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By their very nature as small, lipophilic chemicals capable of stimulating olfactory receptors, fragrance ingredients have an innate ability to penetrate the skin. Depending on their chemical reactivity, some of these ingredients have the potential to sensitize individuals on repeated application; whether they do so or not depends primarily on dose and exposure conditions. These factors have been extensively reviewed as discussed recently by Kimber et al. These researchers make the case, based on earlier work by Kligman, Friedmann and others, that dose per unit area is the relevant metric for assessing the risk of skin sensitization under most conditions. This thought process forms the basis for established risk assessment and management methods for fragrances and fragranced products—a process that is coordinated for the industry by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and its research arm, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM).
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