What_Does__Hypoallergenic__Mean_Anyway_ by andissswin


What Does “Hypoallergenic” Mean Anyway?

Word Count:

There are thousands of cosmetic products that claim to be
“hypoallergenic” meaning they cause less allergic reactions. But if you
are a person with allergies, here are some things you should know about
this term.

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Article Body:
The word “hypoallergenic” is a term that probably most of us have run
across. It is used in advertising and placed on product labels of
shampoos, moisturizers, make-up, and even jewelry. Most people think it
means that a product that is hypoallergenic won’t react with their
allergies. But is this really what it means?

      Cosmetics advertisers first used the word i n the 60’s. It comes
from the Greek prefix hypo, which translates to below or less. So the
word translates to “less allergens”. Since it’s inception it has been
widely adopted and used by advertisers, manufacturers, and marketers to
sell products that claim to be gentler on the skin than other products
similar to it. But is this really true?
The American Food and Drug Administration has stated, “ Hypoallergenic
cosmetics are products that manufacturers claim produce fewer allergic
reactions than other cosmetic products. Consumers with hypersensitive
skin, and even those with "normal" skin, may be led to believe that these
products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics.
There are no Federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the
term "hypoallergenic." The term means whatever a particular company wants
it to mean. Manufacturers of cosmetics labeled as hypoallergenic are not
required to submit substantiation of their hypoallergenicity claims to
FDA. The term "hypoallergenic" may have considerable market value in
promoting cosmetic products to consumers on a retail basis, but
dermatologists say it has very little meaning.”
      The FDA attempted to put regulations on products that claimed to be
hypoallergenic in 1974. It stated that a product could be labeled
hypoallergenic only if studies were conducted on human subjects and it
showed a significantly lower reaction to allergies than products not
making the claim. It then said the companies had to conduct these tests
on their own and (most importantly) at their own expense. This of course
caused major problems and companies immediately began lawsuits against
the decision, claiming that the tests “would pose an undue economic
burden on them.” The two biggest challengers of this at tempt at
regulation were Almay and Clinique, two manufacturers of “hypoallergenic”
      The FDA tried again to regulate the use of the word on June 6, 1975
by still requiring companies to do scientific studies but the procedures
for the tests were changed to reduce the cost to the manufacturers. This
still didn’t sit well with the companies who apparently wanted no
regulations on what they were producing. Cosmetic companies challenged
the FDA decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals, which ruled that t he
regulation was invalid. The court said the FDA’s definition of
“hypoallergenic” was unfair because a lack of evidence that consumers
perceived the term 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 standard set forth by
the government. Consumers have no assurance that a product labeled
“hypoallergenic” is any less reactive than any other product.
Theoretically, a company could put out a product that is “hypoallergenic”
that is full of toxins and allergens.
The one small victory that the FDA seems to have had is that at least now
manufacturers are now required to put the ingredients on the labels of
the products so that consumers can avoid substances that they know they
are allergic to or have had problems with in the past. As consumers, we
must be aware of ingredients in the products we use because apparently
the companies who make them aren’t very concerned about our health over
their profit margins. There is no doubt that some products out there that
claim to be hypoallergenic actually are, but if you are a smart consumer
and concerned for you and your family’s health, you’ll do the research
yourself and not rely on these companies claims. Hypoallergenic? More
like hypohonest.

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