Contact allergies to cosmetics: testing with 52 cosmetic ingredients and personal products

Jyoti Tomar, Vijay Kumar Jain, Kamal Aggarwal, Surbhi Dayal, Sanjeev Gupta
Journal of Dermatology 2005, 32 (12): 951-5
Fifty patients of both sexes with clinically suspected cosmetic dermatitis were subjected to patch testing with a cosmetic and fragrance series, approved by the Contact and Occupational Dermatosis Forum of India (CODFI), and with selected allergens from the Indian Standard Series (ISS). Most of these patients were young adults between 10-29 years; the mean age was 27.5 years. The majority of the patients had cosmetic dermatitis of <1 year duration (68%). The occupational profiles of the patients included students (46%), housewives (18%), teachers (10%) and laborers (4%). A miscellaneous group, comprised of tailors, farmers, staff nurses, beauticians, jewellers and engineers, accounted for the remaining 22%. The most commonly involved site was the face, followed by the forehead, neck and scalp. Patch testing of these patients revealed that, out of the 50 subjects tested, thirty-three (66%) reacted to one or more allergens. Fragrance components were the most common offending allergen (51.5%) followed by preservatives (39.3%), paraphenylenediamine (PPD) (21.2%), and cetrimide and tertiary butyl hydroquinone (12.1% each), in descending order of frequency. Hence, patch testing, with the standard series supplemented by personal cosmetics; should be considered for patients with cosmetic dermatitis to determine the offending allergen so as to avoid further contact with that allergen.

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