• cosmetics;
  • contact allergy;
  • patch test;
  • epidemiology;
  • prevalence


Cosmetic allergic contact dermatitis (CACD) due to common cosmetic allergens in standard series has been extensively studied; however, the prevalence of contact allergy to other cosmetic allergens other than those in standard series is largely unknown. In this study, the frequency of contact sensitization to a European cosmetic series of allergens (Chemotechnique Diagnostics, Vellinge, Sweden) in healthy university student volunteers were detected in Beijing. Of 201 students studied, fifty-eight exhibited positive results, and 9 of them reported had cosmetics related dermatitis previously. The total positivity rate was not correlated to gender. The leading allergens were thimerosal (19.4%), shellac (3.0%), cocamidopropyl betaine (2.0%), hexamethylenetetramine (1.5%), dodecyl gallate (1.5%), hexahydro-1,3,5-tris-(2-hydroxyethyl)triazine (1.0%) and methyldibromo glutaronitrile (1.0%). The positivity rate of thimerosal patch test in men (9.8%) was lower than that of women (23.6%, P < 0.05, Chi square test), but no difference could be found between the prevalence of other cosmetic allergens in men and women (P > 0.05, Chi square test). These results suggested that some cosmetic-related contact allergies may be missed by just testing patients with the European standard series or T.R.U.E. test system only, we recommend shellac, cocamidopropyl betaine, hexamethylenetetramine and dodecyl gallate as the additionally candidates for patch testing in patients with suspected CACD.