Natural perfumes likely to cause allergic reactions

February 4th, 2009 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 4 (IANS) Natural fragrances or aromatic oils, often deemed harmless compared to synthetic perfumes, may also cause allergies, according to research in Germany.Many suffer from allergy to perfumes - even those that seem harmless. New eczema-provoking allergens are formed by reaction with acid in the ambient air (known as autoxidation) or with skin enzymes.

Even in case of natural aromas or essential oils, manufacturers believe that natural antioxidants in these oils offer protection against autoxidation thus making them safer and longer lasting than artificial perfumes.

Lina Hagvall, University of Gothenburg chemistry researcher, examined natural lavender oil in her thesis. Her results show that essential oils do not prevent the formation of allergenic substances through reactions with acid; something which had not previously been possible to confirm, said a Gothenburg release.

Hagvall’s thesis also examines geraniol, a common constituent of perfumes like rose oil, which her study found to be only slightly allergenic. However, through autoxidation and reaction with skin enzymes, the substance is activated and becomes allergic.

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