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Ingredients with known sensitizing and irritant potential in cosmetics sold as "hypoallergenic", "antiallergic", or "allergens 0%"

Joanna Maria Moszczynska, Radoslaw Spiewak

Recommended citation format: Moszczynska JM, Spiewak R: Ingredients with known sensitizing and irritant potential in cosmetics sold as "hypoallergenic", "antiallergic", or "allergens 0%". Estetol Med Kosmetol 2013; 3 (1): online first.

Full text (PDF) | Polskie streszczenie


A range of cosmetics are marketed in chemists' shops and cosmetics stores as "hypoallergenic", "antiallergic" or "allergens 0%", which implies their allegedly better safety. In Poland, chemist' shops used to be the primary place for dispatching prescription drugs and, despite considerable convergence with cosmetics stores, they are still perceived by customers as a kind of "health estate", rather than retail place for ordinary consumer goods. The aim of the study was to analyse cosmetics marketed as "hypoallergenic", "antiallergic" or "allergens 0%" for the presence of ingredients with known sensitizing potential. We have also studied the meaning of these denominations, and legal regulations of their use. Material and methods: Declared contents of 170 cosmetics marketed as "hypoallergenic", "antiallergic", or "allergens 0%" were scanned for substances with known sensitizing or irritant potential. Results: Out of 85 analysed "hypoallergenic" cosmetics from chemists' shops, 78 (92%) contained known sensitizers or irritants. Among 85 cosmetics described as "hypoallergenic", "antiallergic" or "allergens 0%" sold in cosmetics stores, they were found in 80 preparations (94%). Fragrances listed in Annexes III and VI of the Cosmetics Directive were present in 4 (5%) cosmetics from chemists' shops and 34 (40%) from cosmetics stores, preservatives in 67 (79%) and 60 (71%), respectively. Other known sensitizers, which were not listed in the Cosmetics Directive were found in 41 (48%) cosmetics from chemists' shops and 37 (43%) products from cosmetics stores. Fragrances hidden under a general cryptonym "Parfum" were present in 46 (54%) analysed cosmetics from chemists' shops and 64 (75%) from cosmetics stores. Conclusions: "Hypoallergenic" cosmetics sold in chemists' shops contain less sensitizers than cosmetics with similar denominations sold in cosmetics stores, nevertheless, this does not mean that they are free from sensitizers. Labelling a cosmetic product as "hypoallergenic", "antiallergic" or "allergens 0%" is neither regulated nor policed, therefore, consumers prone to allergic reactions should execute due caution toward cosmetics, regardless of manufacturers' declarations.

Keywords: "hypoallergenic" cosmetics, "antiallergic" cosmetics, allergy, sensitizing ingredients, adverse effects

| Reprint (PDF) | Streszczenie | DOI: 10.14320/EMK.2013.002

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Portal służy udostępnianiu elektronicznej wersji czasopisma Estetologia Medyczna i Kosmetologia
Open Access, online ISSN 2084-2007; print ISSN 2084-199X, DOI:
Wydawca udziela zgody na korzystanie z tego serwisu wyłącznie pod warunkiem akceptacji regulaminu korzystania z serwisu oraz respektowania praw autorskich
© Radosław Śpiewak Instytut Dermatologii (kontakt)
Document created: 2 February 2013, last updated: 22 April 2014