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Limonene is a common fragrance terpene that, in its pure form, is not allergenic or is a very weak allergen. However, limonene autoxidizes on air exposure, and the oxidation products can cause contact allergy. Oxidized R-limonene has previously been patch tested in multicentre studies, giving 2-3% positive patch test reactions in consecutive patients. To investigate whether oxidized R-limonene 3.0% in petrolatum, with a stable concentration of the main haptens, limonene hydroperoxides (Lim-OOHs), could be a useful tool for the detection of contact allergy in an international setting. Oxidized R-limonene 3.0% (Lim-OOHs 0.33%) pet. was tested in 2900 consecutive dermatitis patients in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Australia. Overall, 5.2% (range 2.3-12.1%) of the patients showed a positive patch test reaction to oxidized R-limonene. Doubtful reactions were found in 7.0% of the patients (range 0-24%). Few irritant reactions were seen. Oxidized R-limonene at 3.0% pet. with a specified content of Lim-OOHs 0.33% is a standardized and useful tool for the detection of contact allergy in dermatitis patients. Many patients showing positive patch test reactions to oxidized R-limonene would not be informed of their fragrance allergy if this specific test had not been performed. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


Johanna Bråred Christensson, Klaus E Andersen, Magnus Bruze, Jeanne D Johansen, Begoña Garcia-Bravo, Ana Giménez-Arnau, Chee-Leok Goh, Rosemary Nixon, Ian R White. An international multicentre study on the allergenic activity of air-oxidized R-limonene. Contact dermatitis. 2013 Apr;68(4):214-23

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PMID: 23510342

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