So for the sake of this article, if any of you feel the need to refer to me as Daphne or Velma…my magnifying glass and I are pretty much fine with that. Just this time though and make it quick. The Mystery Machine is adding emissions to the environment while waiting for me. A’hem.
As the mama of two little ones, one who has more allergies than I can even wrap my head around….allergens rule my life. I want to know what exactly is in each and every product. What are the ingredients. Where did they come from. Who made it and what else was packaged on the same line. Questions that have led me on a journey like none other. This circumstance has made me cautious, nervous and a full-fledge detective in my everyday life. (The “pinning” of my badge ceremony is later this week). Okay not really, but this green mom detective – badge or no badge – will never let my guard down.
That is why it frustrates me that labels are so misleading! Whether you or someone you know struggles with allergies, the truth should not be “gray”. The truth…the exact ingredients and production methods need to be a right to all of us for health reasons! So when you are shopping next time, I challenge you to spend your dollars on only those products with labels and ingredients you can pronounce! Oh…what’s that? The bottle says “hypo-allergenic?” Well it must surely be safe for you then! NOT. SO.
What is all this business with “hypo-allergenic” then? Why can’t we trust this claim or feel at least like it must surely be a product that is better than the other 10 bottles on the shelf? One word lovelies.
Yep…just another fancy misleading word that someone slaps on the front of a product to make themselves look good. The fact is that the FDA has little or no control over this claim. Many common skin care products contain harmful ingredients that can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions in some. Take for instance a cream that makes this claim but contains shea butter. Hypo-allergenic? Think again. This is a nut and our son could never safely use this making this very ALLERGENIC.
It’s not just about severe allergies though. It is for the sake of our health too that we need to understand this claim. Many products on the market use this marketing ploy and yet contain mineral oil, parabens, fragrance and much more. The FDA has no say on this. The fact is that companies can use this however and whenever their toxic-little hearts desire.
It is up to us to understand that this means absolutely nothing. Just because it is not likely to cause a reaction does not mean that it won’t or can’t.
A statement taken directly from the FDA:
“Hypoallergenic cosmetics are products that manufacturers claim produce fewer allergic reactions than other cosmetic products. Consumers with hypersensitive skin, and even those with “normal” skin, may be led to believe that these products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics.
There are no Federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term “hypoallergenic.” The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean. Manufacturers of cosmetics labeled as hypoallergenic are not required to submit substantiation of their hypoallergenicity claims to FDA.
The term “hypoallergenic” may have considerable market value in promoting cosmetic products to consumers on a retail basis, but dermatologists say it has very little meaning” (FDA).
So in other words, the term “hypo-allergenic” simply means “Hey! Buy Me! I may or may not cause problems to your skin but that’s neither here nor there since the FDA has not regulated the use of this term…K”
Yeah. I don’t think so either. Next time you see this description, I beg you to walk away. The burden of proof and truth is on our shoulders (I know, it’s heavy at times but so worth it) and the only real way to know what is in that pretty little potion is to read each and every ingredient on the list. We are not fools and until the FDA places a watchful eye on this issue – it is on us. There are so many reasons I hate that our son has all of these allergies…but what I love is that my eyes are now open to so much more.
I will wear my detective badge with pride
Daphne is signing off.
*This article originally appeared at TheEcoDiva, where I am a monthly contributor!