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The Validated Hypoallergenic Cosmetics Rating System: Its 30-Year Evolution and Effect on the Prevalence of Cosmetic Reactions

Verallo-Rowell, Vermeén M.

doi: 10.2310/6620.2011.10046

Background: The validated hypoallergenic (vh) rating system was initiated in 1988 to try to objectively validate the “hypoallergenic” claim in cosmetics.

Objectives: To show how the system rates cosmetic hypoallergenicity and to compare the prevalence of cosmetic contact dermatitis (CCD) among users of regular cosmetics versus cosmetics with high VH numbers.

Methods: (1) Made a VH list based on top allergens from patch-test results published by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) and the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA); (2) reviewed global regulatory, cosmetic, drug, packaging, and manufacturing practices to show how allergens may contaminate products; (3) compared cosmetic ingredients lists against the VH list to obtain the VH rating (the more allergens absent, the higher the VH rating); and (4) obtained CCD prevalence among users of regular cosmetics versus users of cosmetics with high VH ratings.

Results: (1) Two VH lists (1988, 2003) included only cosmetic allergens in the NACDG surveys, the third (2007) included cosmetic and potential contaminant noncosmetic allergens, and the fourth (2010) adds ESSCA patch-test surveys. (2) CCD prevalence is 0.05 to 0.12% (average, 0.08%) among users of cosmetics with high VH ratings versus 2.4 to 36.3% among users of regular cosmetics.

Conclusion: The VH rating system is shown to objectively validate the hypoallergenic cosmetics claim.

From the VMV Skin Research Centre + Clinics, Makati, Philippines. Address reprint requests to Vermeén M. Verallo-Rowell, MD, VMV Skin Research Centre + Clinics (VSRC), 117 C. Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati, Philippines 1200.

© 2011 Decker Publishing Inc.
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