UK trends of allergic occupational skin disease attributed to fragrances 1996-2015

Rachel Montgomery, Raymond Agius, Mark Wilkinson, Melanie Carder

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Fragrances are well known to cause allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). Occupationally related cases occur, with certain groups being at higher risk.

To investigate the incidence of occupationally related cases of cutaneous fragrance allergy and to evaluate trends.

Data on incident cases of occupational ACD caused by fragrances between 1996 and 2015 (inclusive) reported to the EPIDERM surveillance scheme were analysed.

Of the cases reported to EPIDERM during the study period, 5.2% had ACD attributed to fragrances. The highest annual incidence rates were observed in women. Hairdressers, beauticians and people working in related occupations had a 47-fold higher incidence rate ratio than the reference category (the average of all other occupations combined). Trends analysis suggested a non-significant increase in fragrance allergy over the study period among all occupations, and beauty and food workers, and a slight decrease in healthcare workers.

Fragrance allergy is a significant problem in an occupational setting. Although there was no significant change in the incidence of fragrance-related allergic occupational contact dermatitis (OCD) during the 20-year study period, this does not mirror the trend in OCD, which is falling. Fragrance allergy continues to be a major contributor to OCD, and contributes to a greater proportion of cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
JournalContact dermatitis
Issue number1
Early online date27 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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