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Keywords:

  • contact allergy;
  • cosmetics;
  • fragrances;
  • oak moss absolute;
  • risk assessment

Oak moss absolute is a long-known, popular natural extract widely used in perfumes. It is reported as the cause of allergic reactions in a significant number of those with perfume allergy. Oak moss absolute has been the target of recent research to identify its allergenic components. Recently, chloroatranol, a hitherto unknown fragrance allergen, was identified in oak moss absolute. The objective was to assess the clinical importance of chloroatranol as a fragrance allergen by characterizing its elicitation profile. 13 patients previously showing a positive patch test to oak moss absolute and chloroatranol were included, together with a control group of 10 patients without sensitization to either of the 2 materials. A serial dilution patch test was performed on the upper back with concentrations ranging from 200 to 0.0063 p.p.m. of chloroatranol in ethanol. Simultaneously, the participant performed an open test simulating the use of perfumes on the volar aspect of the forearms in a randomized and double-blinded design. A solution with 5 p.p.m. chloroatranol was used for 14 days, and, in case of no reaction, the applications were continued for another 14 days with a solution containing 25 p.p.m. All test subjects (13/13) developed an allergic reaction at the site of application of the solution containing chloroatranol. Among them, 12/13 (92%) gave a positive reaction to the 5 p.p.m. solution and 1 to 25 p.p.m. None of the controls reacted (P < 0.001). The use test was terminated at median day 4. The dose eliciting a reaction in 50% of the test subjects at patch testing was 0.2 p.p.m. In conclusion, the hidden exposure to a potent allergen widely used in perfumes has caused a highly sensitized cohort of individuals. Judged from the elicitation profile, chloroatranol is the most potent allergen present in consumer products today.