The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has published standards, which restrict the use of, or in some cases ban, some ingredients that have been shown to cause harmful reactions to some susceptible users. These guidelines are “policed” and have resulted in the complete removal of some natural ingredients from the perfumery palette, e.g. costus and calamus oilsa.
The EU legislation, 26th Cosmetics Directive, 7th Amendment, was designed to inform consumers about the presence of, but not eliminate, the fragrance and cosmetic use of 26 ingredients, which have been allegedly shown to cause cases of skin reactionb. IFRA restricts some, is restricting others and has concluded that the number of cases of sensitization is too small to warrant controlc.
In an attempt to clarify terminology, sensitizers (allergens) are different from irritants, although there are many interchanges of the terms. The Health and Safety Executive— United Kingdom (HSE) has defined sensitizers as “substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or if they penetrate the skin, are capable of eliciting a reaction by hyper-sensitization such that on further exposure to the substance or preparation, characteristic adverse effects are produced.”