What is it?
Anethole is primarily a flavoring. It is also a fragrance used in a variety of products such as personal care products, flavorings, essential oils in perfumes, and in industrial use.
How can I avoid it?
Skin contact with anethole is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing anethole should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the U.S. for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skin care products for this ingredient. If there is no information ask your pharmacist or call the company directly. At work, request a material safety data sheet (MSDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.
The avoidance of fragrances and flavoring agents such as anethole can be difficult since so many everyday products contain these substances. One should use only fragrance-free cosmetic and household products. “Unscented” products may contain low levels of a fragrance to cover up an undesirable odor and also should be avoided. Products labeled as “hypoallergenic” do not assure that the product is truly free of fragrance.
Since fragrances are complex mixtures of many ingredients, an individual may tolerate one fragrance but not another. A trial-and-error method of avoiding a fragrance allergen in a product can be performed by applying the product to the forearm in the same small area twice a day for a week. If no dermatitis develops, the product may likely be used safely.
Direct contact with foods or products containing anethole may cause symptoms including burning, irritation, and redness. Direct contact may occur on the skin, lips, or mouth. It is possible, but rare, that ingestion of this substance could cause generalized symptoms such as itching or redness of the skin.
- Perfumes/Colognes/After-shaves/Toilet water
- Skin care products/Cosmetics
- Hair sprays, gels, tonics, and lotions
- Hair colorants/“Permanents-relaxers”
- Nail Polish/Nail polish remover
- Toothpaste/dental floss
- Medications, topical, prescription and over the counter such as:
- Creams, ointments, solutions
- Foot and other powders
- Nasal decongestants
- Herbal remedies, including traditional Chinese medications
- Wound dressings
- Household products
- Air fresheners/Aromatherapy/Potpourri
- Cleaning products/Soaps/Detergents (A preferred household cleaner is diluted white vinegar.)
- Furniture polish
- Laundry care (detergent, softeners)?
- Foods, candies, gum, beverages including absinthe as a flavoring
- Oral care products as a flavoring
- Cough mixtures
- Throat tablets and lozenges
- Industrial/Manufacturing/Construction uses
- Embedding materials in microscopy
- Metal working fluids
- Sheet metal
- Water proofing
- Agrichemical – insecticide, fungicide, and pesticide
- Alcoholic drinks – ouzo, raki, Pernod, and absinthe
- Antihelmintic (anti-worms)