Majority of ‘hypoallergenic’ skin care products products contain ingredients that can cause dermatological irritation, new study finds

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • A study of 208 hypoallergenic product found three in four caused skin irritation
  • Researchers found ingredients that have previously been linked to allergies¬†¬†

Most personal care products that claim to be hypoallergenic still contain ingredients that can cause uncomfortable skin conditions, a major study has found.

The term is used by firms to advertise products, such as shampoos and deodorants, which are deemed safe for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

It means the item does not contain ingredients that can irritate the skin, and most pharmacies now stock ranges of cosmetics, shaving foams and body washes labelled as hypoallergenic.

But a report by researchers at Wrexham Maelor Hospital found that out of 208 hypoallergenic products sold in the UK, nearly three-quarters contained an ingredient that triggers allergies.

Experts say the findings raise serious questions about the liberal use of the term.

Researchers tested 208 hypoallergenic products on sale in Britain and found three quarters contained ingredients linked to skin complaints

One in five British people suffer with some form of skin complaint, research has shown

One in five British people suffer with some form of skin complaint, research has shown

‘Companies are increasingly advertising their products as hypoallergenic, meaning ‘reduced allergy’,’ write the study authors. ‘Marketing may not reflect the products’ true allergenicity.’

Research suggests that about a fifth of the UK population experience allergic skin reactions to certain products, such as the condition dermatitis. Meanwhile surveys suggest that around two-thirds of people in the UK report having sensitive skin.

The research, published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, found that the most common allergen in hypoallergenic products was a fragrance, present in 40 per cent of products tested.

Earlier this year, the British Association of Dermatologists issued a warning to patients with skin conditions concerning the unregulated nature of products labelled hypoallergenic.

‘It’s important that consumers are aware that it is not unusual for products to contain common allergens,’ said Prof Mabs Chowdhury, president of the association. ‘There is no official standard for what constitutes a hypoallergenic product. However, it is reasonable for users to expect these products will be unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.’

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