The Hyper-Scam of Hypoallergenic Products

Scientific lab tests have recently revealed that many personal care products labeled as, “hypoallergenic” and marketed as remedies for allergic skin conditions actually contain toxic chemicals that can irritate and even worsen allergic skin conditions.

The study findings act as the poster child for “Consumer Beware alerts” because not only can the products trigger a worsening of ongoing skin conditions, but these products are often many more times expensive than personal care products not labeled, “hypoallergenic”.  With labels that cannot be trusted and marketing strategies that play on consumer ignorance about the ingredients products contain, the largely unregulated industry of personal care products has left U.S. consumers twisting in the wind.

“This study confirms for us that consumers can’t tell which products don’t have this risk [of triggering allergic reactions] by looking for terms like hypoallergenic or fragrance free.”

-Dr. Matthew Zirwas


CFL graphic-preservatives in skin lotion-eczema



Researchers asked Amazon, Target and Walmart to name their top 100 best-selling whole-body moisturizers sold online. Then the researchers assessed how well these popular products moisturized the skin, whether or not their ingredients might trigger allergic reactions and how much they cost.

Here is an overview of the study findings recently published in the American Medical Association’s Journal (JAMA) Dermatology:


Moisturizers labeled ‘hypoallergenic’ may

still have toxic chemicals*



Only 12 percent, of the 174 individual products tested were free of allergens

-Many of the moisturizers contained fragrances and chemicals known as parabens and tocopherol, all of which can cause rashes and worsen skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

-Products marketed to appeal to people with skin problems like eczema and psoriasis tended to cost more, even though they didn’t necessarily avoid ingredients that could make these conditions worse…Half of the products labeled “dermatologist recommended” cost at least 79 cents an ounce, while moisturizers without that description were typically 59 cents an ounce

-Roughly 83 percent of moisturizers labeled “hypoallergenic” contained at least one ingredient believed to potentially cause allergic reactions

45 percent of products claiming to be “fragrance free” actually contained a fragrance or a botanical ingredient


Journal Reference: Shuai Xu, MD, MSc (Lond); Michael Kwa, BA; Mary E. Lohman, MD; et al.  Consumer Preferences, Product Characteristics, and Potentially Allergenic Ingredients in Best-Selling Moisturizers, JAMA Dermatololgy Journal, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.3046





1-Read the ingredients on the back label and avoid known chemicals of concern…

“Making sure there are as few ingredients as possible is also a good thing…”

-Dr. Steve Xu of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine


2-Stick with products shown in the study to actually test free of allergy-triggering ingredients: Ivory raw unrefined shea butter, Vaseline original petroleum jelly and Smellgood African shea butter


3-Make your own DIY personal care products. There are many free recipes online such as:  Top 10 Best Homemade Moisturizers and Simple Homemade Moisturizer  and as we have published previously, here are some recipes for all natural, organic, homemade moisturizers—free of unwanted chemicals: Homemade Skin Care – Recipes for Moisturizing Treatments and Homemade Skin Care Recipes: Moisturizers