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Contact Dermatitis. 2015 Aug;73(2):69-81. doi: 10.1111/cod.12424. Epub 2015 Jun 15.

Patch testing with hair cosmetic series in Europe: a critical review and recommendation.

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Department of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, D-91054, Erlangen, Germany.
Occupational Diseases Department, University Hospital of Centre of Paris COCHIN, AP-HP, 75014, Paris, France.
Laboratoire Santé Publique et Environnement, EA 4064, Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 75014, Paris, France.
Department of Dermatology, University of Witten/Herdecke and Klinikum Dortmund (formerly), 44137, Dortmund, Germany.
Department of Dermatology, Hospital del Mar, Institut Mar d'Ínvestigacions Mediques Universitat Autònoma, 08003, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine and Health Theory, University of Osnabrueck, 49076, Osnabrueck, Germany.
Laboratoire de Dermatochimie ILB, CNRS, University of Strasbourg, F-67081, Strasbourg, France.
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, SE-17177, Stockholm, Sweden.
St John's Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, SE1 7EH, UK.
Department of Dermato-Allergology, National Allergy Research Centre, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, 2900, Hellerup, Denmark.


Many key ingredients of hair cosmetics (in particular, dyes, bleaches, and hair-styling agents) are potent (strong to extreme) contact allergens. Some heterogeneity is apparent from published results concerning the range of allergens for which patch testing is important. The objective of the present review was to collect information on the current practice of using 'hair cosmetic series', and discuss this against the background of evidence concerning consumer/professional exposure and regulatory aspects to finally derive a recommendation for a 'European hair cosmetic series'. The methods involved (i) a survey targeting all members of the COST action 'StanDerm' (TD1206) consortium, (ii) analysis of data in the database of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA), and (iii) literature review. Information from 19 European countries was available, partly from national networks, and partly from one or several departments of dermatology or, occasionally, occupational medicine. Apart from some substances being tested only in single departments, a broad overlap regarding 'important' allergens was evident. Some of the substances are no longer permitted for use in cosmetics (Annex II of the Cosmetics Regulation). An up-to-date 'European hair cosmetics series', as recommended in the present article, should (i) include broadly used and/or potent contact allergens, (ii) eliminate substances of only historical concern, and (iii) be continually updated as new evidence emerges.


contact allergy; diagnostic patch testing; hair cosmetics; standardization

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