Vitamin E, of which the most biologically active form is a-tocopherol, has become widely known for its antioxidant effects. It has been ingested or applied topically for purported anti-aging effects and for cosmetic enhancement.
To determine whether the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis from vitamin E has increased in recent years.
With the approval of the Mayo Clinic institutional review board, we retrospectively analyzed patch-test data from patients tested from June 1987 through December 2007.
A total of 2,950 patients were patch-tested during this period, and 18 patients (0.61%) had positive reactions to a-tocopherol; 6 (0.53%) of 1,136 patients tested from June 1987 through December 1997 had positive results, and 12 (0.66%) of 1,814 patients tested from January 1998 through December 2007 had positive results (p = .69).
Vitamin E appears to be a relatively rare contact allergen in our experience.