Incidence, nature and causality assessment of cutaneous adverse reactions to cosmetics: a pilot study

Fatma Al Mulla, Sathvik Belagodu Sridhar, Atiqulla Shariff, Ghada Abu Al Hassan


Background: Adverse reactions (ARs) are one of the most important causes of morbidity, hospitalization and increased healthcare cost. ARs to cosmetics are often underreported. The aim of our study was to assess the incidence, nature, causality and the outcome of ARs to cosmetics.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study conducted in a dermatology outpatient clinic of a secondary care hospital of UAE. All the patients with suspected AR to cosmetics and reporting to dermatology clinic were included. The required data were collected from patient case files, patients and their caretakers. The Colipa causality scale was used to assess the causality of reported ARs.

Results: The incidence of cutaneous ARs to cosmetics was 1.58%. Shampoo was the most common [7 (16.6%)] type of cosmetic suspected to cause AR, followed by face cream [6 (14.2%)]. The most common cutaneous AR to cosmetics observed in our study was rash and pruritus [13 (30.9%)] followed by itching [10 (23.8%)]. The majority of the cutaneous ARs in our study were on scalp, face and lower limbs each contributing about 21.4%. Causality assessment reveals that 16 (38%) of the cutaneous ARs were very likely type, while 25 (60%) of ARs were of not clearly attributable to use of cosmetic/s.

Conclusions: Good number of the adverse reactions documented were mild in nature. Majority of the adverse reactions were not clearly attributable type. The results of this study can form a basis for creating awareness regarding the most common cosmetics associated with ARs. The study fosters the role of initiating cosmetovigilance activities.


Cutaneous adverse reactions, Cosmetics, Cosmetic allergy, Cosmetovigilance

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