Skin Bliss

Demystifying Skincare

Contact allergies in skincare caused by fragrances

Which allergies can be caused by fragrances?

  • Contact allergies in skincare caused by fragrances

    Contact allergies in skincare caused by fragrances


Contact allergy to fragrance ingredients occurs when an individual has been exposed on the skin to a sufficient dose of a fragrance allergen, for example through its presence in the cosmetic product. It is a life-long, specifically altered reactivity of the immune system involving recognition of the fragrance allergen(s) by immune cells. Once a contact allergy has been developed, cells capable of recognizing and reacting towards the allergen will always be present in the immune system. As a consequence, symptoms - allergic contact dermatitis - may occur upon re-exposure to the fragrance allergen(s) in question.

Allergic contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease characterised by erythema (‘redness’), swelling and vesicles in the acute phase. If exposure continues, it may develop into a chronic condition with scaling and painful fissures of the skin. Allergic contact dermatitis to fragrance ingredients is most often caused by fragranced cosmetic products and usually involves the face and/or hands. It may affect fitness for work and the quality of life of the individual. In the process of developing allergic contact dermatitis, a distinction between the induction (‘sensitisation’) and the elicitation ‘reaction upon re-exposure to the allergen’ phase is made.