Contact allergy to cosmetic allergens: a five-year study

Gabija Rudzikaitė-Fergizė1 , Kotryna Linauskienė2, Laura Malinauskienė2

1Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania

2 Clinic of Chest Diseases, Immunology and Allergology, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania


Background. One fifth of cosmetics users experience adverse reactions and up to 10% of them are of allergic origin.

The aim of this study is to analyze cosmetic allergy trends in 2014-2018.

Materials and methods. Study included 1425 patients patch-tested with European baseline and 463 – with cosmetic series (Chemotechnique Diagnostics). The incidence of cosmetic allergy in five years increased from 36,84% in 2014 to 46,21% 2018; peaking in 2016 (57,61%). Female and atopic patients had higher rates of cosmetic allergy, with atopic patients being more prone to allergic reactions to emulsifiers, emollients, solvents, surfactants and conditioning agents, p<0,05. The most common cosmetic allergens in European baseline series were methylisothiazolinone (13,19%), its mix with methylchloroisothiazolinone (10,04%), formaldehyde (8,14%) and Balsam of Peru (6,95%). Other prevalent allergens from cosmetic series were Shellac (16,59%), thimerosal (7,51%) and oleamidopropyl dimethylamine (4,96%). Methylisothiazolinone was mostly causing hand skin lesions (p=0,025).

Conslusions. Patients with suspected allergic contact dermatitis and patch tested positive to the European baseline series should undergo cosmetic series or personal products patch testing for more detailed investigation. It is essential to track the trends of cosmetic allergy and take precautions in order to maximize the safety of cosmetics users.

Keywords. Contact allergy, skin patch test, cosmetic allergens, allergic contact dermatitis.