When you see “hypoallergenic” listed on a makeup label or skin care bottle, it means the product is formulated with ingredients that are less likely to cause allergic reactions. But it’s still important to do your homework, especially if you have sensitive skin. The FDA doesn’t regulate this term, which means companies can use it to describe products without adhering to strict safety standards. That’s why it’s crucial to get to know your skin, how it reacts, and steer clear of any ingredients that cause it to flare up. To play it safe, test out any new creams, lotions, or makeup products on the inside of your arm or wrist for a few days to see if it causes any symptoms.
What Is Hypoallergenic?
Coined in a cosmetics campaign from the 1950s, hypoallergenic describes products that are believed to cause fewer allergic reactions. The term—which today is used to classify everything from cosmetics to textiles to even dog breeds—means “below normal” or “slightly allergenic.” So even when something is deemed “hypoallergenic,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s completely free from allergens. It just means it’s less likely to trigger a reaction.
Benefits of Hypoallergenic Products
One of the main benefits of choosing hypo-allergenic products is the potential to reduce allergy risks. However, according to the FDA, there are no federal definition standards, so companies can use the term to market products without carrying out scientific studies to test these claims. It’s up to consumers to research brands more thoroughly, and test products at home to see if their skin has a reaction.
Top Hypoallergenic Brands
Thrive Market carries a large selection of brands that are likely to be gentler on skin.
This brand makes sun care products for the whole family, and every item is clinically tested. (Still do a patch test, just to be sure!)
This fragrance-free sunscreen is great for sensitive skin and helps protect against damaging UVA and UVB rays, with up to 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance.
Seventh Generation believes artificial ingredients have no place in the house, and is on a mission to put the environment first. The brand’s gentle approach to cleaning is a great choice for growing families.
Get your hands squeaky clean with plant-based ingredients that are gentle on skin. The formula is free from triclosan, phthalates, dyes, or artificial fragrances.
This vegetarian skin care line always puts the planet first and has been helping customers embrace their inner beauty since 1979.
Legs and underarms are already sensitive to razor blades, so don’t make matters worse the next time you’re in the shower. This creamy formula is packed with botanicals like aloe vera, jojoba, and vitamin E to moisturize and soften skin while you shave.
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