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    Common terms in skincare marketing: Hypoallergenic fragrance

    Q. What is a hypoallergenic fragrance?

    Hypoallergenic fragrance is a term that may actually have some dermatologic relevance. Since the term literally means reduced allergy, not the absence of allergy, it can be used loosely. However, there are companies that have developed true hypoallergenic fragrances.

    Many years ago Walter Larsen, M.D., developed a list of fragrance ingredients that possessed reduced allergenic potential. These ingredients could be combined to produce a pleasant scent for those who have experienced prior irritations.

    Companies that have used this approach in skincare products, such as cleansers and shampoos, include Neutrogena and Procter & Gamble.

    The fragrances in rinse-off products do not cause as many problems as leave-on fragrances since the contact time is shorter. Fragrance allergic patients may benefit from the use of hypoallergenic scent formulations.


    Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D.
    Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a consulting professor of dermatology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. She is investigator, ...


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