More than 10 percent of the nation’s population has eczema, a common disease where skin becomes inflamed, red, itchy and scaly. Those of you with children should listen up—although eczema can occur in adults, 10 to 20 percent of infants suffer from eczema. Without a known cause for the disease, it’s important to avoid certain chemicals like those identified in the following study. Usually we don’t know which chemicals are to blame for allergic skin reactions, but now there is convincing evidence that oxidized Linalool, the most common fragrance ingredient in shampoos, conditioners and soap, is the cause of many outbreaks.
Linalool is a naturally-occuring chemical found in several flowers and plants, making it common in products that have spicy floral scents like lavender and mint.
In a study conducted by the University of Gothenburg, individuals who already had eczema were given a patch test with oxidized Linalool where researchers placed the patch containing Linalool directly on skin not affected by dermatitis for 48 hours. More than five percent of the people showed an allergic reaction to the fragrance ingredient. In fact, Linalool now ranks third, behind Nickel and Cobalt as likely to create an allergic skin reaction, including eczema.
Because Linalool can be hard to avoid—it’s found in 60 to 80 percent of perfumed personal and household products, make sure to read the labels of products before you buy. Also, immediately replace caps on products and avoid buying soaps in large quantities to steer clear of exposure to oxidized Linalool.