#GlobalNews: “Your ‘fragrance-free,’ ‘hypoallergenic’ moisturizer may be mislabelled, study warns – National”

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You may be reaching for “fragrance-free,” “hypoallergenic,” or “dermatologist-recommended” moisturizers, but new research suggests that these products may not live up to their labels — even if they come with hefty price tags.

A new Northwestern Medicine study is warning that some moisturizers are coming with “inaccurate” and “misleading” claims. This could be problematic for people with skin disorders from eczema to psoriasis who need non-irritating options.

“We looked into what it means to be ‘dermatologist-recommended’ and it doesn’t mean much because it could be three dermatologists recommending it or 1,000,” Dr. Steve Xu, the study’s first author, said in a university statement.

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“As it stands now, patients have a challenging time making an informed decision by glancing at the back of the bottle. Our study highlights that and aims to make that search easier on consumers by informing dermatologists,” Xu said.

His study zeroed in on 100 best-selling, whole body moisturizers sold at Amazon, Target and WalMart. The team compared ingredients and performance while factoring in affordability and how well they moisturized without triggering a skin allergy.

Here’s what the study found:

  • 83 per cent of products claiming to be “hypoallergenic” had at least one potentially allergenic ingredient
  • 45 per cent of products that claimed to be “fragrance-free” actually had a fragrance cross reactor or a botanical ingredient
  • “Dermatologist-recommended” labelled products had a median price of 20 cents more per ounce, even if it’s unclear how many dermatologists recommended the product
  • Only 12 per cent of the moisturizers were free of typical skin allergens, such as fragrance mix, parabens or tocopherol

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Xu said that people with skin disorders turn to moisturizers to help with inflammation, preventing infection, and keeping skin soft and supple.

The trouble is, with misleading labels, it’s hard to decipher what’s included in a product.

“If manufacturers did list all the ingredients, their labels would be 75 pages,” Xu said.

Products on store shelves that are free of typical skin allergens include:

  • White petroleum jelly
  • Cold-pressed, non-refined coconut oils
  • Vanicream’s hypoallergenic products
  • Aveeno Eczema Therapy moisturizing cream

The top three most affordable moistures that were free of any irritating ingredients included:

  • Ivory raw unrefined shea butter
  • Vaseline original petroleum jelly
  • Smellgood African shea butter

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Turns out, people turned to lotions (59 per cent), creams (13 per cent), oils (12 per cent), butters (8 per cent) and ointments (2 per cent) as their go-to moisturizers.

Dermatologists often turn to ointments to help those with sensitive skin. That’s because it’s thicker and better at hydrating and protecting the skin.

That’s if their patients use the product, though. Dermatologists need to consider the usability of a product before making a recommendation, the experts say.

“We could recommend a moisturizer that has no allergy risk and is affordable and effective, but if the patient doesn’t like it, it’s a wasted recommendation,” Xu said.

READ MORE: These are the skincare ingredients you should never mix

The team’s full findings were published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca
Follow @Carmen_Chai

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Note: “Previously Published on: 7 September 2017 | 4:54 pm, as ‘Your ‘fragrance-free,’ ‘hypoallergenic’ moisturizer may be mislabelled, study warns – National’ on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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