Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beauty Buzz Word: Hypoallergenic

Hypoallergenic is a word that's been floating around the beauty scene for decades; it's meant to impart a feeling of confidence to the consumer. The word origin, from the Greek hypo- meaning "under" or "below normal" and allergenic meaning "having the effect of an allergen" would imply that something that is hypoallergenic is less likely to produce an allergic reaction. The problem is, hypoallergenic is actually just a marketing term.

There is no regulation, FDA or otherwise, on what makes a specific product "hypoallergenic." Basically, any company can claim any product with any combination of ingredients is hypoallergenic. In short, the use of the word means nothing. The only true way to know if a product is likely to produce an allergic reaction is to know what the formula's ingredients are, and whether you're allergic to something in it.

3 comments:

SilhouetteScreams said...

I always find it weird to see animals referred to as hypoallergenic :P

Galina said...

hmmm... really? I mean can they just put any stuff into a jar mark it hypoallergenic and sell it for those with sensitive skin?

Jessica said...

Galina-
Surprising isn't it? You may notice, many companies have stopped using the term "hypoallergenic" and have switched to terms like "non-comedogenic" and "allergy tested."

Shockingly, though they seem to be misused less often, these words aren't strictly regulated either. In truth (in the US anyway) the only thing truly regulated by the FDA is the ingredient listing, which is why it's generally the first thing I look for when shopping for a product.

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