Latest News: Moisturizer Claims As Hypoallergenic, But It Is Not!

Hypoallergenic Moisturizers

Moisturizer is a vital component of every skin care regimen. The role of moisturizer is to trap the moisture inside our skin and keep it nourished and soft to the touch. In order to get the maximum out of one such product, it is necessary to get an ideal item for your skin type.

This is particularly important for individuals with sensitive skin who experience redness and irritations when using inadequate moisturizer.

Hypoallergenic moisturizers are usually recommended to people with sensitive skin or those who are allergic to common ingredients found in most products.

The latest study made a shocking discovery; it turns out a vast majority of these products aren’t hypoallergenic at all.

Hypoallergenic Moisturizers

The use of moisturizers is critical for the treatment and prevention of a number of dermatological conditions or to minimize the appearance of signs of aging.

Individuals with sensitive skin use hypoallergenic moisturizers hoping they will help them nourish and protect their skin in a noninvasive manner. But, are these products really that helpful?

Dr. Steve Xu and a team of researchers at the Northwestern University from Chicago, Illinois carried out a study whose primary objective was to determine the performance characteristics and ingredients of best-selling moisturizers.

Scientists analyzed publicly available data of the top 100 best-selling whole-body moisturizers at three major retailers (Walmart, Amazon, and Target).

It is important to mention that moisturizers formulated for a specific body part (hands, face, eyelids) were not included in the study.

Their findings were published in the JAMA Dermatology[1] and revealed that although hypoallergenic moisturizers were significantly more expensive than other moisturizers, they didn’t come without irritants, chemicals, or allergens.

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What Is The Consequence Of These Inaccurate Claims?

The discovery that many hypoallergenic and dermatologist-recommended moisturizers still contain potentially harmful substances came as a shock to scientists who worked on the study.

If you use these products, chances are high you also found this news surprising as well. Skin care industry is worth billions of dollars, and it is not fair for manufacturers to manipulate their consumers and to trick them into believing they’ve just bought a safe product.

The inaccurate claims[2] on the labels and significantly higher prices make it difficult for people with sensitive skin or some skin condition to find and buy an affordable and effective product.
In order to get the item that won’t harm their skin, these consumers should pay more attention to the label itself, instead of believing advertising claims.

At the same time, you should also get specific recommendations from your dermatologist or ask whether he/she approves or disapproves using some particular moisturizer.

Most Shocking Findings

Interestingly, about 45% of moisturizer with a fragrance-free claim on the label, contained at least one chemical classified as a fragrance. Even more disturbing is the fact that 83% products labeled as hypoallergenic contained a potentially allergenic compound.

Furthermore, 95% of moisturizers labeled dermatologist-recommended still contained[3] at least one allergen listed at NACDG (North American Contact Dermatitis Group).

Shockingly, the phrase dermatologist-recommended doesn’t necessarily mean a dermatologist really did recommend some product. In most cases, the manufacturer provides no evidence to support this claim.
To Xu and his team better labeling of the products isn’t the solution. These products contain way too many ingredients and manufacturers would need pages and pages of labels to list them all.

The solution is in dermatologists i.e., scientists hope dermatologists will better understand the science behind moisturizers. This would help them make better recommendations to their patients.


The latest study discovered that hypoallergenic moisturizers still contain at least one allergen compound. At the same time, some fragrance-free products still contain at least one chemical classified as a fragrance.
Scientists hope dermatologists will use their research to understand the science behind moisturizers in order to make better recommendations to their patients and help them find affordable yet effective products.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.

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