The Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) provides a voluntary reporting system for adverse reactions to cosmetics. However, the reporting is sparse, and the products involved are sometimes difficult to identify.
To investigate how often patients referred for patch testing were tested with the cosmetic products that they had been using themselves, and to improve the reporting to the MPA by the use of photographic documentation of product labels.
Consecutive patients at five dermatology departments who were patch tested with their own cosmetics were included. Reports including protocols of positive patch test results for the patients' own cosmetics and photographs/photocopies of product labels were sent to the MPA.
Three hundred and sixteen of 948 patients (33%) were tested with their own cosmetics, and 15% of these tested positive with one or more products. The number of reports was more than three times higher than in corresponding periods in earlier years. For 79% of the products, photographs/photocopies of the containers were submitted, and for 30%, batch numbers were submitted.
For a substantial number of patients, their own cosmetics were suspected of causing adverse reactions and were therefore tested. During the study, the number of reports to the MPA tripled, and the relevant products were easier to identify.