Not only oxidized R-(+)- but also S-(-)-limonene is a common cause of contact allergy in dermatitis patients in Europe

Mihaly Matura, Maria Skold, Anna Borje, Klaus E. Andersen, Magnus Bruze, Peter Frosch, An Goossens, Jeanne D. Johansen, Cecilia Svedman, Ian R. White, Ann-Therese Karlberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Limonene, one of the most often used fragrance terpenes in any kind of scented products, is prone to air-oxidation. The oxidation products formed have a considerable sensitizing potential. In previous patch test studies on consecutively tested dermatitis patients, oxidized R-limonene has been proven to be a good and frequent indicator of fragrance-related contact allergy. The current study extends these investigations to 6 European clinics of dermatology, where the oxidation mixture of both enantiomers of limonene (R and S) have been tested in 2411 dermatitis patients. Altogether, 63 out of 2411 patients tested (2.6%) reacted to 1 or both the oxidized limonene preparations. Only 2.3% reacted to the oxidized R-limonene and 2.0% to the oxidized S-limonene. In 57% of the cases, simultaneous reactions were observed to both oxidation mixtures. Concomitant reactions to the fragrance mix, colophonium, Myroxylon pereirae, and fragrance-related contact allergy were common in patients reacting to 1 or both the oxidized limonene enantiomers. Our study provides clinical evidence for the importance of oxidation products of limonene in contact allergy. It seems advisable to screen consecutive dermatitis patients with oxidized limonene 3% petrolatum, although this patch test material is not yet commercially available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-279
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Dermatology and Venereal Diseases

Free keywords

  • fragrance allergy
  • limonene
  • autoxidation
  • patch test
  • reactions
  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • cross
  • hydroperoxides
  • oxidation
  • products
  • fragrance mix


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