Are Hypoallergenic Cosmetics Safer?IN SEASONAL HEALTH
Anyone who shops for cosmetics is familiar with the term “hypoallergenic.” When an item is labeled hypoallergenic, buyers are led to believe that the product is safer and less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other cosmetics on the market. However, this may not necessarily be the case.
When hypoallergenic cosmetics initially became available, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made efforts to govern use of the term to apply only to products that had been tested and proven to cause fewer allergic reactions and adverse side effects than similar products. However, this regulation was eventually discarded, meaning manufacturers are now free to label products as they wish without proof that the items are safer. Since no regulation is in place demanding scientific proof that a hypoallergenic cosmetic is what it claims to be, the label has been reduced to more of a marketing tool than a valid indicator of its safety, leaving consumers with allergies to certain ingredients particularly vulnerable when selecting cosmetics for personal use.
Fragrances and preservatives are two main causes of allergic reactions to cosmetics, which will affect approximately 10 percent of consumers during their lifetimes. The following reactions can result from the use of cosmetic products:
- Irritant contact dermatitis. This type of reaction can happen in anyone and typically results in itchy, scaly skin or a red rash. It can potentially cause blisters and occurs where the cosmetic was applied, particularly on the eyelids or in dry areas.
- Allergic contact dermatitis. This type of reaction is specific to consumers with allergies to particular ingredients. It causes redness, itching, swelling, and hives and may occur anywhere on the body but is especially common on the face, ears, and neck.
While products may be labeled hypoallergenic, it is ultimately the responsibility of the consumer to check the ingredients of cosmetic products to determine if they contain an ingredient that may result in an allergic reaction.
|Avoiding and Treating Allergic Reactions|
Allergic reactions vary depending on the cause, but general symptoms may include a rash, itching, and swelling. If you know you are allergic to a particular substance, always read ingredient labels for products to avoid contact. Here are some tips to prevent and treat reactions.
Sources: www.fda.gov, www.webmd.com, www.womenshealth.gov. © 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.