Does the label “dermatologically tested” really carry the weight it claims?

There is an enormous market for cosmeceuticals. In fact moisturisers constitute globally a $2 billion market with a vast number of choices in products. There are however a few considerations to make if you have sensitive skin as a safe and non-irritable product will likely be the priority over packaging and other features defined as “cosmetic elegance”.



A study was conducted in the US in 2016 where they reviewed the best selling body moisturisers in three online retailers (Amazon, Walmart and Target) as they represent more than half of the total annual sales of the $164 billion cosmetic and personal care product market. The study showed that most products had claims such as “dermatologist recommended”, “fragrance free”, “non-greasy”, “organic”, “natural”, “pure”, “hypoallergenic” or “clinically proven”.


The study pointed out that consumers should pay attention to the high prevalence of potential allergens, such as fragrances, in over-the-counter moisturisers and facial cosmetics. The label “dermatologist recommended” should also be regarded with great caution as the study showed lack of correlation between the potential allergenic effects of a product and the meaning of the label. Interestingly 45% of the products claiming to be “fragrance free” had allergens with the potential to cause an allergic reaction. Another fascinating finding is that 83% of those products stating to be “hypoallergenic” had at least one ingredient that could have a potential allergenic effect.


Naturally there are a few factors to consider such as availability and affordability with prescription products for consumers with sensitive skin. These can in turn have an impact on the choice of products. We encourage clients with sensitive skin such as eczema or dermatitis to be guided by their dermatologist on product recommendations as many of the labels used might just represent marketing tools and have little to no correlation with their allergenic potential.




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