What is it?
Eugenol is a fragrance used widely in personal care products, flavorings, and over-the-counter medications.
How can I avoid it?
Avoidance of fragranced cosmetics and medication is necessary to prevent contact with this substance. Ingestion of eugenol in foods is a rare cause of dermatitis. Avoidance requires reading labels, package inserts, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and on occasion, direct communication with the manufacturer.
Direct contact with foods or products containing eugenol 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.
The avoidance of fragrances and flavoring agents such as eugenol 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.
Since some fragrances are also flavors, foods can, rarely, cause flare-ups of dermatitis in fragrance-sensitive individuals. Particularly if you have oral or lip allergies as discussed with your health care provider, you should avoid foods prepared with eugenol.
- Antioxidants for plastics and rubber
- Flowers (roses, carnations, hyacinths, and violets)
- Foods, candies, gums, beverages, various, as a flavoring or spice
- Food spices
- Household products
- Air fresheners/Aromatherapy/Potpourri
- Cleaning products/Soaps/Detergents (A preferred household cleaner is diluted white vinegar.)
- Furniture polish
- Laundry care (detergent, softeners)
- Perfumes/Colognes/After-shaves/Toilet water
- 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
- Skin care products/Cosmetics
- Hair sprays, gels, tonics, and lotions
- Hair colorants/“Permanents-relaxers”
- Nail polish/Nail polish remover
- Oral and dental care products as a flavoring
- Cough mixtures
- Dental cement
- Dental impression agents
- Dental packing
- Dental paste
- Toothache drops
- Throat tablets and lozenges
Other names for Eugenol:
- 2 Methoxy-4-allyphenol
- Eugenic Acid
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances:
- Balsam of Peru (myroxylon pereirae)
- Cinnamic aldehyde