The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of sensitization to fatty alcohols in a group of patients with suspected cosmetic or medicament contact dermatitis. From May 1992 to September 1995. we patch tested a series of 5 Italy alcohols on 140 patients. These included 108 females and 38 males aged from 13 to 12 years (mean age 42.5). These patients, who had previously been tested with the GIRDCA standard series, were selected because their clinical lesions or histories indicated topical preparations as the possible source of their contact dermatitis. High-grade fatly alcohols (>99% pure) were used for testing. 34 patients (23.2%). 25 female and 9 male aged from 14 to 72 years, showed a positive patch lest to fatty alcohols. 33 of them to oleyl alcohol. A total of 39 reactions were detected with 5 patients showing more than I positive reaction. Our results show that senzitization to oleyl alcohol is not rare in patients with contact dermatitis due to cosmetics or topical medicaments.