March 30, 2009

Some with eczema allergic to fragrance

About 5 percent of those with eczema were allergic to the air oxidized form of a popular shampoo and soap fragrance, a researcher in Sweden said.

Dermatologist Johanna Brared Christensson said considerably more people than previously believed are allergic to the most common fragrance ingredient -- linalool -- used in shampoos, conditioners and soap.

I would suspect that about 2 percent of the complete population of Sweden are allergic to air oxidized linalool. That may not sound like very much but it is serious since linalool is so widely used as a fragrance ingredient, Christensson said in a statement.

Linalool is found in 60 percent to 80 percent of the perfumed hygiene products, washing up liquids and household cleaning agents that can be bought in the nearest supermarket and it can be difficult for people who are allergic to avoid these products.

About 1-in-5 people in Sweden has some form of contact allergy, nickel is by far the most common substance that causes eczema, but the thesis shows that oxidized linalool occupies third place in the list, after nickel and cobalt, Christensson said.

In the study, oxidized linalool was added at patch testing for more than 3,000 patients who wanted to find out what was causing their eczema and 5 percent to 7 percent proved to be allergic to the oxidized form of the fragrance ingredient.

The thesis was presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden.