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Keywords:

  • contact dermatitis;
  • contact sensitization;
  • cosmetics;
  • fragrance sensitization;
  • general population;
  • public health

Summary

Background  The prevalence of sensitization to fragrance mix (FM) I and Myroxylon pereirae (MP, balsam of Peru) has decreased in recent years among Danish women with dermatitis.

Objectives  This study investigated whether the decrease could be confirmed among women in the general population. Furthermore, it addressed the morbidity of FM I sensitization.

Methods  In 1990, 1998 and 2006, 4299 individuals aged 18–69 years (18–41 years only in 1998) completed a premailed questionnaire and were patch tested to FM I and MP. Data were analysed by logistic regression analyses and associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results  The prevalence of FM I and MP sensitization followed an inverted V-pattern among women aged 18–41 years (i.e. an increase from 1990 to 1998, followed by a decrease from 1998 to 2006). Logistic regression analyses showed that ‘medical consultation due to cosmetic dermatitis’ (OR 3·37, 95% CI 1·83–6·20) and ‘cosmetic dermatitis within the past 12 months’ (OR 3·53, CI 2·02–6·17) were significantly associated with sensitization to FM I.

Conclusions  In line with trends observed in Danish patients with dermatitis, our results supported a recent decrease in the prevalence of FM I and MP sensitization in Denmark. The study also showed that fragrance sensitization was associated with self-reported cosmetic dermatitis and use of health care related to cosmetic dermatitis.