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Dermatology Online Journal

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Allergenic potential, marketing claims, and pricing of facial moisturizers


Ingredients found in facial moisturizers can impact a myriad of skin conditions, including sensitive skin syndrome and contact dermatitis. There is a paucity of evidence on the allergenic potential and marketing claims of facial moisturizers, posing challenges to clinician recommendation and consumer selection. In this study, we systematically evaluate the 100 top-selling sun protective facial moisturizers that claim to be natural, fragrance free, expert-approved, age preventing, beneficial for sensitive skin, and sun protective. Allergenic potential of these moisturizers is evaluated based on ingredients used and prices and consumer ratings are compared. Accordingly, 75 of 100 marketed at least one additional benefit. "Anti-aging" products had the highest average price ($14.99/oz) and "expert-approved" had the lowest ($5.91/oz). Consumer rating was highest for facial moisturizers that were "fragrance-free" (4.35/5.00) whereas products that were "natural" received the lowest ratings (3.49/5.00). The most prevalent allergens found in these moisturizers were ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), phenoxyethanol, and cetyl alcohol. "Expert-approved" products had the fewest average allergens in their ingredient lists (P=0.033), whereas products advertising "SPF" had significantly more (P<0.001). Marketing claims play a role in product sales and ratings. When recommending products, physicians should balance allergenic risk with affordability and consumer preferences.

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