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Hypoallergenic | What's the deal with this term?

Hypoallergenic is intended to reference a product that is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction or has fewer allergens in it. Read more...




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What does hypoallergenic mean?

Hypoallergenic is intended to reference a product that is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction or has fewer allergens in it. However, there is no testing or standard this claim is required to meet in order to be labeled as such. It can be considered a marketing claim as there is no special FDA process or testing a product is required to go through to back this claim. Although possible that a company may have an internal standard for use of this claim, there is really no value to this claim. During allergy patch testing, we routinely find products labeled as hypoallergenic containing ingredients that are known allergens.

What is hypoallergenic makeup?

This kind of makeup is often good for people with sensitive skin, and it'll be a guide to buying the best hypoallergenic makeup and skincare as well as the best tips for use.

What are the benefits of using products listed as hypoallergenic, as opposed to other products that are not labeled as so? How do they compare and why does it matter to choose hypoallergenic over generic/non-hypoallergenic?

It truly is unclear how a consumer can navigate through the hypoallergenic claim. There is no merit in choosing one brand over another based solely on this claim. That being said, it may be more helpful to look for specific claims for additives that are left out of a product such as fragrance-free, dye-free, or sulfate free to address specific concerns the consumer may have.

Who might benefit most from using hypoallergenic products in skincare and makeup?

Given the lack of value in the claim, the biggest concern I have is how misleading it can be for all skin types. Sensitive skin benefits from defining the specific trigger for its sensitivities and looking for and avoiding it. The triggers for sensitivities may be specific allergens. Testing for these is performed via patch testing, a group of sticker panels applied to the back by your dermatologist to evaluate the most common allergens. Another trigger for sensitivities may be underlying rosacea. This can be addressed by managing the underlying rosacea to minimize flares with product use.

What other ingredients/properties should you look for in hypoallergenic products besides the term "hypoallergenic" for the best results in skin health and for the highest quality in the products?

The most common examples here are sodium laureth sulfate in soaps and cleansers or bleach solutions. These products can directly break down the skin causing it to dry excessively.

What should people do to support a sensitive skincare/makeup routine?

When it comes to skin allergies, if there is a true and specific allergy, the product needs to be avoided. Repetitive use is not necessarily life-threatening but can lead to ongoing skin irritation and inflammation as well as persistent dryness. Frequency of use will perhaps lead to less irritation but not eliminate the risk altogether.

In general, exfoliation can aggravate and augment skin sensitivities. Using a lotion or moisturizer as a primer, as long as no your skin can tolerate the product may help create a barrier that reduces (but does not eliminate) the chances of irritation.


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