What Does 'Hypoallergenic' Mean? Apparently Whatever Manufacturers Want It To Mean, Scientists Say

03/20/2015 01:13 pm ET | Updated Mar 20, 2015

Have we all been fooled?

A new video from the American Chemical Society (above) reveals that many household products labeled as "hypoallergenic" -- from cosmetics to baby products -- are not backed by scientific evidence indicating that they are, indeed, less likely to provoke allergic reactions in customers (which is basically what that word means).

"A hypoallergenic product then should mean it's less likely to give you an allergic reaction, right? Not really, according to the Food and Drug Administration," Sophia Cai, the society's Chemical & Engineering News associate editor, says in the video. "There's actually no scientific evidence to back up these claims."

So, what exactly does the science say? A recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that around 89 percent of products labeled as "hypoallergenic," "dermatologist recommended/tested," "fragrance-free," or "paraben free" contained at least one allergen -- and 11 percent contained five or more.

Now, medical professionals are calling for the government to regulate terms such as “hypoallergenic” and “dermatologist recommended” used on product labels. Stay tuned.

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