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Axillary dermatitis is a common problem, particularly in individuals with contact allergy to fragrances. Many individuals suspect their deodorant to be the causal product of their fragrance allergy. It has been shown that deodorants containing cinnamic aldehyde (cinnamal) can elicit axillary dermatitis in patients sensitized to this substance. The aim of the present investigation was to evaluate the importance of hydroxycitronellal used in deodorants for the development of axillary dermatitis, when applied by individuals with and without contact allergy to this fragrance chemical. Patch tests with deodorants and ethanolic solutions containing hydroxycitronellal, as well as repeated open application tests (ROAT) with roll-on deodorants with and without hydroxycitronellal at different concentrations, were performed in 14 dermatitis patients, 7 with and 7 without contact allergy to hydroxycitronellal. A positive ROAT was noted only in the patients hypersensitive to hydroxycitronellal (P < 0.001) and only in the axilla to which the deodorants containing hydroxycitronellal had been applied (P < 0.001). Deodorants containing hydroxycitronellal in the concentration range of 0.032-0.32% used twice daily on healthy skin in individuals hypersensitive to hydroxycitronellal can elicit axillary dermatitis in a few weeks.


C Svedman, M Bruze, J D Johansen, K E Andersen, A Goossens, P J Frosch, J-P Lepoittevin, S Rastogi, I R White, T Menné. Deodorants: an experimental provocation study with hydroxycitronellal. Contact dermatitis. 2003 Apr;48(4):217-23

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PMID: 12786728

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