clothing pattern dermatitis was very low as their threshold concentrations were below induction levels.[17]

Once it is known with certainty just what chemicals are used frequently in fragrances and whether or not they are common allergens, selective and rational labeling will make even more sense.


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