Skin Health
Contact Dermatitis: How Common Is It?
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The prevalence of Cosmetic Contact Dermatitis (CCD) is growing, it seems concurrently with the growth of the cosmetics industry in the global market.1Data shows a doubling of rates just in the decade between the 1980s and 1990s2 with some countries showing increases as high as 180%.3According to Dr. Verallo-Rowell, author of a groundbreaking study on the hypoallergenic claim4 and an expert in contact dermatitis,”more than one in five Americans (22% of the population), react to ingredients commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products. This is a huge increase, compared to 5.4% of the population that had reactions less than 30 years ago.”

A 2009 study shows almost 22% or just a little more than one in every five people in the USA reacted to ingredients commonly found in cosmetics.5

A review of studies6 from 1979 to 2004 in Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, and the USA shows percentages of reactions from 5.4% to 26%. And these were just to fragrances; the total percentage of reactions to more allergens would likely be higher.

A 19977 study showed 44% of children reacting to several preservatives including formaldehyde and its releasers, parabens, other preservatives, and even an antioxidant. And another comparative study of patch tests between 2001 and 2004 showed 51.2% of children and 54.1% of adults reacted to at least one allergen.8

What’s more, it is reasonable to consider these percentages as conservative: experts acknowledge that most reactions go unreported because consumers won’t normally see a doctor for a reaction they feel is mild or passing. In other cases where a patient does see a physician for a reaction, patients and/or their doctors are often unaware that a cosmetic or skin care product was the cause of the dermatitis (in one study, more than 50% of the cases fell under this category).9

Contact allergy experts caution that the number of allergens or irritants will probably increase as ingredients become more popular (an ingredient can become an irritant as exposure to it increases). This is one of the main reasons why VMV HYPOALLERGENICS© continuously reviews multi-year studies and reformulates frequently. In order to be the most hypoallergenic option available, we have always reformulated even if just one of our ingredients becomes an allergen.

For more information, ask your doctor about the American Contact Dermatitis Society‘s Contact Allergen Management Program or CAMP.

Have acne or pigmentations and don’t think hypoallergenic products can help? Click here to learn how safer products can actually help with most skin conditions.

For more on the VH-Rating System, click here.

Click here to learn about the VH-Rating System’s validity as a method for substantiating hypoallergenic claims.

1: Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97.

2: Nielsen NH, Linneberg A, Menne T, et al. Allergic contact sensitization in an adult Danish population: two cross-sectional surveys eight years apart (the Copenhagen Allergy Study). Acta Derm Venereol 2001;81:31 4

3: Hasan T, Rantanen T, Alanko K. Patch test reactions to cosmetic allergens in 1995-1997 and 2000-2002 inFinland—a multi centre study. Contact Dermatitis 2005;53:40 5

4: Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97.

6: Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38.

7: Scheinman PL. The foul side of fragrance-free products: what every clinician should know about managing patients with fragrance allergy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Dec;41(6):1020-4.

8: Conti A et al. Contact sensitization to preservatives in children. Contact Dermatitis 1997: 37: 35-36.

9: Zug K et al. Contact Allergy in Children Referred for Patch Testing: North American Contact Dermatitis Group Data, 2001-2004. Arch Dermatol., 2008;144(10):1329-1336.

10. Adams RJ, Maibach HI. A five year study of cosmetic reactions. J Am Acad Dermatol 1985;13:1062-9.