As a child, I used to watch my mother apply her makeup in awe (as most little girls do.) I remember asking her why she always used the same brand… her response, “because it is hypoallergenic and I have sensitive skin.” And because of this one, harmless exchange, I grew up thinking that a product dubbed “hypoallergenic” could be trusted as safe and healthy for sensitive skin. Speed forth a quarter of a century, and I am here to share what I have learned about the word “hypoallergenic” since.
“Hypo” comes from ancient Greek meaning “less than”… as in, “less than allergenic.” Think about that for a moment and you will deduce that the term merely refers to the resistance of common allergens, toxic chemicals, nut oils, etc. It is just sort of a generic way to say that personal care products are “made for the skin.” There are no federal regulatory standards on the use of the word hypoallergenic. Any company can use it. The only real rule when presenting topical products to the marketplace is that the product has a full list of ingredients on the label.