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Study shows high percentage of ‘natural’ skin care products contain allergens

Nearly 90% of 1,651 so-called ‘natural’ personal care products contain at least one known allergen, according to a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif.

The researchers conclude that these allergens—all listed in the top 100 most common allergens known to cause atopic dermatitis (AD)—may be responsible for an increased incidence of AD. The study, motivated by the lack of regulations relating to the marketing of these products, was published in JAMA Dermatology.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not defined clean or natural, allowing sellers to freely advertise with these terms that imply safety and health benefits," the authors wrote.

The study analyzed the ingredient lists of 1,651 personal skin care products available for purchase at three U.S. retailers and checked them against a list of allergens maintained by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. The products included lotions, soaps, and skin moisturizers.

According to the results of the analysis, ‘natural’ skin care products contained between four and five known allergens. The researchers noted that 73 different allergens were listed 7,487 times in the products studied.

The researchers conclude that "These results suggest a need to educate patients and health care professionals to ensure the public is informed about the products they apply to their skin."


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