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Contact Dermatitis. 2002 Nov;47(5):279-87.

Further important sensitizers in patients sensitive to fragrances.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Klinikum Dortmund gGmbH and University of Witten/Herdecke, Dortmund, Germany.


In order to find sensitizers additional to the current fragrance mix (FM) a series of fragrance materials (series II) was evaluated in 6 dermatological centres in Europe. 11 of the test materials were essential oils, the remaining 7 being either mixtures of isomers or simple chemicals of frequent usage in the perfume industry. 1606 patients were consecutively tested with series II and 8% FM. Each patient was classified regarding a history of adverse reactions to scented products: certain, probable, questionable, none. Reactions to FM occurred most frequently in 11.4% of the subjects. The 6 materials with the highest reactivity after the FM were ylang-ylang oil (YY) I (2.6%), YY II (2.5%), lemongrass oil (1.6%), narcissus absolute (1.3%), jasmine absolute (1.2%) and sandalwood oil (0.9%). 48 (3.0%) of the patients reacted only to materials of series II and not to FM. 6.0% of 1606 patients gave a history of adverse reactions to fragrances which was classified as certain. This group reacted to FM only in 22.9%, to series II and FM in 15.6% and to series II only in 5.2%. 63.5% of the patients reacting to both FM and 1 of the materials of series II had some type of positive fragrance history, which was higher in comparison to those with isolated reactions to FM (46.2% of 121) or to series II, respectively, (45.8% of 48). However, this difference was not statistically significant. In conclusion, the materials of series II identified a further subset of patients with a fragrance problem, which would have been missed by the current FM as the single screening tool for patch testing.

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