IATE Term of the Week: Skin Sensitiser


Tattoos and permanent make-up have been on the rise for a number of years, particularly the relatively recent method of tattooing make-up for a more permanent effect.

Surprisingly, there is as of yet no harmonised control in the European Union on tattoo and permanent make-up inks which can be harmful to people, even though some substances have been banned already in the production of cosmetics. Some substances present in these inks are subject to certain harmonised classifications, such as carcinogens or skin sensitisers.


The European Chemicals Agency, during a meeting in Helsinki early last week proposed the restriction of these hazardous substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up, even though only some of them were present in these inks. This is done in order to prevent their potential use as substitutes in the future. For this reason, we have chosen to focus on the term skin sensitiser and make it our IATE Term of the Week.

In essence, skin sensitisers are substances that, when in contact with the skin, would cause an allergic reaction. These hazardous materials come in two different types: chemicals and proteins in natural material. The chemical allergy in the skin usually develops over time, while the protein allergy usually happens very quickly.

Apart from certain types of inks, these sensitisers can be found in different chemicals and in different sources, proving to be a risk to a number of different professions.

You can check out this term in our IATE database in over 20 languages.

Skin sensitiser IATE

IATE Term FINAL Skin Sensitiser

Look out for our next IATE Term of the Week next Friday.


  • European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2003). Available here [Accessed 27 October 2017)
  • European Chemicals Agency (2017). Available here [Accessed 25 October 2017
  • VelocityEHS (2001-2017). Available here [Accessed 27 October 2017]


Written by Veronica Lynn MizziTrainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). Graduate in the Maltese Language and Communication, and Master’s graduate in Translation and Terminology Studies from the University of Malta. Former journalist