Research suggests fragrance ingredients exacerbate skin conditions

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sweden

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, say that studies they have carried out suggest that fragrance ingredients commonly used in shampoos and skin creams may be a trigger for eczema.

The most recent study findings at the University suggest that considerably more people suffer allergic reaction to common fragrances found in a cross spectrum of cosmetic and personal care products that previously thought.

The study results were taken from a thesis and presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, part of the Gothenburg University, in which it was highlighted that 5 per cent of those who underwent patch testing showed an allergic reaction to the air oxidized form of the fragrance ingredient linalool.

Ingredient is plant-derived and natural

The ingredient is a naturally occurring alcohol that is found in many flowers and spice plants, from which an extract is derived that provides a pleasantly scented fragrance.

It is estimated that linalool is currently used as a fragrance in as much as 80 per cent of cosmetic and personal, including soaps and a broad range of skin care and hair care products.

"I would suspect that about 2 per cent of the complete population of Sweden are allergic to air oxidized linalool,”​ said dermatologist Johanna Bråred Christensson, author of the thesis.

Widespread use of the ingredient poses risk

Christensson went on to point out that, although the estimated percentage of the population suffering from the allergy appears low, the fact that this fragrance ingredient appears in the vast majority of cosmetic and personal care programme does make it noteworthy.

"One way of trying to minimize exposure to oxidized linalool is to avoid buying large packs of soap and shower cream, and always to replace the top after using a bottle​."

On the back of previous research indicating allergic reactions to linalool, EU legislation currently states that any manufacturing that includes the ingredient in a formulation must clearly specify it as an ingredient on the product label.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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