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A Comparison Based on Allergens and Economic Value

Chou, Margaret, BA; Mikhaylov, Daniela, BA; Lazic Strugar, Tamara, MD

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000413

Background The economic burden of cosmetics, such as moisturizers, has been increasing. Despite the high price of some market moisturizers, there have been no studies evaluating the allergenicity of these products.

Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential allergens within moisturizers based on economic value, by analyzing the substances found in moisturizers available online at the largest drugstore chain—CVS Health (CVS Health, Woonsocket, RI).

Methods In this cross-sectional study, ingredients found in 50 expensive and 50 inexpensive moisturizers were matched with sensitizers within the Core Allergen Series published by the American Contact Dermatitis Society and the North American Contact Dermatitis Group. Student t test was used to compare the mean number of allergens present in each group. A χ2 test or Fisher exact test, where necessary, was used to compare the rates of specific allergen groups between the expensive and inexpensive products.

Results Twenty-six allergenic substances were present overall in the 100 total products surveyed. The expensive moisturizers averaged significantly more allergens per product (8.28 vs 5.60, P = 0.003) than the inexpensive products.

Conclusions The sensitizing potential of expensive moisturizers may be higher than that of inexpensive moisturizers. Physicians may counsel cosmetic-induced allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) patients that monetary value is not a suitable proxy for evaluating the risk of ACD.

From the Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.

Address reprint requests to Tamara Lazic Strugar, MD, 200 W 57th St, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10019. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2018 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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