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Misleading Moisturizers on Store Shelves

Posted On: 09-08-2017
Misleading Moisturizers on Store Shelves
A study performed at Northwestern University and published in JAMA Dermatology shows that many skin moisturizers make misleading claims about being hypoallergenic or free of fragrance. In fact, some may even irritate skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.

For the study, researchers looked at 100 of the top selling whole-body moisturizers sold at major stores in the United States. They used information from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG), which identifies skin allergens such as parabens or fragrances. Of the products analyzed, 83 percent of the ones that claimed to be hypoallergenic contained a potentially allergenic chemical. Researchers also found that 45 percent of the products labeled as fragrance-free actually contained a botanical ingredient, or an ingredient that reacts to a fragrance that can lead to skin rash or allergy.

In total, only 12 percent of the moisturizers that were studied were free of allergens.

According to Dr. Steve Xu, the study’s senior author and a resident physician in dermatology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, manufacturers do not have to list every fragrance chemical in their products. This is concerning because fragrances contribute most to skin allergies related to cosmetics, and it can make it tricky for dermatologists to fully recommend a product if they don’t know what it contains.

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