• Niels H. BennikeEmail author
  • Jeanne Duus Johansen
Reference work entry


Aromatherapy is defined as the therapeutic use of essential oils for physical and psychological well-being. Topical application of essential oils is most common in aromatherapy, while systemic exposure is mainly through inhalation, less common by ingestion. More than 80 essential oils are known contact allergens, and several of these are among the most used in aromatherapy, both in a professional setting and used for self-treatment of symptoms. Only few essential oils are specifically not recommended for use in aromatherapy due to the risk of sensitization. Most aromatherapists are trained within other professions as well and are often exposed to common irritants such as wet work, detergents, and disinfectants. Hand eczema is the most common clinical presentation in aromatherapists suffering from allergic contact dermatitis. Patch testing in aromatherapists should be done with standard screening markers for fragrance allergy as well as all essential oils handled by the individual in appropriate dilutions (1–5%). Additional patch testing can include suspected individual fragrance chemicals in a fragrance series.


Alternative medicine Essential oils Fragrance allergy Hand eczema Inhalation Massage Phototoxic reactions Self-treatment Terpenes 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Allergy Research Centre, Department of Dermatology and AllergyHerlev-Gentofte University HospitalHellerupDenmark

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