Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2011, Article ID 467071, 6 pages
Review Article

Contact-Allergic Reactions to Cosmetics

Department of Dermatology, Contact Allergy Unit, K. U. Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Received 30 November 2010; Accepted 11 January 2011

Academic Editor: Fabienne Rancé

Copyright © 2011 An Goossens. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Contact-allergic reactions to cosmetics may be delayed-type reactions such as allergic and photo-allergic contact dermatitis, and more exceptionally also immediate-type reactions, that is, contact urticaria. Fragrances and preservative agents are the most important contact allergens, but reactions also occur to category-specific products such as hair dyes and other hair-care products, nail cosmetics, sunscreens, as well as to antioxidants, vehicles, emulsifiers, and, in fact, any possible cosmetic ingredient. Patch and prick testing to detect the respective culprits remains the golden standard for diagnosis, although additional tests might be useful as well. Once the specific allergens are identified, the patients should be informed of which products can be safely used in the future.