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Guthy Renker Corporation

What Cosmetics Businesses Do Not Inform You About Hypoallergenic Skin Care Products

Many of us are familiar with the term hypoallergenic. It is used in advertising and put on product labels of shampoos, moisturizers, make-up, and even jewelry. folks think it means a product that is hypoallergenic won't react with allergens. But what does the term actually mean?

The saying first appeared in the 60s from cosmetics advertisers. The term comes from the Grecian prefix hypo, which translates to below or less. Less allergies is the literal translation of the word. Since it's creation it has been widely adopted and used by manufacturers, marketers, and advertisers to sell products that say they are gentler on the skin than other products similar to it. But how true is this really?

By rule the cosmetics described as hypoallergenic are forced to produce fewer allergic reactions to the cosmetics than the products that are not hypoallergenic. Consumers with sensitive skin, in addition to consumers with normal skin, may think that these products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic products. There are no Federal rules or definitions that regulate the use of the expression hypoallergenic. A company can make the term mean anything they want it to. Producers of beauty products labeled as hypoallergenic are not required to prove substantiation of their hypoallergenic properties to Food and Drug Administration. The expression hypoallergenic may have considerable market value in popularizing cosmetic products to people on a retail basis, but physicians say it has very little meaning.

The FDA tried again to control the use of the saying on June 6, 1975 by still requiring manufacturers to do experimental tests but the proceedings for the studies were altered to reduce the expense to the companies. This still didn't agree with the manufacturers who apparently desired no regulations on what they were making. Cosmetic manufacturers opposed the FDA choice in the U.S. Court of Appeals, which ruled that the law was no good. The judges said the definition of hypoallergenic the FDA gave was unjust because of a lack of proof that consumers perceived the word in the way it is described by the organization. The result? Manufacturers can continue to advertise and label their products hypoallergenic without any kind of regulation or laws set up by the government. Customers have no guarantee that a product that says hypoallergenic is any less allergic than other products. A product could be loaded with toxins and allergens and a company could supposedly continue to produce it. In 1974, the FDA tried again to regulate products that said they were hypoallergenic. It said that a product could be deemed as hypoallergenic only if tests were conducted on patients and it showed an obvious lower reaction to allergens than other products. They then stated the companies had to conduct these experiments on their own and (most importantly) at their own expense. This obviously caused big problems and manufacturers instantly filed lawsuits against the decision, claiming that the tests would cause an unfair financial hardship on them. Clinique and Almay, two producers of hypoallergenic products, were the most aggressive challengers to the FDA.

Requiring a list of ingredients the product has in it on the box seems to be the only triumph the FDA had against the cosmetics manufacturers. As customers, we must be aware of ingredients in the goods we consume because apparently the manufacturers who create them aren't very concerned about our good health over their money margins. There is undoubtedly some products that exist that claim to be hypoallergenic really are, but if you are a smart consumer and concerned about you and your family's health, you will do some studying yourself and not rely on these companies proclamations .

Guthy Renker Corporation

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